Tips for Handling Anxiety Throughout the Day [Episode #521]
Today’s solocast topic is: Tips for Handling Anxiety Throughout the Day
Throughout the day is a big part I want to emphasize because if we don’t take care of ourselves in real-time, then we really can have a lot of health issues. Everything from feeling depleted, to our energy and vitality going down, accelerated aging, more inflammation, and many different things.
I think the mentality for a lot of us is to keep working, keep going, keep pushing and when something becomes unbearable, then we have to deal with it. When our back aches so much we can’t walk, then we deal with it.
What we want to do is we want to start paying attention to anxiety levels now and prevent all these major issues coming down the road. We don’t want to get depleted or wear down our bodies. Anxiety disorders are affecting millions of adults in the United States alone which shows a really rampant issue that we really need to talk about and address as a community.
Topics Covered In Tips for Handling Anxiety Throughout the Day
#1. The mechanism of anxiety
#2. Tips for handling anxiety through the Four Cornerstones
#3. How to connect with your body
#4. Foods to help balance your body
#5. How to ‘feel our feelings through to completion’
#6. Mini meditations and how to make space for stillness
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Kimberly: 00:01 Hey, Beauties. Welcome back to our Monday solocast podcast, where our topic today is Tips for Handling Anxiety Throughout the Day. Throughout the day is a big part I want to emphasize because if we don’t take care of ourselves in real-time, so again, throughout the day, instead of letting it start to accumulate and build up in our bodies and build up in our minds, then we really can have a lot of health issues, feeling depleted, our energy going down, our vitality, accelerated aging, more inflammation, so many different things. So I think the mentality for a lot of us is keep working, keep going, keep pushing and when something becomes unbearable, then we have to deal with it. When our back aches so much we can’t walk, then we deal with it.
Kimberly: 00:55 But really what we want to do is we want to start paying attention to anxiety levels now, so again, we prevent all these major issues coming down the road. We don’t want to get depleted. We don’t want to wear down our bodies. So this is an important topic. Also, according to different statistics, anxiety disorders are now affecting… This is a statistic, so I think there’s a lot that goes on reported. But according to this statistic, anxiety disorders are affecting 40 million adults in the United States alone. This is ages 18 and older. So as we’ll get into, there’s different statistics for children. But the point is, this is a really rampant issue right now that we really need to talk about, we really need to address as a community.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: 01:44 So before we get into it, I want to give a shout out to our Fan of the Week. His or her name is EveyAmaris, can’t tell if that’s a woman or a man. So here is his or her review. He or she writes, “I have loved every book Kimberly has written, and her podcast is extremely informative on all things holistic. She beautifully educates on how to live a balanced life. If you want to make positive changes to your health, then she is your go-to lady.” Well, EveyAmaris, thank you so much for being our fan of the week. I sent you a huge virtual hug, no matter where you are. Thank you so much for supporting. Thank you so much for being part of the community. It really means a lot. So again, big virtual hug. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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Kimberly: 02:38 Beauties, for your chance for me to read your beautiful words, to be our fan of the week, please leave us a review on iTunes. I thank you in advance. It’s just a great way to support the show energetically, just good vibes all around, especially if you’ve gotten any benefit from the show, which hopefully, I hope you have. It’s just a great way to support and to help others find the show. So if you head over to iTunes, it just takes a moment or two to leave a review, and your review can literally be one sentence. So thank you so much. And while you’re over there, you can also be sure to subscribe to the show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these interviews, or solocasts, or Q&A community shows.
Kimberly: 03:22 Okay. So all of that being said, let’s get into our topic today, which is handling anxiety throughout the day. So what happens is we go to this altered state of consciousness called sleep, and we wake up, and hopefully, we wake up refreshed. But for many of us, we already wake up feeling a little bit behind, right? First of all, we back up a step back, a lot of us have trouble even falling asleep at night because there’s so much in our mind, there’s so much anxiety that tends to build up inside of our bodies, inside of our minds so maybe we don’t sleep as well. So we wake up the next day, and we already feel a little bit of general underlying anxiety as we get up and we’re starting throughout the day. And then maybe we get right on email or right into texts, and we start to feel that feeling in our tummy of, “Oh my gosh, there’s so much to do. I don’t have time to do it.” Or, “What’s going to happen here?”
