1. Keep talking about how you're feeling
At first, I kept my lips sealed about my anxiety. In fact, for several months I did my best to keep my Anxiety a secret.
I felt that somehow my anxiety was my problem to fix and I needed to do this alone, to ask for help and to open up showed Weakness.
I also trembled thinking about how my secret would be received. Sooner or later, as my Anxiety become stronger, I had to start talking. I can not explain just how freeing it felt to finally spill the beans on what was going on inside of my head.
The weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders as I spoke to those around me about my struggles. I feared judgement when in reality I was supported. Martin feared judgement too originally but told me with each person he confided in, it was easy to talk.
2. Regular Exercise
'An Anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body' - Edmund Jacobson.
I shared with Martin that at the peak of my Anxiety, I developed the habit of nightly walks. After work, I would walk for hours on end, often alone, sometimes with friends. By the time I got home, I would be physically tired and ready for bed, so I felt I had in some way 'burned off' the excess anxious energy. Whether it's Yoga, Walking, Running, or Swimming, there are believed to be positive benefits of regular exercise for our mental health.
The third piece of advice I shared with Martin was to develop a daily meditation practice, if only for 5 minutes per day. I used to find myself so lost in my thoughts that they felt powerful, and I was at the mercy of them.
Through Meditation, observing my thoughts in a non-judgmental way, I was slowly able to create some space between myself and my thoughts.
In doing so, I become the observer instead of the victim.
''Imagine this cup is full of pure water'', I said to Martin, pointing at my cup of Green Tea.
''If a single drop of ink were to enter the cup, it would turn the water inky. This is what our negative thoughts do when they consume our mind''.
''Imagine, however, if instead of a cup full of water, we had a larger container, like a bathtub full of water, the ink would have less impact on the purity of the water''.