Dumbo House 1:12 pm. My heart is pounding and I feel light headed. I woke up that morning with an under current of a feeling, a low buzz of discomfort. Now it's full on, like a jackhammer hitting the concrete and I debate if I can hold myself up. I committed to co-work with a friend and on my way there she mentions her client was in town and going to take us to lunch. I was late and they showed me my seat at the front of the table. Food was just served and they immediately asked me about what I did. 3 strangers' faces and my friend staring at me. When I told them about my last year nomading, more questions were asked. I wasn't in a mood to be social, really I was just in a place of wanting to hide and quite frankly, to cry. I tried to ignore my emo desires and made it through the lunch somehow. As soon as my friend and I sat at a communal table, on our own, I turned to her and said I had to leave because I was having a panic attack. She suggested for us to pause and talk through it. She confessed to me her own struggle with anxiety and that I wasn’t alone. It made me think that maybe I need to take this reoccurring feeling more seriously.
The universe has some timing, because when I opened my instagram, I saw my friend, @afaceofanxiety, a life coach and anxiety expert, happen to be giving a talk on anxiety the next day. I jumped at the sign and went. Here's what I learned:
1. Anxiety is like a marathon, you need to train for it. Because once you're in the depth of it, it's harder to deal. Being proactive helps prepare you when you have the triggers and when the onset feeling comes won't feel as heavy.
2. Anxiety comes from the Amygdala part of the brain, where emotions come from.
3. Having anchors to ground us using other senses like:
*Smell: Carrying around essential oils like from doterra. Choosing one that speaks to you, I like lavender and eucalyptus.
*Sound: Make an anxiety playlist (here's mine) something that ties to a memory or lifts you up. Mine is closely tied to childhood movies, 90's Mariah, or Beyonce.
4. Morning and night rituals like:
Morning: Major one - do not pick up your phone when you first wake up! I've done this the last week and it's a huge difference for my mental state. Lie in bed for 2 minutes and be still, quiet. Stretch.
Nightime: Put away screens. Use the oils, insight timer (a meditation app), playlist.
5. Happy vibe actions: Yoga, meditation, running, singing, dancing, EFT (Emotion Freedom Techniques, I like this one). Think about what makes you in that happy mood and go do it.
It was so helpful to get professional help. I knew I had some moments of discomfort but I didn't name it or believe it was something that I could treat. Once you accept you have anxiety, you can identify your triggers and take the steps to heal and prevent, instead of wandering blindly into your emotions. We can all talk more openly about mental health and as my friend says, everyone gets a form of anxiety, it's part of the fabric of our all emotions. Thankful, once we recognize it, we can also treat it.
You're not alone in this. If you want to explore coaching, I highly recommend connecting with Trish Barillas or if you're in the NYC area, check out one of her talks! Check her out here.