Kimberly: 04:23 Then, on top of all that with COVID, and the election, and politics, and social unrest, there’s also the collective anxiety of what’s going on in the world and what’s going to happen in the future because none of us know that. So then you start to go throughout the day, and then maybe you’re getting ready for doing your work, going to work. A lot of us are working from home now. And you turn on the news, and this kicks up more anxiety. Then, you get into your work, and then maybe some deadlines have crept up or maybe something’s starting to stress you out, and then that just starts to build, build, build more in your body. So that by the time it’s six, seven o’clock, you are desperate for that glass of wine. You’re desperate for the ice cream and the sugar just to feel that you’re quelling your body, that you’re giving your body some sort of soothing. You have to placate your body in some way.
Kimberly: 05:22 And then maybe that glass of wine turns into two or three glasses of wine and suddenly, you’ve had half a pint of ice cream, or maybe a full pint of ice cream. Suddenly, we’re back into this pattern of watching the news before bed and feeling more anxiety and going to bed already stressed. So I’m painting a picture, which is not so unrealistic for millions and millions of people, to show that at any time, we’re walking around with a certain level of anxiety already there. So that means if your kid has a tantrum, or somebody from your business suddenly quit, or the weather is different than you wanted it to be for your picnic outside, these little things can set us off. They can be triggers because of this low level of anxiety.
Kimberly: 06:14 So it’s really, really critical as we go through our lives, and we go through our days, and we go through week by week, month, month, year by year, that we’re constantly cleaning out that anxiety so to speak. It’s like detoxing our bodies. It’s something that we’ve talked about in the community for years. You want to get rid of the excess assets. You want to get rid of the waste that bioaccumulates in our system. Otherwise, it just accrues and over time, it becomes harder to lose weight. It becomes harder to have any amount of high energy that’s sustained. All these things start to get more and more difficult. And the same thing with anxiety. It makes life more difficult in general.
Research and Statistics
Kimberly: 06:59 Now, I mentioned that, again, about 40 million Americans are experiencing some kind of anxiety disorder. I think the number is actually much higher. That’s my personal opinion, but it’s not all tracked. We can’t really accurately, in my opinion, track all of that. What about the millions and millions of people that go through their lives and don’t say anything, don’t report anything, aren’t part of these surveys? So I think that the number could be higher, especially it’s all estimated based on sample populations. But, especially with what is going on in the world right now, I think they’re higher.
Kimberly: 07:39 Also, statistics have shown that 25% of children up to the age of 18 are experiencing anxiety disorders. So the research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders have a higher risk to perform poorly in school. They miss out on important social experiences, and they may engage in substance abuse. So worldwide, the World Health Organization reports that anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders worldwide. So lot to talk about here. So let’s get into it, and we’re going to talk about the tips. Well, first let’s talk about the mechanism of anxiety and then we’re going to talk about tips throughout our four cornerstones, which is our holistic approach that we like to look at every topic through, which is food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth.
The mechanism of anxiety
Kimberly: 08:36 I’ve always found that looking at things in this more holistic way will always give the best results and will always give us, not just the best results, but I find the sustainable results, the results that aren’t just from a fad diet or doing a 21-day meditation challenge. Although these things can be helpful, what we want to do is we want to really start anchoring into a lifestyle that includes these four cornerstones. As I’ve said before, many times probably, if we don’t pay attention to the cornerstones, what happens is we could hyper-fixate on one or two of them and never really feel our best.
