Dealing with Anxiety

Monsters Under my Bed

None of you know this (many of my friends don’t either) but I have been dealing with anxiety for the past year and a half. I was diagnosed with panic disorder back in February 2011. I’m pretty sure I have gotten it well managed and under control and I have been panic attack free all year (some times, it’s gotten close to one, but I managed to keep it at bay). Most of my anxiety that I deal with comes from heightened sensory perception. Ironic, huh, since the name of my blog is sensual appeal..

Having a heightened sensory perception basically means that a person is overly conscious of body functions that usually go unnoticed because they are automatic, for example breathing. When I was in the beginning of dealing with my new-found anxiety, I found it hard to manage. I was overly conscious of how I was breathing, constantly thinking I wasn’t breathing the right way – which freaked me out further, making me think I’m gonna die, which would in turn spiral me into panic mode. It was a never-ending exhausting cycle. It was terrible. Eventually though, I have learned to control it more and more. I am happy to say that I have been a lot less anxious over the past couple of months, which I am also indirectly linking to this blog. It has helped me talk about whatever was on my mind and focusing on being healthy instead of sitting in my head and overanalyzing everything that might be wrong with me. It’s needless to say that I have also become a hypochondriac over that time and still am to an extent. Google is not helping here, of course. With searching for symptoms and their possible reasons and the diseases that could be linked to these symptoms, anxiety can only get worse, not better.

The reason for writing this post is because I was feeling pretty anxious tonight. I felt light headed during my second workout, slow cardio (which I don’t really even call a workout, it’s just a way for me to get more movement in my day since most of my day is spent sitting). I got home after ending it a couple of minutes early and I went straight to the fridge to make myself food. Food helps. It’s comforting and I have been on a lower calorie range (but not too low) and I thought it might have been because my body is adjusting to the increased movement and decreased calorie consumption. Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day and I am not planning on doing anything but walking (when necessary). I need the rest.

So I wanted to share with you guys some ways in which I deal with anxiety, especially when I start thinking about my body reaction and sensations and my hypochondriac self starts thinking I might be having a heart attack/gonna pass out/etc, so that I don’t freak myself out further and therefore not going into panic mode. Here are some things I do that help me take control of my anxiety in those situations:

  • Drink some cold water, making sure you don’t gulp, take small sips instead.
  • Breathe in and out… slowly. Close my eyes and slow my breaths out to make them relaxing and soothing.
  • Do some calming yoga poses. I usually just do some simple hatha poses and stretches. I especially do forward folds and this pose a lot. Not sure why, it just calms me down a lot. I tend to stay away from child’s pose when I feel anxious because scrunching up in a ball makes me even more nervous. I need to feel more open instead in order to release the tension.
  • Make myself a warm cup of caffeine-free tea. There are calming and relaxing tea blends out there as well but I find that any warm tea works well for me. I’ve been drinking Throat Coat tea lately because of its delicious sweet flavor; it’s comforting.
  • Smell some relaxing scents. I purchased a relaxation essential oils blend (which includes lavender oil, balsam fir, needle oil, patchouli, palmarosa oil, geranium oil, and chamomile) that I sniff and put a few drops on my wrists so that I can smell it as I go about doing my activities. As far as I know, the best and most well known relaxation scents are lavender and chamomile, but there are many others with calming powers as well. 
  • Tell myself that it’s just me freaking out for no reason. I’m too young to die and I am too healthy for something to happen (like a heart attack, come on, now, really?) 
  • Listen to music that relaxes me. Sing along. I usually listen to Lykke Li, the XX, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, or Explosions in the Sky. Pandora mixes it all up well for me. (Hope you enjoy the songs I posted up in here 😉
  • Take a GABA supplement
  • Take a magnesium supplement

Now here’s a question for you:

If you feel anxious, how do you deal with it? 

10 tips to push HARDER during a workout

First of all, last night I did my FIRST outdoor run in 2 years! Yes, I did it. It was very short – I set my route to be only a mile and a half because I had no idea how well I would do. I’ve been toying with the idea of running (well, jogging) outside for a while but I’ve been scared. Scared that I wouldn’t do well. That I would fail, and it sucks having to deal with failure. I kept putting it off. But finally, yesterday, I thought to myself – what the heck, just do it! It’s short!

