Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, I'm someone with anxiety trying to find creative ways of managing and channeling it. Hopefully my experiences can help yours, and professional help is absolutely something that you should seek if you need it.
As the daughter of a medical professional, my mom - my go-to person for anxiety issues - used to ask me to rank my anxiety on a scale of 1 -10, 1 being the calmest level and 10 being the FREAKING THE EFF OUT level. (She’s since stopped asking me to rank my anxiety, because I give her regular, unsolicited updates.)
Over the years, I’ve learned to rank my anxiety in my head to see what kind of action I should take, and I slowly started sorting out what works for me. I even made a little chart! This - or a variation of it - might just work for you too!
Levels 1- 2:
At this level, you may be calm, but are you you challenging yourself enough? If you're always here, I really believe you're missing out on opportunities to grow.
Levels 3 - 4:
You’re out of your comfort zone, but still managing well. This is actually the optimum level of anxiety, even though it gets uncomfortable here. You may have a little less peace overall, but you’ve got yourself a ton of productive motivation if you can channel it correctly! This space is when I get the most work done - I start to channel the anxiety here.
Levels 5 - 6:
At this point, you’re definitely uncomfortable, and it doesn’t feel good. Drop what you’re doing and take preventative action right here before it gets any worse. Cut yourself some slack, and focus on feel-good activities - even if you don’t feel like you deserve them. I usually take a totally natural tryptophan right about here.
Here is also where I drop work and take an epsom salt bath, accompanied by some especially deep breaths and mantras. (I clearly work from home.) I usually try to talk myself out of a bath though, because I don’t feel like I have the time and I need to do something else - but I know that that’s just the anxiety talking.
Epsom salt baths might not work for you, (and they’re such good detoxs, by the way), so here is where you try out all of those anxiety tips that Pinterest talks about: yoga, meditation, tea - whatever works - try it!
Levels 7 - 8:
By now, you’re struggling to maintain your daily lifestyle, and you need to 100% focus on decreasing your anxiety and mental stress. Whatever methods you can think of and usually do - do them them here - ASAP. You definitely don’t want this to spiral into a full-blown panic attack.
Levels 9 - 10:
FREAKING THE EFF OUT level. People around you are scared and more than concerned for you, (usually), and you’ve somehow spiraled into a full-on panic attack. Not the kind that non-anxious people say that they’re having when they break up with their boyfriend - the kind that makes you think that you might be having a heart attack and leaves you with a ‘panic attack hangover’ the next day.
Also - I’m not sure if you’ve heard of EFT, or tapping, but it is EXTREMELY HELPFUL for me. You might even be able to take your anxiety from a 9 to a 6 after a 10 minute session, (though you might have to go back and do it all over again immediately).
I can happily say that I haven’t reached levels 9 - 10 since about 5 years or so, THANK GOODNESS. I’ve actually never taken over-the-counter meds regularly for my anxiety, (I’m afraid of being zombie-fied), but I have to be honest - only a few things have worked for me once my anxiety reaches a 9 or 10: Xanax, sleeping medication, and EFT/tapping.
The goal is obviously to avoid super dangerous drugs like Xanax, so you want to take preventative action before your anxiety gets to that point. BUT IF IT DOES GET TO THAT POINT - take advantage of modern-day advances and try to drop any guilt surrounding it.
Once your anxiety reaches a completely unmanageable point, thanks to modern medicine, we have the options available to immediately take action and help ourselves
You could liken it to taking antibiotics when you’re sick - if you’ve already tried the lemon tea, the Airbourne, the coconut oil gargle, and all of the other non-drug remedies that could think of and you’re still getting sicker - it’s lookin’ like your best bet is antibiotics, even though it may destroy your immune system in the process.
Lena Dunham actually made a statement earlier this year that totally embodies my thoughts on anti-anxiety medication -
“Lately I’ve been noticing that nearly every pop cultural image we see of a woman on psychiatric medication is that of an out-of-control, exhausting and exhausted girl who needs help,” Dunham wrote on Instagram last year. “But guess what? Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves.”
“….When you have anxiety and then you have shame about your anxiety, you’re punishing yourself twice,” she explained.”
So, after being prescribed Zoloft and refusing to take it, (have you read about what a nightmare it is for some people?!) I wanted to find other ways to manage my anxiety.
But then I learned that I didn’t need to ‘manage’ my anxiety at all. It’s not an employee of mine, it can be a friend!
What I noticed is that myself and others like me were occasionally channeling anxiety into creativity. In fact, a lot of artists and innovative people do it - but the process had never been systemized. Why can’t channeling anxiety into creativity to be systemized?
There’s actually no reason why it can't be - in fact - I just systemized it.
I created an Evergray eCourse called ‘Channeling Your Anxiety into Creativity’. It’s sizable and interactive, and I made a free, mini email course version of it covering the same concepts so that everyone can get in on the action, or just taste it before they go all in. (That means you!)
These concepts include explaining the theory behind channeling anxiety, giving you the knowledge base necessary to start channeling, and understanding exactly how you'll channel anxiety - all while doling out some refreshing tidbits along the way.
To grab the CHANNELING ANXIETY FOR CREATIVES: The 3-Part Mini Email Course, type in those letters below, and it’ll slide into that inbox right here, right now!