Kimberly: 09:20 So for instance, if we ignore our emotional well-being, our mental health, or we ignore the spiritual part of our life, which I define is greater understanding of ourselves, that could be quiet time, stillness, meditation being in nature, then we tend to fixate on either food or the body cornerstone, which includes exercise or both of them. That is very relevant to our discussion today about anxiety. I think a lot of people are not paying attention to their overall wellness. I know people that are obsessed about food and keep buying more superfoods, and adaptogens, and all these different things. And that can be helpful. That can be great, but that will only take you so far. Then, we have to look at the other parts of our lives, or we will continue to suffer. I’ll get into that more.
Kimberly: 10:20 So, first of all, what happens with anxiety? Okay. So let’s say there’s something that triggers us. It could be a email. It could be an argument with a loved one. It could be watching the news and starting to get into our minds about what’s going to go in the future. Whatever the trigger is, it will activate our autonomic nervous system and our fight-or-flight response. When that is triggered in our body, one of the first things that happens is our breath changes. We tend to become very shallow breathers, there’s physical changes in our body. We can start to feel our heart racing. We can even start to feel like we’re sweating, we’re getting hot, or there’s almost a constriction around our throat like we’re being choked, tightness in our body, just emotions coming up. We start to feel we’re not able to communicate well, or maybe we go straight into a reaction like a screaming, or ignoring, or whatever it is, whatever our go-to is. We can start to observe how our body handles anxiety.
Kimberly: 11:41 So fight-or-flight is actually triggering an actual physical response in our body, a physiological response. It’s based on adrenaline, which is the hormone of fear. We actually had a really interesting full podcast on an adrenaline expert, adrenaline doctor, which we’ll link to in the show notes because that’s also very related to our topic today. So when adrenaline is surging through our body, this hormone, it is signaling to our body that there’s danger. So what it does is it uses up a lot of our energy and our blood supply. So immediately, our digestion is going to be affected. Immediately, different other processes in the body are going to be affected because fear, and anxiety, and adrenaline takes so much, they will take the lion’s share.
Kimberly: 12:28 So ideally, we would come in and out of these stressors. But the problem, again, is if we’re already a certain base level of anxiety, it only will spike, it will only get bigger and bigger because we haven’t fully cleared out the anxiety that was there in the first place. It’s really important to restore balance that our parasympathetic nervous system responds by balancing and shutting off the stress reaction so that we come back into neutral. But however, as research now shows, the sympathetic nervous system can malfunction or can go into overdrive, leaving that person in a state of constant red alert, constant anxiety, there’s a constant level of anxiety there. Again, this continues to wreak havoc on our body, blood pressure can become raised, hormonal imbalance, chemical reactions. It just goes on, and on, and on.
Tips for handling anxiety through the Four Cornerstones
Kimberly: 13:29 So I wanted to paint that picture so you understand how one trigger starts to signal a cascade of responses in your body. So let’s get into our cornerstones now and our tips. The cornerstone that I want to talk about first is body. So when something happens, one of the most effective ways to quell it or to balance it is to get out of your head and to get out of the thought patterns which continually react to that trigger. So again, let’s say it’s a fight, let’s say with a coworker or a loved one, let’s say it’s the news, which can trigger a lot of us. One of the reasons I don’t watch the news very much. Let’s say it’s a deadline for a project, or proposal, or something like that. So the triggers there.
Kimberly: 14:25 So in your mind, you can keep it going by getting down the rabbit hole of, “But, what’s going to happen in three months? What’s going to happen when it gets colder? What am I going to do about this fight? Oh, it was their fault.” Whatever it is, the thoughts can keep going, going, going. So what we want to do is we want to cut off the thoughts. It doesn’t mean that we don’t revisit them when we’re calmer. It doesn’t mean that we don’t take action, but what it means is we need to cut them off so that we can come at it from a calm perspective of equanimity. So, where do we go? We go into the body.
