How do you know if you experience anxiety?

I have a confession to make, I never really thought I suffered from anxiety.

I always viewed people with anxiety as the Piglets of society, always nervous and worried and concerned about everything. I saw anxiety as that heart-racing feeling you get when drinking too much coffee. I imagined it felt like a shaky feeling, a tightness in the chest. I had felt that before but I wouldn’t say that I suffered from anxiety or was an anxious person – you might even relate. 

So why would I create such a workshop if I don’t know what it’s like to be anxious? 

Because I do know what anxiety feels like, I just call it different things, and maybe you do too…

For me “anxiety” feels like stress and pressure and an overwhelming need to get things done. Anxiety feels like that voice in my head constantly narrating how I’m not doing things well enough, fast enough, good enough, right enough. Anxiety is that obsession with doing things right, and making everything perfect. Anxiety is agreeing to things that don’t really feel good, but I don’t wanna disappoint, and the feeling of letting someone down probably feels worse than just agreeing to do it. Anxiety feels like me being unsure, and still not sure whether I can ask a question to clarify. Anxiety feels like doubt in whether I really know what I’m doing. Anxiety is scrolling on my phone for what seems like forever, hoping I will find that relief I’m looking for yet I feel worse the longer I scroll. Anxiety feels like that gnawing need to eat, or drink, or smoke, or work, or clean, or whatever until it’s done, it’s finished, it’s complete, it’s perfect, it’s satisfied, it’s ended – yet IT never IS. 

Anxiety keeps us stuck. It keeps us over preparing to avoid failure. It keeps us in jobs, in relationships, and in situations we don’t like for fear of never getting anything better. It keeps us procrastinating on even starting a project in case it doesn’t work. It keeps us scrolling on social media telling ourselves we will never be as good as those people. It keeps us self medicating with food and drink and smoke and whatever else so that we can rationalise an excuse for why we aren’t happy and still try to make ourselves feel better. Anxiety keeps us surveying others for their opinions. It keeps us feeling not good enough, it keeps us second guessing, it keeps us in imposter syndrome. Anxiety keeps us feeling as though we’re stressed, overwhelmed, and like we may never be free or happy. 

So what now?

Well, I know some techniques that can help you feel rested, relaxed, and regulated. 

I know this because I’ve used them for myself. 

You see, life comes with stress, we cannot avoid it, and we will probably never be without it. Our incredible bodies are constantly working to process and move and shift and experience these stressors whether physical, mental, emotional, or environmental. These stressors are happening in levels and layers, where some stress can be processed with a good nights rest, or a walk in nature, and sometimes when we’re feeling overwhelmed, or shut down, or exhausted, or in pain, or ready to scream our body is signalling enough.

This is where knowing a few simple and effective techniques that you can do yourself, comes in handy. Along with maintaining your body with good sleep, food, and movement, maintaining your brain and nervous system by keeping yourself regulated, will mean you can handle a little more, for a little longer, while feeling confident that you’ve got your own back. 

There is a lot going on in the world right now and if we’re able to nourish ourselves with rest, relaxation, and regulation, we will be able to function from the full power of our brain body and nervous system, become more confident, and have clarity on what step to take next.