Take Back Control: A Different View to Anxiety
Remember your first panic attack? That feeling of anxiety…
When I first experienced a panic attack, I was in my early 20’s, sat in my bedroom. My heart started beating so fast and my mind was racing. My mind was actually going 1000 miles an hour, I couldn’t slow anything down. I felt totally insane.
I went downstairs in a flood of tears and asked my dad if I needed to go to A&E or if I needed to go to the mental health hospital. He calmly told me I was having a panic attack, sat me down, put our old dog on his lead and took me for a long walk till I calmed down. When we got back, I was whisked off to the doctors.
The doctor put me on anti anxiety medication.
I still continued to get panic attacks, when they increased in frequency, the doctors upped my dosage of medication.
Want to Take Back Control? Here’s my different view to anxiety.
For me, medication was like putting a band-aid on, after someone falls over and grazes their knee. It happens again, but worse and they put a bigger plaster on it. Whats wrong with this scenario?
No one is teaching this person not to fall over in the first place.
This is what is wrong with medicating for mental health issues, long term, in my opinion. Of course sometimes it’s needed and we all accept that. How many people are you aware of that are on long term medication for mental health issues, but have never had the resources to learn to manage their mental health, to learn to stop falling the holes, or notice the pitfalls?
People get stuck in cycles, on and off medication, dosage upped and dropped, or just constantly on the same drugs. No one in the NHS questions this, or how people could be helped in other ways. It just seems to be tablets after tablets after tablets. Repeat prescriptions or phone calls for a prescription without the need nor want to even see anyone in person. This is many peoples experience with anxiety and the NHS.
When my anxiety returned after a spell off medication, I decided there must be a better way started to manage and take charge of my own mental health. I started practising yoga. Through this, I naturally started looking after myself, focusing on nutrition and meditation also, where it became a hobby to me.
In a similar situation, the Touching the Summit founder, Sarah, helps to manage her mental health through mountain sports.
Many teachers can help and guide you on your path and help you to gain the tools through yoga, meditation, nutrition and reiki, to heal yourself. Even just finding a hobby that is positive that you love, rock climbing, trekking, kayaking, swimming, weight lifting… basically anything like this also can have a drastic effect on helping you to heal without relying on medication.
With a different approach to mental health, we can start to heal in a way that steers us away from chemicals and drugs.
For a balanced life, which will lead to a balanced mind, thus helping to cure mental health naturally, we need to look at 3 aspects of ourselves.
All are linked, when you look after one aspect, you’re looking after all three, but some aspects to consider include –
– Body –
are crucial for our mental and physical health. exercise releases endorphins, which help alleviate both mental and physical pain as well as having a calming effect on the mind.
Food & drink
We literally are what we eat. Our bodies use vitamins, minerals , proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds from our food to literally re-build our bodies from a cellular level. What we eat and what we drink is super important for our health, emotional and physical.
– Mind –
We need to create space to facilitate healing.
We need to stop being so busy, for our minds sake. One thing I and many others have found so crucial in our healing journey, is facilitating time into our days and into our lives to switch off and allow the mind to still. Allow yourself some calming time, every day, with no phone… no laptop… no distractions.
There are many useful guided meditation videos on youtube that are great for beginners, or advanced alike, to reach a calm mind quite easily and with practice. It might take a few goes, but the mind is a tool that needs to be trained like any other muscle.
– Spirit –
Do things that are good for the spirit and the soul! Sing, dance.. tell that lame joke… go ask your Parents about their life, hang out with your sister/brother/nieces/nephews/ cousins/ grandparents… swim, run, walk in nature, cycle… move. Do Yoga, go kickboxing, start Zumba class, or try attending a few dance classes. Meditate. Catch up with friends, cook inspiring healthy meals. Buy a smoothie maker. Read a book with a cuppa… Cuddle. Lots. Spend time with children… with animals… finish that DIY task you’ve been putting off…. book a flight to somewhere you’ve dreamt of going… say ‘I love you’ to someone and mean it… smile at strangers, be polite to all… kill folk with kindness…
All these things are guaranteed to be good for your soul.
If we can balance these, we can lead a fulfilling happy life, where painful things might happen, but we do not suffer because of this.
Someone from Australia once told me :
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”
We can learn the tools to help ourselves and reprogram our minds, take steps to reaching our goals with compassion in our hearts. It takes time, there is no quick fix but being dedicated with a focus on yoga, meditation and nutrition we can change our mental health for the better.
My Reiki teacher Taryn, in Thailand, said:
“We should try to be light-houses, to help guide those in darkness to safer waters with our light.”
Without wanting praise or passing judgement, which I think is a lovely way to look at things.
Whats your opinions? I would love to hear from you!
Peace and Love,