When I first started having panic attacks at the age of 15 it would nearly always be on a night out with my friends. When the doctor asked what would trigger me I really wouldn’t know. I didn’t understand why they would take place when I was doing something I loved? Fast forward 23 years and being in public places, Going for dinner, the movies, a concert, airports, train stations sometimes even food shopping would and still sometimes can send me in a spin. Anywhere, where there is lots going on really. But now I have the tools to cope better.
Have you ever felt so nervous and sick that you felt like you might pass out? Experience panic and hyper ventilation. This was my go to feeling, coupled with dizziness, chest pain and inability to focus properly and balance. Sounds pretty crap huh? Well yes it can be but I won’t let it beat me and control my life. I’ve learnt some coping skills along the way and thought I’d share them with you.
Here’s the deal, the word control plays a huge roll in things for me. I’ve discovered that if I am a guest speaker, or teaching a class etc I am absolutely fine, if I am however in a class, open space or workshop I then start to panic. To me that suggests a need to be in control of what is happening.
Getting to know your anxiety is key. As a proactive and driven sort I used to regularly push myself way out of comfort zone in order to overcome my anxiety. This only fuelled my despair and fear. What I discovered along the way was that you need to do things in stages so as not to completely overwhelm your senses. So maybe instead of booking yourself a solo round the world trip you book a night away one your own at a local hotel, or if your at a concert or movie and feel anxious maybe nip to the toilet take a few grounding breaths and then come back into the situation. It’s important to realise you always have a choice.
How does your anxiety make you feel? Do you know the triggers? Where in your body do you feel your anxiety? What happens when you feel anxious? Who can you turn to for support? You may or may not know the answers to these questions but having a think about them will help.
So we acknowledge that it is there, then we can move on. Here’s my top areas to help support you before, during and after the social situations.
Before: Preparation is key
·Make sure you are well rested
·Ensure you have eaten at regular intervals throughout the day to help balance your blood sugars
·Try to stay away from high sugar or processed foods. These will lower your mood and create peaks and troughs in your blood sugar.
·Make sure you know where you are going and that you have plenty of time to get there.
There is nothing worse than trying to stay calm if your running late.
·Choose some affirmations to support you, these could be event specific such as “Music fills my heart with joy and makes my soul sing” or my fave “I am grounded, happy and safe”. Repeat these over and over in your mind. Breathe them right into your body, mind and soul. Check out my pinterest page for some more helpful mind lifters. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/spiritandsoulab/pins/
· Avoid alcohol where possible. For me I very seldom drink anymore and if I do, it will only be with close friends or those I love on a special occasion. You may think alcohol will give you Dutch courage but actually it is a depressant and also will mess with your blood sugars and anxiety.
·As above (in before the event section). Limit caffeine it will only increase your heart rate which your body may confuse with panic.
· Drink plenty water. If your anxious your mouth may be dry. Also dehydration will make your anxiety worse.
·Use essential oils to help keep your body, calm and relaxed. If really stressed I love vetiver on the base of my spine, or a little anxious Wild Orange and Lavender.
·Lastly breathing. Really channel that breathe. Take nice long slow deep breathes in and out. The breath will calm you. Imagine the breath coming up from the earth and down from the sky. Breathing it into your body and supporting your being. You are supported!
I’d often get the symptoms of a hang over post social situations regardless of if I’d been drinking. This is due to the stress chemicals and hormones swirling round your body. Your senses will have been on high alert and will be tired. So this part is mega important too.
·Wooooo hoo you did it! Celebrate and congratulate yourself. Another step forward.
·Be proud of your achievement no matter how small. Every step forward is exactly that. A step in the right direction.
·Rest, ensure you take care of yourself after. Sleep well and allow your body to settle.
·Eat well and drink loads of water to help replenish your system and flush out toxins.
·Take an Epsom Salt bath to help detox and relax your system.
·You are amazing! Repeat I am amazing! I am amazing!
Sending you so much love and support.
Love and Live Your Light
Want more advice on how to overcome anxiety? Why not attend one of my overcoming anxiety workshops. Get in contact and I can add you to our mailing list and let you know when the next one is running. xx