The word 'anxiety' is perhaps thrown around a little too loosely these days. But one in every seven women, suffer from this mental health condition in India. Anxiety is a feeling most of us are familiar with: your heart beats a mile a minute, your mind starts racing. You get butterflies in your stomach, and your knees go weak. Maybe you feel it during a particularly turbulent flight or before a big public speech. Now imagine that anxious feeling all day, for no reason – that is what it is to live with anxiety.
My Story of Fears and Worries
I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 21, but I have experienced anxiety for as long as I can remember. I never learnt how to cycle for fear of falling and breaking my bones. I always envisioned my car crashing into a signal or a lamppost every time it rained. I could not sit peacefully on a flight for fear of it crashing.
The Many Manifestations of Anxiety
On a good day, the anxiety manifests itself by thoughts of worst-case scenarios for situations: What if I get stuck in traffic, and I am late for work? What if I forgot my wallet in the rikshaw and I can't buy lunch? Is my hubby mad at me because I was late to reply to his texts? What happens when I join a new organisation, and no one talks to me?
On a stressful day, my anxiety is both mental and physical. Often, it feels like I am a prisoner trapped in my mind.
Tackling Anxiety with Meditation
As I grew older, my anxiety seemingly started getting worse. However, I have been more proactive about tackling my anxiety. Rather than letting fear take on my life, I take a few steps to calm my nerves.
I met a psychiatrist who prescribed mood stabilisers to treat my anxiety. But, I thought, maybe I could try an alternative therapy before I resort to drugs. I enrolled myself in Sri Sri yoga and meditation workshop. I cannot tell you the kind of calm I feel after a week's practice. The practice brought me into the present moment. It directed my mind and body to become more aware of the surrounding environment. With every exhale, I could feel my worries go away. That said, meditation is not a magic elixir. I continue with the practice to feel a little better each day.
Now I have better days, which is a sign of progress. I know anxiety is something I will have to live with forever, but I am committed to continue working on my mental health for a calmer and more balanced life.
Note: These tips should not be a substitute for any medical advice. These symptoms will help you identify anxiety. If you feel that you are suffering from this condition, speak to a doctor and/or visit a mental health specialist.