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My M & M Method for Easing My Anxiety

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Anxiety has plagued me ever since I was a teenager. All of my anxiety centered on public speaking at that time. At one point, I ended up in the emergency room because my heart was hammering out of my chest and it wouldn’t stop. Knowing I was getting “help” eventually calmed me down. Looking back on this event, I think that was my first anxiety attack.

I sought counseling to rid myself of my anxiety. I felt comfortable with the first therapist, but my insurance no longer covered her services so I had to find another one. Unfortunately the second therapist didn’t help my anxiety at all. I came away from her appointments feeling worse than when I went in. Needless to say, I ended those sessions and continued to struggle with my anxiety. I tried a self-help program I’d seen advertised on TV, but despite all of their success stories, I was not one of them.

As I’ve gotten older, my anxiety has spilled over from public speaking to any speaking situation in general or any situation where I feel uncomfortable. Anytime I have all eyes on me, my breathing becomes labored, my chest tightens like a vice and my heart drums out a beat in my chest.

I used to think I’d have to live the rest of my life like this, but being diagnosed with fibromyalgia led me to research natural health, and I stumbled upon books, websites and podcasts that discussed anxiety and depression along with my condition. These resources talked about how diet, lifestyle, hormone imbalances and gut imbalances can sometimes play a role in anxiety.

Two of the things that have really helped with my anxiety are magnesium and meditation. People don’t often get enough magnesium because of the diets they eat and because the soil used to grow foods isn’t as mineral-rich as once was. I’ve used magnesium oil and magnesium drops. [Ed. note: Consult your doctor before adding any new supplement to your diet.] You can learn the status of your magnesium levels by asking your doctor for a test.

While magnesium helps with my own physical symptoms of anxiety, meditation helps with its mental aspects. I’m an introvert, and when you’re an introvert, you tend to be a deep thinker. But all that thinking gets you into trouble when you’re stuck on a thought and you keep thinking and thinking about it until you become anxious.  My trains of thought are regrets from my past, financial struggles and fear about the future given my current situation.

Meditation has really helped me focus on the present moment. I’ve tried three types of meditation — breathing meditation, mantra meditation and mindful meditation — and I like all three. For a beginner, I’d suggest getting a DVD. Breathing meditation and mindful meditation can be done at home and in public. One good breathing meditation is the 4-7-8. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold that breath for a count of 7 and exhale through your nose for a count of 8. I prefer to do mantra mediation (saying mantras like “Sat Nam” and “Om”) at home. With mindful meditation, you get out of your head and focus on what you’re doing at the moment, using as many of your senses as you can. It takes practice, but it’s definitely worth it.

I’d be lying if I said all of my anxiety has faded away. Unfortunately I am dealing with a hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, which increases my anxiety. Once I’m able to rid myself of that, I am hopeful my anxiety will be a thing of the past.

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Originally published: May 28, 2015
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