Tip #1: Connecting with your body
Kimberly: 15:02 Remember what I just said, one of the first things that happens when anxiety hits is that our breath pattern changes. So to make sure that we are handling anxiety throughout the day, we need to make sure that our breath is as stable and steady as possible throughout the day because that is a direct indication of how much anxiety has built up in our body. The first thing we do is we go into the body, and we check in right after a trigger but also throughout the day. It’s a very easy thing to do. We check in. This is how I like to check in. We put one hand on our heart. We’re connecting to our deeper, deeper essence. And we put one hand on our belly. Then, just check in. Is the hand that’s on your belly rising and falling when you’re breathing it? If it is not, if you are not doing deep, abdominal breathing, which is the ideal that I want you to get to every day, then you’re breathing more shallowly, and we need to shift your breathing, just as simple as that.
Kimberly: 16:04 So let’s say the trigger just happened. Your heart’s really, really pumping. It’s really up there. Just cut off the thoughts, close your eyes, put your hand on your belly and your hand on your heart, and then just focus completely on your breath. Focus completely. Your complete goal, your only focus right now is to calm down the breathing. So that, again, your breath, your inhales are going down into your belly, and your belly is starting to rise, and you’re starting to feel that full, expansive breathing and the slowness that goes with that. So that’s something that you can start to do. First thing I want you to do is just focus on your breath.
Kimberly: 16:55 If you’re having a hard time, this is a technique that I recently learned. If you’re having a hard time cutting off the thoughts, as you’re starting to focus on your breath, look around your environment or the room, environment if you’re outside, and just name five things. So it could literally be picture frame, tree, quartz crystal, couch, books. This is a way to pull your brain from the emotional centers that keep you charged into the logical part of your brain. So where you cut off, just again, just feeling overly emotional, and you get more into the limbic part of your brain and you’re able to shift your mentality.
Kimberly: 17:48 Now, this is really important because as we know, there’s times where we just feel totally, totally emotional, and there’s parts of our brain where we feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’m calmer now. I can see where the different sides of this, and I can deal with this in a way that feels a lot more responsive versus overly emotional.” When we’re able to understand our brain more, we are able to actually have more control over our lives. So there’s a really great book that came out a couple of years ago, I believe. It’s by Daniel Siegel and it’s called Flipping the Lid. He uses the analogy about our upstairs and downstairs brain and connecting them. So, again, there’s a part of our brain that is rational and will help us look at a situation more calmly, and then there’s a part of our brain that’s extremely emotional. I thought I might’ve said the wrong thing before. The limbic part of our brain is actually related to emotional responses.
Kimberly: 00:48 So what we want to do is pause, get our breathing under control and, like I said, this technique of looking around the room and naming five objects. We have to use our rational brain to do that. So what it does is, it’s just helping to regulate our system so that we’re not just in that part of our brain that’s overly emotional and create so much anxiety. When we start to link our brain with the rational part, then we can start to take a step back and we can talk to ourselves the way that we might talk to one of our friends who’s going through extreme anxiety or there’s something going on with them as well.
Kimberly: 01:28 So, again, just take a pause and we’ll do that podcast at another time. I’m not going to go on that tangent too much, but I think the brain is fascinating. But just know for now that what we want to do is we want to regulate our own brain by first calming down the body. The breath is so important in this regard. Then we want to look around and name five things and come back to some level of rationality.
Tip #2: Foods to help balance your body
Kimberly: 01:53 Next cornerstone is food, and this is something that’s meant to be in place as a lifestyle, as we’ve always talked about food versus something that you eat directly to quell your anxiety in that moment. When you are anxious, you do not want to eat because, as we mentioned before, so much energy and blood flow is tied up with the anxiety and the hormones, and what’s going on around that, that there isn’t much energy or blood flow that’s going to be assigned to digestion. So it’s actually one of the worst times you can eat because you can be sure that there’s going to be indigestion. There’s probably going to be some bloating that happens because the food isn’t going to be digested as well.
