Every Wednesday, Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer hosts a tip carnival called Works-For-Me Wednesday. Bloggers from around the world join in and share all kinds of advice about all kinds of things.
About six years ago, I started suffering from anxiety attacks. I was in vet school at the time, under a lot of stress, working too hard and sleeping too little. Some days were fueled purely with adrenaline, peanut M&Ms, and my morning SlimFast. (By the way - it's hard to work an 18 hour day on one can of SlimFast and one packet of peanut M&Ms.)
At first, I wasn't sure what was happening to me. I'd be going along, taking care of business, and suddenly something would come over me. I'd feel flushed, dizzy, shaky, and weak, with an overwhelming feeling of needing to GET OUT. The anxiety usually wasn't about anything specific, but was in reaction to stressful circumstances.
After I was able to identify what I was feeling as an anxiety attack, things became more clear. Several things have helped me over the years, including medication. Since we're still trying to get pregnant, medication is off my list of options right now. I thought I'd share my non-medical coping strategy.
1. Prayer. Pray for peace, for comfort, and for a clear mind. Pray alone. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your best friend. Just pray.
2. Quiet place, deep breaths. Seriously. It sounds simple, but it's the easiest way to calm down when in the throes of an anxiety attack. It's good for your body physically, and it helps to clear your mind as well.
3. Try to find the source of the anxiety. Sometimes this is confusing, since once you get to a certain stress level anything can trigger the symptoms. Evaluate the stresses and conflicts in your life to see where the problems originate.
4. Deal with the anxiety, instead of shuffling it aside. This has really been key for me. My gut reaction, in times of anxiety, is to push it to the back of my mind and just move on. That's fine for a short time, but it won't help solve anything in the long run. Instead, take some quiet time to focus on your anxiety. What is it that is really bothering you? What about the situation is scary? What factors do you feel might get out of control? Once you've identified the source of the fear, you can figure out how to deal with it. If the worst happens, what will you do? What will be the most likely result?
5. Medication. If anxiety is overwhelming you, if you're having trouble coping, or if it interferes with your career or your family life, seek help. There are some great anti-anxiety medications out there that can really help get you over a time of stress. Anxiety is a physical reaction, and dealing with it in a physical way is sometimes the most effective.
I hope this helps someone out there. I hope that if you're suffering from anxiety attacks, you find coping mechanisms that work for you. And if you need someone to talk to, e-mail me!
For more great tips, visit Works-For-Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer!