How to let go of anxiety, worry and panic is a subject close to my heart. I have experienced all three on and off for the past 20 years. In that time, through necessity, I have discovered a myriad of ways of how to manage anxiety, worry and panic and stop them from affecting the way I live my life and the goals I’ve set myself. In this article, I share three recent profound learnings on how you too can stop your anxiety, worry and panic in their tracks.
I’ve just returned from a month in Australia and New Zealand, partly for work and partly for pleasure. Although it’s one of my favourite parts of the world, for the first half of the trip I was consistently out of my comfort zone and on edge. I couldn’t fully relax and enjoy the experience. I was going from day to day searching for new ways to manage my anxious thoughts and keep them under control. My anxiety stemmed from a fear of having a panic attack in public. So, I tried to control and manipulate every situation so that I limited the chance of having one. As a result, I wasn’t able to fully connect with the stunning scenery I was surrounded by or get excited by the journeys I went on or enjoy the food I was eating.
Every big trip brings me a new moment of clarity, a new learning that I take back with me as a result of breaking my routine. This was a big one for me. My intention at the start of the year was for a release from the mental prison of anxiety and to feel the mental freedom that a calm and peaceful mind brings. This trip certainly delivered on that!
Whilst I’d rather not have had to experience anxiety, worry and panic and lived a more consistently mentally free life, it’s also meant that I can empathise with many of my clients on a deeper level and am able to present first-hand experience and solutions. There is so much support out there which means we don’t just have to rely on medication, if we are open to it. Audiobooks, essential oils and crystals are a few of my favourites which came with me on this trip. (More about those at the end of the article). They all bring results and they can all bring comfort. However, the most enlightening thing to me on this trip was how much the cure lies within ourselves rather than anything external.
Here are 3 things I've discovered that have helped me overcome anxiety, worry and panic
1. Learning to love, trust and accept yourself more can cure your anxiety
Many of the unwanted things that we experience in life come back to the thoughts we have about ourselves. We can search for reasons outside of ourselves or people and circumstances to blame but quite often, it’s an inside job. And knowing this can be truly liberating. Because, for the most part, we have total control over what we think and therefore what we feel. I’m a huge fan of Louise Hay and much of her work centres around this basic principle.
I believe my anxiety has stemmed from a basic lack of trust in and acceptance of myself in certain situations which I had not properly addressed. I was trying to deal with the outer symptoms rather than the root inner cause. This insight came to me as an intuitive ‘hit’ during a moment of contemplation on one of the flights I took. I wasn’t trusting that I could cope in certain situations, or that my body was strong enough or even that I deserved to be free from panic.
Now, through that insight and through daily affirmations, I am trusting that I can handle whatever life throws at me, that my body is strong and capable and that even if my worst fears are realised, I have a safe place to come back to within myself. I am now more accepting and loving towards myself and I start each day off with affirmations which support this – “I love and accept myself just as I am”, “I am safe” and “I trust in myself and the Universe in all situations”.
In what ways can you start to be more loving, trusting or accepting of yourself?
2. The best way to release something is to confront it
Before this trip I had a fear of cable cars after previously having a panic attack in one. My partner was keen to take a trip in one to see the view from the top of the town we were staying in (the beautiful Queenstown in New Zealand). My first reaction was one of “I don’t go in cable cars, it’s not my thing, I panic when I go in them”. Then it hit me. This was my chance. This was the opportunity that had been presented to me in my request for this to be a year of release. Not sat at home in meditation (although that’s part of the process) but out there on the front line, meeting my fear head on.
So, I then let the idea of this being an opportunity to create a shift have a bit of space in my head. And, two days later, I just knew this was something I had to do – as if it symbolised years of anxious thoughts and a potential breakthrough which would reverberate across all areas of my life.
I cried in the queue as we waited to board. The emotion was a combination of sheer terror and the relief I already anticipated from being moments away from overcoming this fear. I used the law of attraction to put out the vibration of the good feeling of getting to the top. It played out even better than I had intended. So much so that on the way back down I was even able to turn around in the cable car and admire the view and take a rare selfie as a souvenir of my moment of release!
That one simple act has changed something significant for me. I felt like a different person on the second half of my trip, excited about the new found feeling of inner calm and release which was my intention for 2019. It feels like something has shifted, like I’ve let go of a heavy bag that had been weighing me down and affecting my enjoyment of life for years. How powerful it is to have clarity around our intentions!
What things are weighing you down? What can you confront and release so you can create that shift in your life?
3. Commitment to a daily practice can keep you connected to your place of calm
For a while now, I’ve noticed that the books I’ve been reading and the teachers I’ve been following have all been saying the same thing – that in order to feel more connected to source, more aligned to who you truly are you and more of an attracting force for what you want, you need to establish a daily practice. This could be just 10 minutes of yoga, meditation, going for a walk, reading your affirmations or just simply sitting quietly with a favourite song on.
We live in an age of quick fixes, getting what we want when we want it. So, we can often think that because we don’t see the results we want straight away that what we are trying is not working. But some of this work just takes time and it’s the same for everyone, whether you’re trying affirmations for the first time or you’re a renowned meditation teacher. The act of repetition and commitment will reinforce your intention and enable your subconscious mind to truly connect to your affirmations, insights and new beliefs.
For me, 10 minutes is a very small price to pay to create a firm foundation for the day which will keep me grounded and connected to the Universe and take me out of the cycle of anxiety, worry and panic that had brought me down.
My daily practice includes:
· a 5 minute yoga routine
· setting an intention for my day ahead (to experience inner calm)
· stating my affirmations
· giving thanks for all the abundance I already have
· a deep sniff of black pepper essential oil (for grounding myself)
What one thing could you start doing each morning to set you up right for the day?
The outer benefits of the inner change
The knock-on effect of all of this is that as I’ve started experiencing a greater sense of calm and ease within myself, I am radiating a more positive energy (a higher vibration) which in turn makes me a stronger attracting force for all the things I intend to manifest in my life.
So, if you want to stop anxiety, worry and panic, this is what I recommend and what has worked for me. You don’t need to keep suffering and letting it bring you down. It is possible to live a life free from those debilitating thoughts and feelings and to experience the freedom which is your birth right. Everything you need is inside of you and I truly believe this is the best place to focus on to make a lasting change.
I also recommend the book Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh which really helped me when I was away to understand the mechanics of panic and realise that what I was really fearing was just adrenaline from the fight or flight response that panic induces. It also made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the thoughts and feelings I was having.
I love essential oils and one which I always carry with me is Black Pepper oil which I take a deep sniff of to bring me back to the present moment and make me feel more confident in any situation. Other essential oils which can support you through anxiety include lavender, vetiver and bergamot. There are also numerous crystals which you can carry with you and hold in times of particular need such as amethyst and blue lace agate. Work with one you feel drawn to and keep it close to you to remind you of the support that is around you.