This week's blog was inspired by our most recent guest on the Spotlight On eWomen Podcast, Aime Hutton. By all medical accounts, Aime shouldn’t be here today. Born 3 months early in 1976, she was given 24 hours to live. That was only the beginning of her struggles as she was severely bullied in school and diagnosed as a slow learner and endured an emotionally abusive relationship. Today, she suffers from high functioning anxiety and
PTSD, but helps other girls overcome similar challenges she faced, so they can grow up with confidence and believing in their power.
The reality is, all of us have faced stress and adversity at one time or another and anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Anxiety effects 40 million adults or 18.1% of our population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment and, anxiety can develop not only from life events, but also other factors including genetics, brain chemistry, and personality.
Regardless of whether you are someone who struggles with anxiety, or are just going through a highly stressful life event, having strong coping skills is paramount to coming out on top and living your best life. After learning Aime’s story on the podcast and how she has dedicated her life work to helping those who struggle with high functioning anxiety and PTSD, we wanted to share 3 of her best tips to coping with stress and anxiety.
When things get too overwhelming, taking a moment to meditate is an excellent way to calm anxiety. Contrary to some beliefs, not all meditation needs to be done on the ground while humming
a long “ ommmmm.” The practice of mindful meditation involves sitting comfortably (anywhere), focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.”
“If you have unproductive worries,” says Dr. Hoge, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. “You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,'” says Dr. Hoge.
Find A Creative Outlet
Studies show that people who indulge their creative interests experience fewer negative emotions and more positive ones, feel less depressed, and even experience lower rates of anxiety and stress. Everything from music to dance to visual art to expressive writing fall within this creative category and is one of Aime’s go-to techniques when working with young girls and their anxiety.
Experts say creativity is not a personality trait that some people are born with and some are not. We are all wired to be creative and to keep learning throughout our lives. It’s never too late to start pursuing creative projects.
Often bottling up fears and frustrations only leads to built-up anxiety. Instead, finding a creative outlet that enables you to express yourself in ways that appeal to
you – you are able to let out some of what frustrates you in a productive, interesting, fun and unique way.
Confide In Someone