Ask the Expert: How to Reduce Anxiety + Be Happy Every Day During the Coronavirus Crisis
We are all processing the current coronavirus differently, but fear and anxiety are common during times of unprecedented uncertainty. Tasha Mayberry, Positive Living Author; Business Coach; and Editor-in-Chief of Best in Baby Biz & Kids Magazine, shares tips on how to reduce anxiety, get yourself out of a panic attack, and how to start each day on a happy and healthy note.
Tasha is not a doctor and is sharing tips that have worked for her personally and for others she has shared with.
QUESTION: Have you felt any anxiety during the coronavirus crisis and how did you deal with it?
ANSWER: Yes, a couple weeks ago I actually had a panic / anxiety attack two nights in a row. This was unusual for me because for 10 years I have been symptom-free without using medication (I will share more on how I do this), so when I had the anxiety attack I knew it was from the current pandemic. In both instances, I was watching a lot of news about the crisis and it triggered an attack. So here’s what I do to pull myself out of a panic attack or anxiety attack. For those who are unfamiliar with this it can feel different for many people but for me it feels like a blanket of fear comes over you, your breath becomes shorter, I have a strange feeling in my arm and side of my neck, and I start to shiver like I am really cold.
I was able to pull myself out of it within minutes and here’s how:
- First, you recognize what is happening and know that you are not dying, or having a stroke or heart attack. These thoughts are common during a panic attack because your body is in the fight or flight response. Say to yourself, “I am having a panic attack (or I am having anxiety) and I will be okay. I am in control.”
- Next breathe deeply – 10 seconds in and 10 seconds out. Do this a few times.
- Next drink one full glass of water. As you drink the water say to yourself, “By the time I am done drinking this water, I will start to feel better.”
- Next, I eat one or two spoons of honey. For some reason the sugar from the honey always helps me.
- Next, verbally tell a “safe” person that you are having anxiety or having a panic attack. I tell my husband or my mom, “I’m having anxiety right now, but I will be okay. I am coming out of it.” As soon as I verbalize it to another person I start to feel safe and my body changes. I start to feel better.
- I also try to occupy my mind so I start cooking dinner for example or watching a favorite show (low anxiety show).
- If I am shivering, I wrap myself in a big blanket tightly while I do all the steps above.
- If I still need help coming out of it, I watch this 5 minute remote healing video. It’s an amazing video – we use it in our family to heal toothaches, stomachaches and even the flu.
- After I have come out of the anxiety fully, here’s the important step. I reflect back on what may have triggered the attack so I can avoid that in the future. For me on both occasions recently it was watching too much doom and gloom news about the virus. So I have stopped watching the news. I get tidbits here and there, but no more than a couple minutes a day. My husband keeps me updated on important news and I do get news from our local city Facebook group. Of course it’s important to stay informed, but too much news can really instill more fear in us. I follow this as a rule overall actually.
QUESTION: How did you prevent anxiety for so many years without medication?
ANSWER: We are all in control of our bodies and even our health. It all starts with our thoughts and deep inner voice / beliefs. I knew that I did not want to take medication. For those who do, that’s great if it works for you. For me, I wanted to conquer this in a more holistic way. So I started with grateful intentions.
Each day I go through my gratitude list first thing in the morning and again after a workout when my body is full of high frequency energy. I said and say every day, “I am so grateful to be anxiety-symptom free.” Grateful intentions are things you are grateful for but have not happened yet. Feeling the emotions as if something has already happened makes that particular thing happen faster. It’s all part of the Law of Attraction which is really the science of Quantum Physics – like attracts like.
NOTE: be careful not to say things like not or no ” I am grateful for no anxiety” because the law of attraction does not interpret no or not so you are really saying “I am grateful for anxiety.”
When you feel as if something already happened and say it often enough, something miraculous happens. Our brains create new neural pathways that change our habits, emotions, even our health.
So that was my first step.
