Anxiety is something that we all struggle with to some degree. It’s a natural response that will never go away because it serves a biological reason, it’s the fight or flight response.
I’ve had high levels of anxiety since I was a child. Always worrying about something. As a teenager and in my early 20’s I experienced panic attacks that have since slowly subsided. Now that I’m older I’m learning to deal with my anxiety better, but, as with everything, it’s a work in progress.
I started getting heart palpitations a few years ago, and they were triggered by my anxiety. Of course me getting the heart palpitations made me worry about them and made the palpitations even worse. I went to the doctor to get my heart checked out and everything was fine. The doctor told me the palpitations were all in my head and I should stop thinking about them. Cool.
I tried to take myself out of stressful situations and breathe through them. This helped quite a bit but working in customer service sucks and my anxiety levels never really went down. Now that I think about it the heart palpitations were also partially cause by anger. Again, customer service sucks.
But it wasn’t just work that gave me anxiety. I’m the type of person who, after I leave the house, circles back to make sure I turned off all the appliances even though I double checked before I left the first time. Then I’ll obsess about it the rest of the day. I didn’t use the straightener but did I turn it on for some reason? Did I turn the coffee pot off? Did I lock the door? What if someone breaks in and leaves the door open and the cats get scared and run away? I obsess about these things and they give me anxiety all day until I get home.
I’ve turned into the type of person who hates leaving her house because what if something happens when I’m gone? Will my cats be okay? I just stay home to avoid it all. I’ve even called out of work because I had so much anxiety and I was worried that something bad was going to happen.
It wasn’t just affecting me. I realized that my interactions with the people around me were no longer genuine. I was spending my entire time with them worrying about things. Rent is due in five days, do I have enough money? What if I can’t pay the bills this month? I haven’t heard from my mom today, what if something happened? Did I enter that data correctly at work? Should I call and make sure? The entire time they would be talking I would be half listening and half panicking about something stupid.
I’ve recently started feeling better. The anxiety is absolutely still there, but I’m experiencing less of the physical symptoms. I credit this to meditating.
My grandmother meditated when I was younger and she constantly tried to convince me to do it. I would try and then get bored or I couldn’t shut my mind off and quit. It just never stuck.
However, now that I’m on this journey to better myself I’ve decided to really give meditation a solid try. I downloaded the Headspace app, which is a guided meditation app, and I truly enjoy it. You can check out their website here.
I don’t always do great, it’s difficult. But the narrator is fantastic with gently bringing you back to the exercise. I mostly focus on my breathing and if I find that I’m getting too distracted I count my breaths.
The app itself is nice. There are different “packs” that you can choose from and you can customize the duration of the exercise. Because I’m a beginner I’ve been doing 10 minute sessions. Every now and then I find myself needing a little extra and I’ll do a quick two or three minute session. I finished the Anger pack, which was only 10 sessions, and I’m currently working my way through the Anxiety pack, which is 30 sessions.
I honestly feel that this has helped me tremendously. My heart palpitations are few and far between and I’ve been making myself more present in my surroundings.
I haven’t been as consistent as I should be with meditating so I’ve set a goal for myself to go 30 days straight without missing a day!
Do any of you meditate? I’d love to hear your thoughts!