Jillian Tryansky has been one of our fabulous interns since September. She kindly shared her story about struggling with anxiety and how to overcome it!
What is anxiety?
What does it mean to say, “I feel anxious”?
Is it a feeling of intense drumming on the inside of your chest or an uncontrollable mash up of worries rushing through your brain? Does it cause you to sweat or binge on cookies or in my case, rice cakes?
The point is: we all have it. We all get anxious at times and there is no specific cause or feeling because we all experience it differently. Some experience it worse than others, but we are all affected and cope in our own unique way.
Having gone through my own experience with an anxiety disorder stemming from shingles (an infection of the nervous system) two years ago, I can tell you that anxiety feels like the end of the world. It feels like doom is around the corner waiting for you but the truth is that we all have the power to kick doom to the curb.
Going through my own experience with my not so friendly sidekick “doom”, I became fascinated with what happens in the body as a result of anxiety. After months of being on various medications in an attempt to cope with my condition, I discovered the true power of food, family and friends, and most importantly an excitement and appreciation for life – all being vital in my healing process.
There are so many things in life that can make us anxious. After all, anxiety is one of the mind’s way of dealing with stressful situations. In our everyday lives when we get so consumed by the things that cause us stress like relationships, work, sitting in traffic…we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture. Perspective becomes distorted causing our emotions to take over and our health to suffer. If depression is worry and regret of the past, anxiety is an intense worry of the what if’s of the future.
When we become anxious our bodies go into sympathetic nervous system mode. The fight or flight response takes over and that’s when the heart pounding and sweating begins. How we learn to cope and or prevent anxiety is key. Although consuming a bag of potato chips may sound tempting when stress hits, we all know that there are better ways to manage that will better our health.
So what do we do? Do we just accept that we all suffer from stress and its related symptoms sometimes?
Maybe…but that’s really up to you.
You can decide how you want to deal with stress and anxiety because you have the power of choice. In my case, I chose to eat A LOT of good whole food, practice yoga, paint, laugh, stop and smell the roses (literally) and spend time with my favorite people – my 1-year-old niece Rylee in particular. Most importantly I allowed myself to SLOW down. I committed to the journey of whole health – mental and physical. I am still on that journey today and am enjoying every moment of it.
Being a part of the Making Love In The Kitchen Team these past few months has given me that much more knowledge and has allowed me to further explore all the goodness of food and laughter as medicine. Meghan’s stress busting latte definitely puts a smile on my face.
Daily Strategy For Calming The Nerves
In addition to finding what works for you to reduce stress and promote happiness it is important to take note of your five senses and indulge them. This is a strategy I use on a daily bases to help me calm and restore.
1) Sight –surround yourself with beauty whether it’s a favorite photograph or taking a walk in nature.
2) Sound – notice the sound of the wind or listen to your favorite music
3) Smell – breathe in lavender, peppermint, Meghan’s brownies
4) Taste – taking the time to treat yourself to something whole and delicious
5) Touch – do something everyday that touches you on a spiritual level
All together now! Take a deep breath and eat a spicy chocolate brownie. Life is good.
Feed the body, Nourish the soul. Focus on the exhale!