Living with anxiety can be difficult not just mentally, but physically and emotionally as well. There is a mind-body connection that people in Western culture are beginning to understand. The mind plays a role in emotions, behavior, and overall physical well-being.
You are what you think!
When living with anxiety, it’s important to target the three aspects of your mind-body connection to help you better cope with symptoms. Let’s first take a look at the mental aspect:
Whatever the trigger of anxiety, the brain is the one to process the information first. The panic-driven thoughts are derived from fear and you may find yourself saying things like “I’ll never get out of this situation,” or “I can’t do this,” or “I’m so scared!” These trigger the fight-or-flight response in the body, which then leads to physical symptoms, which are discussed later.
Know yourself and no yourself.
Know yourself by recognizing when these thoughts happen. You can’t control circumstances around you, and you are likely not going to be able to control all triggers; however, you are able to tell yourself ‘no’ when the negative thinking process begins.
Say no to the mental predator that causes the negative thoughts. The power of positive thinking should never be underestimated. Instead of the common fear-driven phrases, replace them with positive affirmations such as “this is only temporary,” or “I’m okay, I’m stronger than this.”
Physical symptoms of anxiety include sweaty palms, racing heart, dizziness or lightheadedness, flushing, stammering for words, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, muscle tension, and headaches, just to name a few.
This is not an exhaustive list, but they are the most common. The physical symptoms generally start right after the onslaught of anxious thoughts, so the best way to control these symptoms is to learn first how to deal with the mental aspect of anxiety. When that fails, as it sometimes will, learn techniques such as deep breathing exercises, which can be learned through the regular practice of meditation and/or yoga. Exercise like running or walking will help to relieve physical symptoms as well.
Finally, the emotional toll anxiety can take on you is extreme. These constant panic attacks, fearful dispositions, and physiological responses will deplete the system of necessary hormones to stay energized and in a better mood.
If negative emotions are a trigger to anxiety, it may be time to speak with a counselor or doctor about medication or some form of therapy. Otherwise, by controlling the mental aspect, you will in turn learn to control emotions, because emotions are fueled by thoughts.