Kimberly: 02:40 But what we can do is we can create some strategy around eating in general that’s going to help balance our bodies from an anxiety standpoint. One of the most important nutrients for dealing with anxiety is B vitamins. There’s a couple of great ways that we get B vitamins into our body. Number one is we can eat seaweed, all different seaweeds. It used to be a big part of my diet. I’ve fallen off a little bit, but I want to bring it back in. Bubby loves seaweed. So just think about wakame and aramae and nori wrappers and all these amazing seaweeds. I used to chop them up and put them into salads, which is a really great thing to do. Or you can make simple rolls like I do with Bubby, with just brown rice and avocados. But seaweeds are a great thing to stock in your pantry always.
Kimberly: 03:33 Second thing is continuing to take your SBO probiotics every day. So not only is this introducing good bacterium into your system, which comes from the soil, it’s how our ancestors used to get their healthy probiotics into their guts, but number two, the right mix of bacterium, a healthy gut, also helps to produce B vitamins inside your own body. So another reason that probiotics are so important, the right kind. You can check out mysolluna.com for the probiotics I have created for you and for me, that I take every day, that I highly recommend. They have clinical research behind the strains. They’re able to survive your stomach acid, and they’re based on nature. They’re based on how our ancestors got probiotics, which, when we can look to nature, when we can look to the natural way of acquiring something and rebalancing, I always think that’s the most powerful.
Kimberly: 04:30 Then other than that, you want to make sure that you’re eating foods that have a wide variety of certain minerals and nutrients. You think about nuts as a wonderful category for nutrients like zinc and magnesium. So I’ve gotten really hugely back into walnuts, which I think are wonderful. They have omega-3 fats, which are really great for stress in your brain as well. So they’re also an oily nut, which is really great for your skin as we go into winter.
Kimberly: 05:07 So I’d also say this is a great time of year to eat nuts, seaweed, take your probiotics, and also lots of great vitamin C rich foods like berries and acai that you may use in some of your smoothies. Also, just really healthy, whole carbohydrates like sprouted brown rice, I think are really great. And also tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid and protein, which you can get from almond milk, the Power Protein Smoothie. It’s also in hemp milk. So these are some of the best foods that you want to consistently get into your body to help quell anxiety throughout the day.
Tip #3: Feel our feelings through to completion
Kimberly: 05:56 So our next cornerstone is emotional wellbeing and mental health, and this is throughout the day. Again, we’re talking about throughout the day, not where we let things build and build and build and then every six months we go on a two day yoga retreat, right? We want to consistently handle this. So one of the things that I don’t think people do enough, and I include myself in that, is to feel our feelings through to completion. So what happens is, often, let’s say something creates anxiety, an uncomfortable note, or a thought. And instead of feeling into it, which usually lasts a couple minutes or maybe up to 10 minutes, as Dr. Hawkins says, Dr. David Hawkins, we tend to distract. So maybe that’s when we reach for the candy bar, or that’s when we turn on Netflix, or that’s when we have more wine or a cocktail, or maybe that’s when we pick up our phone and complain to a friend about our other friends.
Kimberly: 07:03 What we want to do is we want to feel that feeling. We want to sit with it until it naturally dissipates. This keeps it from being repressed and suppressed into our body. This keeps us able to process something. It’s like digestion, it goes through us. So, again, it doesn’t get stored. Once we get through the other side of that intense emotion, again, just like we were saying earlier, we can use different parts of our brain to respond to it, to take action or not to take action if there’s no action required. But we have more of a fuller understanding, a much more rational way of looking at it so that it doesn’t accumulate and we deal with what we need to deal with. If there’s nothing to deal with, then we’ve processed that more acute fear and then we can move on with our day and with our life.
Kimberly: 07:52 So I would encourage you to do that throughout the day, is when something comes up, let yourself process it as much as possible. Now, you can also journal throughout the day. I know our days are full and busy and the same thing is for me. So maybe you’re dealing with something with your kids. You can’t deal with it in that moment. But you want to find time throughout the day where you can sit with it and let it come up and let it flow through you. I think that’s really, really, really important.
