This Just In: Let’s Talk About Anxiety

I was an anxious kid. Nothing was diagnosed, but I would worry about things outside my control. Nothing in particular, just the possibility of something happening.

My anxiety was manageable for the majority of my life. Then I began working with teenagers. Fifteen years taking kids on trips, some of them overseas, heightened my anxiety, and I finally resorted to taking medication. This was a factor in my decision to step down from that role earlier this year.

In January, I was in a car accident. Carla and I were rear-ended while sitting at a red light. Thanks to coronavirus, I don’t drive much these days. When I do, I anxiously watch my rearview mirror at red lights, wondering if the car coming behind me will stop in time.

These examples are on top of the other, many things that bring on anxiety. Let’s not forget it’s 2020, and just about everything is out of control. Hurricanes. Coronavirus. Elections. It’s a lot.

My anxiety is plagued by things I cannot control. I’m an INTJ, Type One, green, logical thinker. Rationally, I know these things are beyond my control, so there is no sense in worrying. Yet, somewhere deep in the wiring of my brain, there’s a voice that says, “ You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Anxiety is all about irrational uncertainty. Our brain is convincing us we’re in constant danger even when we’re not.

I know many people face far more severe anxiety than I do. I don’t claim to be an expert in managing anxiety ( far from it) but I have a few ways beyond medication that help me cope. If you, too, are experiencing heightened anxiety, maybe these tools can help. If you have your own mechanisms, I’d love to hear about them.

Calm Gummies or Powder

Last summer Carla and I began working out with a trainer. Not only did it help get us both in shape, but our trainer was also full of advice to relieve anxiety. She recommended trying Calm Gummies every day, and I’ve been taking them or the powder drink mix everyday sense.

Calm is a brand of magnesium supplements. Combatting magnesium deficiencies is a way to help naturally reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Taking the daily supplement doesn’t hurt and, I can honestly say I sleep better as a result.

Video Games

I’ve been playing a lot of video games lately. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I gave up Tomb Raider and got back into No Man’s Sky. There’s something satisfying about flying around a desolate galaxy, building settlements, and exploring planets.

Though, games on my phone like Good Sudoku and Hole Down provide the right level of brain engagement while distracting from the things I cannot control. I never liked Sudoku, mainly because I couldn’t figure it out. I’m still not great, but I am getting better and can ( almost) complete the tricky puzzles without hints.

Over Eating

This isn’t really great for my overall health, but eating terrible-for-me comfort food does wonders for my mental health. Taking out from local restaurants make messy tacos, or ordering deep dish pizza from Chicago. These are great ways to provide positive endorphins that counteract the nerves.

A new season of The Chef Show released on Netflix this week. As a result, I tired the replicate the decadent grilled cheese sandwiches. My waistline isn’t happy, but my tastebuds and brain sure are.

As we move closer to the end of 2020, anxiety levels are higher than ever. I know things will get better. Eventually. I am managing my anxiety, and I hope you find ways to manage yours. You’ve got this, friend.

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