Ruler of Your Mind

Don't let your anxiety overcome you—Own it and take it over.

Ruler of Your Mind
An iron band feels wrapped around my lungs as my heart pounds against my rib cage. I try to blink through the mist encroaching on the corners of my vision as the grip of anxiety takes hold of me. A whirlwind of thoughts, memories and feelings swirl violently behind my eyes. I try to hold it back, but it just keeps pushing...

It doesn't matter whether I'm in a crowd, busy at work, or at home on a bad day, my anxiety can start up any time and for any reason. Most of the time it has nothing to do with what's going on around me, but what's going on inside my mind that breaks the tripwire and causes me to tumble into a panic. The worst part of it is, it happens more than some people would think.

About five times a day, sometimes more, I have a heart-squeezing moment of anxiety, which is my mind reminding me of all the things that I should be worried about. At these moments, my first reaction is to cannonball right into that pit of constant and escalating anxiousness, but I am beginning to realize that I have a choice in my course of action when I detect these feelings coming on.

I could keep holding my breath, hoping that my anxiety would just f*ck off and not address my emotions head on. Or, I could take five minutes out of my day to stop trying to think about everything at once and just b r e a t h e.

In the midst of my panic attacks, I forget to breathe properly and begin to take quick, short breaths from my chest. This kind of breathing actually makes how you're feeling worse as you're not getting the full, deep breaths you need to calm down. When I am feeling strangled for a proper breath and I can't seem to gain control over my own thoughts, I need to take five minutes away from whatever it is I'm doing to breathe and try to take back my mind from my anxiety.

Eight second inhales, a short hold and then deep and complete exhales help me get my breathing back in order after about a minute of the practice. If you're having trouble focusing on your breathing, try closing your eyes and placing one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach. Then imagine a blue stream of light flowing in from your hand over your heart and through your body to your stomach, where it exits through your other hand.

After you get your breathing back, it's time to take your mind back from your anxiety. No, you can't make those thoughts and feelings magically disappear, but you can identify that these thoughts are coming from your anxiety. Have a conversation with yourself in your mind—should I be afraid right now? What is making me so anxious? Why am I worrying about this? Can I do anything about it now? Calming down and trying to take a logical approach can help diffuse the intense emotions and help you find your way back to yourself.

If you ever need to take a minute or two to settle your mind and get back to yourself, do it. No matter how busy you are, you owe it to yourself to take a few moments of self-care. We can't hold our breath forever, so allow yourself to exhale and ground yourself.

self careadvicemental health
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Mikayla Appleby
Mikayla is a creative writer and mental health blogger from Canada's beautiful West Coast. She loves to read and write contemporary fantasy novels and to raise awareness and acceptance of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

See all posts by Mikayla Appleby