It seems like I've had a problem with anxiety my whole life. I worry about everything. School, work, money, children. The list goes on and on. I'd blow little problems way out of proportion and dwell on them for hours. It would interfere with my appetite and my sleep schedule. I would literally get sick to my stomach.
I don't think I can help worrying. It is in my nature. But over time, I began to identify things that made my worrying snowball into full out anxiety attacks. I've made remarkable progress these last few years. I almost can't remember my last anxiety attack.
The first thing I noticed was that caffeine and I do not get along. It makes my heart pound and I feel jittery. That feeling would blend with any worries that I had and I couldn't separate the two. So I stopped drinking all caffeinated beverages. The only caffeine I ingest is in dark chocolate, which I adore. I have to have it in very small portions though.
Every once in a while I'll crave a Coke in a glass with ice. It reminds me of summers with my grandparents, when we'd have one as a treat after a hot day at the zoo. But every time I start to drink one, I just feel horrible. I get about half way through and have to stop. I like the memory of them more than the actual taste.
Now that my body has been pretty much caffeine free for years, I notice the effect that sugar has on it. If I have too much sugar, I start to feel the same way that caffeine used to make me feel. So I try to cut back on that too.
I also discovered that exercise helps, A LOT. It just isn't possible for me to worry when I am out running. I'm so focused on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other, that it just isn't possible for my body to take off on it's jittery, heart hammering roller coaster. Yesterday, I noticed that my heart was starting to pound and the first thing that popped into my head was that I needed to go for a run. I knew that running would instantly take the edge off.
A new thing that I know I need to work on is multi-tasking. It seems like a good thing. You can get so much more done if you multi-task. But it drives me nuts. I get myself all worked up. I start to feel panicky if something interrupts me, which my children almost always do. I noticed myself getting irritable with Ada when she would ask for attention. I need to try to focus on one thing at a time. When I'm playing legos with Ada, I need to focus on her and her alone. When I'm doing the dishes, I need to let my mind be calm and not dwell on all the things that I need to do next.
This is going to be hard for me. For example, as I'm writing this, I'm also simmering carrots for Joe's baby food and trying to entertain my kids at the same time. At least I am aware of what I'm doing. Now I just need to focus on making myself stop.