Next, I exercised. Exercise is the best way to feel happy and ease anxiety naturally.
Now is the perfect time to play with your kids in the yard, ride bikes, and check out local hiking trails (just make sure to stay away from others during social distancing). You can even do a 10 minute work out video on Youtube for free. I like the shorter videos because my 4 year old can follow along with me.
Next, clean eating and water. For me caffeine increased my anxiety so I stopped drinking coffee. I do enjoy green tea occasionally or Black Tea when we travel to my in-law’s in Europe – black tea with sugar and lemon is part of every meal over there. I bring my stevia to make it healthier. Drinking water is the single most important change you can make that has life-altering effects on your body. This started for me when I was pregnant. I got a tip to drink 100 ounces of water a day and I did just that. My pregnancy was smooth, the delivery went well, and I had a healthy baby boy. After this, I continued drinking half my body weight in ounces a day. Drink water at room temperature. Easier to digest and easier to drink bigger quantities
Eating clean also has made a big impact on my life. Three years ago I went paleo and never looked back. Paleo removes gluten, refined sugar, dairy, processed foods, and alcohol (small amounts okay). Sounds like a lot to remove but I don’t think about what I CHOOSE not to eat. I focus on what I CAN eat, which is a ton! Things like:
- Runny egg on Schar Bread (gluten free and divine!) with avocado mash.
- Fish tacos with cabbage slaw and avocado cream and salsa on a corn tortilla.
- Sweet potato fries with turkey burger on a lettuce bun (I even make this amazing cashew cheese sauce!)
- Mini turkey meatloafs, whipped potatoes, and salad.
- Sweet potato and zucchini fritters with plain greek yogurt or agave ketchup.
- Chicken meatballs with chickpea pasta and agave based marinara sauce.
- Brownies and chocolate cupcakes.
Plus so much more. Every recipe you love can be altered with different ingredients to be paleo-friendly.
I created a free Total Body Reset Challenge – I used this plan to lose 40 lbs after having a baby so I wanted to share with other women to help.
The last step that helped me heal my anxiety without using medication is meditation. This is part of my morning routine and only takes 10 minutes.
Here are my go-to meditations:
- Reiki Money Blocks Healing Meditation by Blended Insight (This one is my all-time favorite and I use it not just for attracting more money. The music is the most beautiful I have ever heard. Very powerful.)
- Attract Money with Law of Attraction by Magical Meditations
- Reiki Triangle Meditation for Setting Your Intention + Manifestation by MinuvidaTV
- Remote Energy Healing by dinparadise (My family uses this for everything from calming anxiety – took my panic attack away within minutes, when my son gets a runny nose he will listen, when we had the flu, or just anytime you want to get in a positive mind frame.)
QUESTION: Do you have any tips on how to meditate?
ANSWER: There’s no right or wrong way to meditate but there are some ways to get more out of it:
- Meditate while you are alone and it’s quiet. Use earbuds so you can more carefully listen and tune out background noise. Meditate in the morning to start your day off in a positive tone.
- Choose a comfortable spot. I actually sit in my chair at my desk but others sit on the floor or lay down even. Whatever works for you.
- Turn the lights off in the room and draw the shades so there’s no bright light.
- Focus on your breathing and tune out all thoughts. One way to do this is to take your attention from outside your body to the inside of your body. Feel any sensations inside your body and focus on this. Another tip I got was to breathe and focus on your nostrils. If a thought creeps in, that’s okay just let it go right away.
- Now here’s the important part. Everything in this world is energy so when we meditate we are aligning with positive energy. Imagine a bright healing light beam entering through the top of your head and going down – filling up every part of your body…every cell. And imagine dark clouds leaving your body – this is all the negative, stale energy or even sickness or toxins in your body. My friend, Karen, over at the ZENERGY Center is a Reiki Master IIII and she recommends imagining grey smoke leaving your body. The more vivid you can imagine the better.
