Ive had my first encountered with anxiety on my first trip to South East Asia.It was my first long trip with a friend in that part of the world and we moved around a lot with our backpacks. We planned this trip for months and I remember we were so excited to finally go and live new adventures and experiences. I loved every single part of the trip it was a very fun and exciting time to share memories and stories with my close friend.
Except not everything can be planned on these trips, and even if we were prepared some things were still out of our control. We took this bus ride once that was supposed to be 18 hours (even tho 18 hours is still kinda long) we were mentally prepare for that amount of time, but it ended up being 24 hours. When we look back we are able to laugh about it because we made it safe and sound but being in that bus that turned out to be a 24 hours ride, in the middle of the mountains, with foreign people that didn’t speak our language and nothing to defend ourselves in case anything happened. The road was very unsafe as we turned the corners of the mountains with the bus filled with people & marchandise. Each time it took a turn we closed our eyes thinking ”this is it”. Luckily nothing happened and we arrived (one day almost a half) later and when we put our bags down at the guest house we found ourselves crying and laughing, just with this big sense of anxiety washing over us. Because in the moment we weren’t aware of how dangerous the situation was, when we were able to look back it all kind hit us. From that moment on I remember I started feeling a little more unsafe and being more aware of our vulnerability. Afterwards, we also had a motorbike accident which completely threw us off , we spent long hours at the clinics cleaning our wounds and not being able to go to the beach, and I spent most of my time stressing out over the fact that Ive hit my head. It was nothing serious but I really started feeling anxious and thinking I was gonna die of a concussion. Even after doing a CT scan and for sure knowing i had nothing, I was still panicking and started to feel these chest pains that took my level of anxiety even higher because now I was not only thinking I would die of a concussion but I was also gonna have a heart attack. THE drama!!!
The good thing about all this is that it led me to discover this part of me that I’ve always shot out of my life completely because I never allowed myself to be the type of person to be anxious. I knew anxiety was a serious case because people close to me had to deal with it , but that was it. I had no idea that all this adventure would lead me to where I’m at right now, a yoga teacher & long life learner. As overwhelming and unexperienced I thought I was, I managed to find a few ways that helped me to not completely loose my shit and help me overcome those panic attacks.
SLOW DEEP BREATHS
You may be thinking ” Ive heard this a million times” and it is because it is truly magical. My favourite way to slow my breath, is to lay on my back, place my hands on my belly and just take deeeeeeppp , sloww, belly breaths. It has been proven that breathing from the belly sends signals to your brain to calm your nervous system and gives you an overall sense of security. Its an absolute gem!!
Not only do your cells / brain/ nervous system listens to whatever you feel or say about yourself but it also ACTS upon it! What you think / feel and say about yourself , is what you’re going to feel in your body. For me anxiety comes in the form of physical discomfort, like literal chest pains. So what helped me the most during the crucial times of agony is to A) breathe from the belly and B) repeat myself this following words : I am healthy, safe & protected. It sends a message to your brain and literally speaks to your cells to chill out. You can use whatever word helps you best, but find them , write them down and repeat them in your head over and over. Another very great mantra is to trust that everything will be okay, repeating to yourself that you are safe and trusting that the universe has your back and that everything will work out for you.
Like I said, all this experience led me to the most rich adventure that I would be on for a long time ; Yoga. I feel it came as a revelation to me once I came back from my trip, something inside me just told me to go and take a yoga class. I did yoga before but I never felt the connection to the real meaning of it. I was always on the physical part of the practice but somehow ,maybe it was how the trip shook me out of my comfort zone and forced me to face some parts of me that I didn’t want to face before, that I came back and saw yoga with completely different pair of eyes. After that first class I took I felt a sense of peace and fulfillment. I was hooked, and ever since Yoga really helps me overcome any negative feeling because instead of pushing them away, I learned to live with them and accept them as a part of who I am, and not just look at the beautiful or nice part of me. Yoga helps you connect all of those parts of you and instead of looking to the exterior word for a remedy, you dive deep inside to find comfort.
Over thinking is the best friend of anxiety, you are most likely going to overthink every single little detail of whatever situation is making you feel bad and it will CONSUME YOU. The best way to cut out the overthinking process is to just let it go, tell yourself if you have a problem that cant be fixed, than why stress it out because either way it won’t be fixed and if you have problem and it CAN be fixed, than why stress out because everything is actually going to be okay. Pure wisdom directly from what a wise man told me once( my dad haha!)
I know when I have a panic attack, I just cant help but overthink and cant seem to bring my mind to stillness. Which is absolutely normal, and that is why that sitting with my anxiety has been one of the best way to not get ”rid” of it, but learn to live with it and instead of giving it the front seat, I leave it on the back sit. Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life if you dont let it , it won’t. Meditation is just one of many great tools that you can use to help you understand where your thoughts come from. Once you know the source of where these feelings arise, you can start to change them or be more aware of it. Because the first step to healing or overcoming something is to acknowledge where it comes from. For me, I know that I always have a little anxiety when I leave home to travel, but that doesn’t have to stop me from traveling, it is just there to keep me in check and I acknowledge it, I let it come with me, send love to it and keep moving forward.
I hope these 5 tricks will help you overcome anxiety and by overcoming I mean giving it space to be without letting it become the whole room.
You’re are worthy of peace love and all of the things you want & no negative feeling should stop you from living!
Let me know if you have any other great tips, what do you do when you feel anxious? How do you feel it helps you overcome anxiety or panic attacks? Comment below!
Light & love, always!
Veronica G ❤