Be Calm: How I deal with Anxiety

Be Calm: How I deal with Anxiety

I am not a very relaxed person, I always seem to have ants in my pants, even if it’s not always visible from the outside. For this reason, it is not only important but vital to my life and health that I maintain focus to stay centered and sane.

So the truth is that the calm before the storm describes my relationship with Joe quite well – you see, Joe is the calm and I am the storm. There’s no denying it:

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Left: Me – the storm   Right: Joe – the calm

The thing about anxiety and stress that most people overlook, is that it can be controlled. The hard part is maintaining the control and forgiving yourself and others enough to not let it ruin your life. I have built up an army of defenses over the years which I’d like to share:

PRAY

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The biggest part of remaining balanced is directly related to my faith. I pray continuously, wherever I am – there is no single act more powerful than prayer. I would be completely lost without it. I know God is always with me and I trust that I am going in the right direction believing this.

LOVE

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Joe and Me

Linked to faith, is love. My secret weapon of choice: Joe ♥
Joe is the most relaxed person I have ever met. In the 10 years we have been together, I have seen him stressed out maybe once or twice even though many stressful things have happened in this time. Whenever things get really chaotic, I go sit next to Joe, I don’t always have to say anything – I just use his energy to calm down and feel safe.

Here are some of the other ways I relieve stress and anxiety. These methods really work for me – remember to always find a balance between body, mind and soul:

BODY : GET MOVING!

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Hiking in the Beautiful Drakensberg

I am no gym bunny, in fact, I don’t enjoy going to the gym at all. I much prefer being outside, breathing fresh air, doing exercise in my own space and taking my time.

At school, I was part of the athletics team, my favourite event was the 100m sprint – I was quite good at it despite my ridiculously short legs. By the time I left school, I was doing kickboxing, mostly for fitness and to learn some basic self-defense techniques. I enjoyed this as it would really make me tired so I could sleep well when I was particularly stressed.

At this stage, I mostly use Skimble’s workout app to get rid of anxiousness. I don’t have a subscription, I choose the free workouts. There are really great options and you can choose one based on how much time you have and your level of fitness – some of my favourites are only 10 minutes long.

Sometimes I don’t really feel like exercising, so I will just put on some music, dance around and pretend I know what I’m doing 🙂  I also really love being outdoors, observing nature and being surrounded by mountains – this can really put things into perspective for me; it is easy to forget how small we are, including our challenges, compared to nature and the universe.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do, you just have to do something physical; something that will transfer the negative energy you have built up away and out of your body so that it won’t make you sick.

MIND: THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS

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Meet Carlos

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and Hershey 🙂

The easiest thing to do when you are sad, upset or angry, is to keep thinking about it! I consciously tell myself to think about something else. I just stop and do something that I love to do, like cuddling my cats: Carlos and Hershey. If you have a pet, this is a great way to start smiling and forget about the bad stuff. Carlos could definitely win a trophy for being Mr. Personality and Hershey is just the most lovable kitten. They always make me feel better.

The point is: find whatever makes you feel happy and make it your go-to activity for those moments when you need a pick-me-up.

SOUL: TRANSFER ANXIOUS ENERGY WITH ANGRY POETRY

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Let it go, let it go! So maybe Disney is onto something here. I find that when something upsets me I can have a hard time forgetting about it, so instead, I write it down – I transfer the anxious energy from my mind,  onto paper and leave it there – frozen!

Here’s what I do:
I get a piece of paper and pen (I find typing doesn’t work as well), and I start writing a poem. I let the emotion flow and let myself feel whatever I am feeling; so if I want to swear or be mean or be sad, I put it into words and make it rhyme. I write almost in a vicious way, determined and focussed, complete with facial expressions and arm action!

I am always surprised by how easily the words flow and how quickly I can write poetry in this way. I always feel so relieved after doing this! Like the anger and frustration magically transferred from my mind and heart into the ink and onto the paper where it can’t escape.

So then what?! I file the paper and forget about it. Those thoughts are still part of the memories I have but I have removed them from my physical being. Sometimes I go back and read some of them, they can make me laugh or make me sad but mostly I feel good that I am in control of my emotions and can carry on. You don’t need to share this with anybody, if you like, you can tear it up and throw it away.

I wouldn’t normally share one of my angry poems – it is a private thing, not meant for anybody else’s eyes, but I feel like this is such an effective method and that it is so important to get rid of any negative feelings. Here is one I wrote a few months ago:

It’s a trap!

Like a witch, like a witch,
You strut, waddle and twitch;
Scoping out the neighbourhood scene

Malicious mouth, dripping acid-like drool
As you challenge me to an imminent duel
I quietly watch you unravel, unfold
A bittersweet end for such a foul hearted soul,
Instead of a heart, a giant, gaping hole

Telling tales to your ‘friends’
Whispers of hate sweeps through the air
The sheep quickly follow suit
Spreading your sour flair

Putrid-minded, ill-mannered ways
Can’t twist me, can’t coax me into a daze
You’re showing your colours, a chaotic haze

The hue of pigs, the colour of mud
The sludge in your veins
Drink sorrow and pain

Away I cast you! Your spirit to dwell
Through a barren land: your life
that you created with your own hands.

Ok, so I realise this post might make me seem like an angry, crazy person – it is true, at times I can be. It is easy to get angry these days, there are fewer people with integrity, less morals, more greed, more materialism. That is why it is so important to surround yourself with people who make you feel at ease and support you. The only way to really stay calm and to stay positive is to take charge of your own emotions and do what it takes to remove the negativity from your thoughts and ultimately your life. You just can’t control what other people will do or say.

Decide what you stand for and never compromise that for the sake of other people. Those who really love you, won’t expect you too. Remember that emotion drives change; use what you are feeling to do or create something good in your life.

Much love xxx

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