Photo: The Guardian

I LOVED the jog. I didn’t jog the whole way through, but I walked a lot less than I thought I would! The weather was perfect, it was just warm enough with a nice breeze and it was 9pm so that there weren’t that many people outside but still enough so that I didn’t feel unsafe running downtown. I finished sooner than I expected and I wanted to keep going and going! It felt so good. So liberating. I missed this. I really, really did. I’m planning on adding more slow cardio outdoors like this more often. I need to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather we have before it’s gone! Next slow recreational workout to tackle, swimming…

Photo: Spikes + Heels

My workouts have been intense lately. And you know what, I freaking LOVE it. I liked doing the ChaLEAN extreme program but I didn’t necessarily get excited about the workouts. I am starting week 4 of Curvalicious and I have to say I am actually excited and totally looking forward to my workouts. Like, I get giddy and excited inside when it’s nighttime because I know I get to wake up in the morning and go work out. Work that body! Yeah! I love working hard and pushing hard. I have been trying to push as hard as I can (but not beyond my limits) and not cheating during the workouts. I decided to share some of the things that have been helping me get through the workouts lately.

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Are you exercising too much? Prevent overtraining.

This is the question I’ve been asking myself the past few days. I guess, since I AM asking it, the answer is yes. I haven’t had a rest day in 2 weeks. I have been pushing hard and going strong since summer is coming and I’m feeling very motivated.

Chalean Extreme has a following schedule: Weight training day; Rest; Weight Training day; cardio Intervals that work muscle endurance with small weights + abs; weight training day; short cardio + short yoga; rest.
I have been adding some stuff into the equation, however. I sometimes add an additional cardio session in the evening on weight training days (zumba or treadmill – nothing intense cause I’m not a big cardio person) and my rest days have been hour & half yoga days.

Woman passed out on an exercise bike.

While I feel amazing usually, yesterday I woke up extremely exhausted.The day before I didn’t do as well during weight training as I usually do and then yesterday my cardio intervals was tougher than it usually is and I almost didn’t even want to finish the abs workout. In addition, my whole body is super sore and achy – I am so tired. Exhausted. Unmotivated. I guess that’s why I decided to look if this is what overtraining feels like.

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Hypnosis for weight loss

The first time I ever tried hypnosis for weight loss was about 4 years ago. I was a junior or senior in high school. I have been a complete believer and supporter of this method ever since. After reading the book about hypnosis and its potential strengths, I was sold. I believed it could help me, since it has apparently helped so many others. I listened to the tracks and followed the plan for listening. I thought I did not change my eating habits at all. I thought I was living life the same way as I always was. Before I know it, I lost 20 pounds. I did not even realize I did. It just melted off. There was no struggle. I have been chubby all my teen years until I listened to hypnosis, reprogrammed my mind and the pounds just literally disappeared. It was effortless. This is why I still come back to hypnosis as a method for weight management/loss. Some programs are better than others. I have tried many programs and there are only a few that have worked for me. Unfortunately, I think the first time works the best and then if you fall off the wagon and something happens and you gain the weight back (Freshman 15 happened for me, eek!), I found it slightly more difficult for the hypnosis to work. It still worked, but since I already knew what the dude was saying to me in the tracks, I felt like I might have not been as into it as I was the first time. Either way, I think it’s a method worth checking out if you are looking to lose some weight or better your eating habits. You have to know that in order for hypnosis to work, you have to whole-heartedly BELIEVE it will work for you. It’s a completely mental thing. It’s all psychological. If you doubt it will work, it won’t. You have to trust it. That’s why I recommend always reading the book the CDs come with. It will prep you up mentally and “sell” you on the idea of self-hypnosis and its effectiveness.

Here’s my list of tried programs:

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How to make your workouts more effective?

I subscribe to Women’s Health and Shape magazine because I am obsessed with health. I love learning new things about health, whether it’s about fitness or general health facts. I’ve always been like this and I thank my mom for this – she’s even more of a health nut than I am. Looking at the recent Women’s Health issue, it had a great article about “Shape-Up Shortcuts” which featured 14 ways to make your workouts more effective. This intrigued me as I am definitely in need of some more effectiveness, especially after this oh so indulgent Spring Break, haha! Enough cupcakes for now, I think. Although I am following a cut-out plan which requires me to work out 5 days a week, 3 out of which are weight training days, I think there are things I can probably do to increase the effectiveness of these exercises. I might slack off sometimes and not give in my full efforts on some days – everyone’s got those days where we just don’t want to work out but we do it anyway. Those are the days I usually don’t give it all I’ve got, I might slack a tiny bit. I did a quick internet search to find some more tips. Here are the ones I found most useful:

[image: Daily Mail

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