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Everyone’s anxiety is different. The symptoms you struggle with and the things that work to “cure” your anxiety will be different. Some of these options may work, but the reality is that most won’t.
Don’t get discouraged! You’ll find what works. It took me several years to get to the state where I’m at today. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and find your balance faster.
I learned that medication is not the right path for me. For those taking medication with positive results, great! For me personally, the medication slowed me down too much, which made me feel like 75% of my true-self.
My Social Anxiety
If you had to classify my anxiety, it falls into the social anxiety bucket. Important meetings at work, client calls, and social introductions get me worked up. It’s the buildup that gets me. The minute before I know I need to have something to say is when my mind goes bonkers. My heart kicks into overdrive, my hands shake, and my breathing gets shallow. The circle repeats and I lose control.
It makes me want to run out of the room or teleport to my bed. I try to talk. My voice is shaky, I stutter, and nothing intelligent comes out. At this point, the goal becomes saying enough words to transfer focus to the next person or topic of interest. After the moment passes, I return to normal and the right words flood my brain. I want to reverse time so I can try again.
These experiences are not pleasant, so I’ve been trying everything under the sun to improve my mental state.
Here’s What I’ve Tried
In the past year, things have changed, for the better. I put all my focus and energy into solutions to make this problem go away. Medication was not an option for me, so I had to find other approaches.
I began going down the list of things to try to reduce my anxiety. I tried the following:
- Cold showers
- Stop caffeine
- Tapping exercises
- Diet changes
- Self-talk & affirmations
- Self-help books & articles
- Herbal supplements & vitamins
- Breathing exercises
- Scented candles
- Essential Oils
- Anxiety Communities
As you would expect, there wasn’t a magic solution. There wasn’t one thing that fixed me.
I did find is that using a combination of good habits gets me 75% of the way there. I’m not at a state that feels livable (waaay better than this time last year). Getting here took time and perseverance. I tried new habits and tricks every week to improve my state. Initially, I didn’t see improvement. I removed all the bad habits and added new good ones. Focus on the aspects of your life that you can control.
So What Worked for My Anxiety?
Limiting caffeine is critical. When I get sucked into work pressure to do more, I reach for that additional cup of coffee. Anything over two cups in a days leads to trouble for me. Drinking too much coffee in a day negatively impacts my sleep. Although the real negative impacts hit me 3-4 days later. Since the impact was slightly delayed it took me a long time to figure this out.
Drinking too much wrecks the quality of sleep and strips the body of precious vitamins and minerals. These are needed to fight-off the anxiety monster. Hangovers are uncomfortable for everyone, but they are even worse when you struggle with anxiety. This one is a no-brainer, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to correct.
Exercising does wonders for my body, but it’s also great for anxiety. Even knowing this, I still have a hard time making it happen. While five times a week would be amazing, I’ve found that if I can at least squeeze in 2-3 intense (1hr) workouts a week, I can keep things under control.
Vitamins and Supplements
I take a daily multivitamin and an herbal supplement called Calm Now. Read my full review about Calm Now here. It could be placebo, but I noticed a difference with daily vitamins and herbal supplements. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also lead to anxiety. Taking the right magnesium supplement can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
Guided Hypnosis (With an App)
While I don’t use hypnosis consistently, I found it very useful the morning of or the night before a stressful event. For example, the night before big work meetings or high-pressure situations, I listen to the guided session of the End Anxiety App, by Surf City. It’s might last-minute fix.
Getting enough sleep goes a long way. While anxiety doesn’t always play nice with sleep, I found all the items above have helped me get better sleep over time. Also consistency is key. Get to bed the same time every night and try to wakeup at the same time (even on weekends). Still struggling with sleep? Check our these 7 ways that might be wrecking your sleep.
The act of journaling is what really put all of this together. Months of (dated) journals describe different tactics I tried and my experience with them. Not only has it been useful to review logs from previous dates to compare, but the simple act of journaling about my state helped me become more aware of my condition. I’m analytical by nature so being able to measure my progress over time has been extremely motivating. It allows me to take a step back and review my life from an objective point of view. This isn’t as easy to do when you’re in the thick of it.
It goes without saying, but I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. Be smart and work with a doctor or a trained healthcare professional.
There is a good chance that the things that worked for me won’t work for you, although I hope some of these do! The important lesson is not the tips that are listed here, but rather that you need to consistently test new habits to see what works. Alos, be patient. Like me, you are probably looking for an immediate fix to all your problems.
It takes time. Give it time.