Tip #4: Mini meditations and how to make space for stillness
Kimberly: 08:22 From a spiritual standpoint, as I mentioned, I define spirituality not as some dogma or anything like that, religious, but it’s more about understanding yourself over time more and more, which I think is really, really important. We understand ourselves more when we can sit with ourselves without any external reference point or any influence or input from the outside world. So what we can do throughout the day, especially if you start to feel anxiety come up or distressing thoughts, is you want to do mini meditations.
Kimberly: 09:03 I actually did an example of a mini meditation over on my Instagram, which is at @ _kimberlysnyder, just a few days ago. So you can easily find it if you want to check it out. It’s a great video where I’m hiding in my garden, actually, because I needed to do a mini meditation. I left hubby with the kids for just a few minutes, just so I could go and recenter myself. I think that’s also really important, is that we don’t just plow through from one thing to the next on our to-do list, but we actually take a moment to center, to breathe, to do that mini meditation.
Kimberly: 09:37 The power of that, it doesn’t take a lot of time, but the power of that can be so amazing and just so impactful that it really makes a huge, huge difference. A huge difference. Sometimes we think it’s the big things like doing a big cleanse or doing a big retreat that makes the difference, but it’s not, guys, it’s the everyday steps. It’s the small, simple steps we do every day that actually make the biggest difference in our lives overall. So think about those mini meditations. Check out that example over on Instagram and, yeah, just start incorporating it into your life.
Kimberly: 10:15 Then other tips I would say is making sure that you have space for stillness, making sure that the TV and the news isn’t blaring on in the background all the time, making sure that you’re not over-scheduling, even though we’re in some level of quarantine depending where you live and where you are. I’m pretty quarantined myself, but there’s still a lot of activity. I’m writing a new book. I have Zoom calls. I’m running Solluna. I’ve got the two babies. But still not over-scheduling your calls and what you’re doing, so that you’re able to create more space to check in with your body and to actually incorporate these tips in the first place.
Kimberly: 10:59 So there you have it, different areas for dealing with anxiety throughout the day. Let me know how you do. I definitely hope that you try some or all of these. You deserve to have a wonderful life that is free from excessively accumulating anxiety. I say excessively because the reality is there’s things that will make us anxious. There’s things that make us feel stressed as we go through life, but we deal with them with love and with presence and with our full strength, which we all have inside of us. Then we keep moving on and we keep growing and evolving.
Kimberly: 11:34 I love you so much. I really want you to feel your best. So thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you for being part of our community. I just want to leave you a quick thought of the week that you can contemplate as we’re ending on our spiritual cornerstone today. This is a quote from the great Rumi, the great poet and mystic who brings so much wisdom even today to our modern world. He writes, “I am not this hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul within.” This is such a poignant quote that really relates to my philosophy of true beauty. Yes, we want to have great hair. Yes, we want to have great skin. There’s nothing wrong with that. Listen, I have a whole skincare line. I talk about hair all the time. But that’s fun. That isn’t who we are. That’s not our self-worth.
Kimberly: 12:25 Our self-worth doesn’t come from the externals. It’s part of us. It gives an indication of our inner health. But our real essence, our real essence is the soul, the uniqueness of who we are. Tapping into that is our source of true beauty, magnetism, glow. Then everything becomes the icing on top. When we connect with that, the ironic part is everything flows better: our skin, our hair. Everything just tends to be healthier and more vibrant because we’re so deeply connected to the essence of who we are. And so all the stress about trying to be someone else starts to go away and then our real power comes forth. So I want you to think about that. Great thought to leave with. I will see you back here on Thursday for our next Q&A podcast. Till then, take great care. I love you very much. I’ll see you on Instagram and on the website, mysolluna.com, where you can find these show notes. Lots of love and see you back here soon.