Anxiety is not an illness it is a natural response to danger, suffering with a bit of anxiety no and then doesn’t mean something is wrong with you it can actually be a sign that you are functioning normally and in many cases anxiety can have a positive effect on your life. Anxiety helps to keep us away from danger and motivates us to achieve our goals, as someone with developmental trauma and CPTSD I know that suffering with persistent and ongoing anxiety is not nice.
In the past my anxiety held me back, it stopped me socializing and made my working life a nightmare. I used to blush very easily and this caused me to suffer even more anxiety which caused even more blushing until I stopped the problem using hypnotherapy. In this post I am going to share with you a few of the methods I have found to help reduce my anxiety.
Mindfulness and Meditation – I used to suffer with a lot of negative self talk and have a very pessimistic outlook on life, these negative thoughts and pessimism caused me to imagine all kinds of horrible outcomes. I found meditation helped me to calm my thoughts and realise they weren’t mine, they were unhelpful thinking patterns that other people had put in my head. The purpose of meditation is not to stop thoughts, it is to watch them calmly and realise they are not part of who you actually are. Being in the present moment stops worrying about the future or ruminating on the past, in this study John Hopkins university found 30 minutes of daily meditation can help reduce anxiety and depression. I like to sit and focus on my breath at least twice a day, when a thought comes into my head I label it as thinking and return my awareness to my breath. When I experience a moment of panic I use box or seven, eleven breathing techniques.
Hypnotherapy – As mentioned above I used hypnotherapy to stop my blushing issues and have created a course to help other people do the same, I have also created a recording to help anxiety sufferers it is available on YouTube. The recording uses a technique known as anchoring to induce an instant state of calm and stop panic attacks.
Exercise – I find exercise to be a brilliant way to release pent up energy, my favourite form of exercise is mountain biking, it not only allows me to release energy but it also gets me out in nature which is great for emotional health and wellbeing. When I can’t get out on my bike I like to walk and often do so in a mindful manner, I like to feel down into my feet as they touch the ground and watch the breath coming in and out of my body.
Reduce caffeine intake – Caffeine is really bad for anxiety, too much of it causes me to become very nervous and jittery, I don’t drink coffee after 2pm and have substituted many of my hot drinks with herbal and fruit teas. Before bed I sometimes drink chamomile tea which has a very soothing effect, it is great for insomnia. Also watch out for soft and energy drinks as these not only contain caffeine but also very high levels of sugar.
CBD Oil – I love CBD and I regularly vape it despite criticism for my vaping habit. Cannabinoids actually bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain CBD oil is not like traditional cannabis, it is derived from hemp and so it doesn’t cause a buzz or the munchies. One study found that CBD oil was very effective in helping people who suffered from social anxiety disorder, brain scans on the test participants showed changes in blood flow around the anxiety related regions of their brain. CBD oil has also been shown to help sufferers of chronic pain, believe it or not the anxiety of pain makes pain much worse and so the anxiety reducing effects of CBD oil are probably very helpful to chronic pain sufferers.