- Next I ground myself to the Earth’s core. For me I imagine a natural tree branch binding my feet together and then shooting down through the floor, the ground and going to the Earth’s hot core and binding the other end to the core. Like I am tethered to Earth’s energy center.
- If you are just starting out just have an open mind and listen to guided meditations. You can start to incorporate some of the more advanced meditation techniques mentioned above for quicker and bigger results.
QUESTION: What is your morning routine to start each day happy and healthy?
ANSWER: How we start our day is the most important decision you can make and it directly impacts your happiness, health, and even how your day will go. I detailed my morning routine in this article I wrote for Baby-Chick.com – How to Start Each Day with a Positive Tone, but I will summarize the tips here too.
My morning starts the night before actually. I write down five things I am grateful for in my gratitude journal and I include grateful intentions – things that have not happened yet. So the very last thing I am thinking about before sleep is gratitude.
First, as my feet hit the floor getting out of bed, I think, “I am so grateful for another day in this life.” Then I read over the five things I wrote the night before in my gratitude journal.
I NEVER reach for my phone, no emails, no texts, no news, no social media.
By doing this, we are allowing external factors out of our control to dictate our morning emotions. How we feel is how our day goes.
As I brush my teeth I go over my gratitude list:
I am so grateful for . . .
- my healthy and strong son.
- my happy, loving and respectful marriage.
- our beautiful house.
- our new car.
- my family.
- a strong immune system.
- my family and I are healthy.
- to positively affect other people’s lives.
- I made $2500 in sales today (this is an example of one of my grateful intentions).
- we remodeled our kitchen (this is another grateful intention of mine).
Next, I go downstairs and drink 1-2 glasses of water. This is VERY IMPORTANT. This jumpstarts our bodies after having nothing to drink for 7-8 hours.
I then take an apple cider vinegar shot (I mix in a shot glass, half apple cider vinegar — make sure it says “With the Mother”, and 1/4 tsp of turmeric, and couple squirts of honey. Mix well and drink. Have water ready to chase it). The benefits of apple cider vinegar are amazing.
Next, I get moving for at least 10 minutes. Stretching first and then maybe a 10 minute abs workout video, or some exercises I do on my own for 10 minutes. Meditation works better when our bodies are awake and energy is flowing.
I then meditate for 8-10 minutes using a guided meditation on YouTube.
Lastly, I have a smoothie and my 4 year old loves these too. Here’s one of the recipes we use – it’s from the blog juiceboxes + TEQUILA: Immune Boosting Yummy Kids Smoothie Recipe
After this I am ready to work – I start with outlining my work tasks and then I work on a project that is important (so still no emails just yet – I do this around 9:30 AM)! I let my 4 year old wake up on his own because this boosts kids’ immune systems. Usually by 8:30 AM or 9 AM so I do my routine while the house is still quiet around 7 AM.
Social media I usually jump on after lunch and the news — well, I have given up watching the news. My husband fills me in on important local news I need to know about.
QUESTION: How else can we boost our happiness during these uncertain times?
ANSWER: Starting your morning off right is the most important step you can take to boost your happiness and have a productive, anxiety-free day, but here are some other things I do to keep the happiness boost all day:
- Drink lots of water as mentioned before.
- Technology-free family time (especially important now while we are teaching our kids at home) – so we will step away from phones, work, and social media and just be together as a family. We play scavenger hunts, UNO, learning worksheets and games, and other play activities. Giving your spouse and kids undivided attention makes everyone happy. Kids behave much better too with just a few minutes of getting down on the floor and playing with them.
- Me time – even if this is just 10-15 minutes twice a day. This means alone time doing something for you. Reading a book, taking an Epsom bath soak after dinner, watching a favorite show, enjoying a cup of tea on the deck, even taking a shower (it’s funny how showers are so sacred after having kids!)
- Random Acts of Kindness – every day do at least one random act of kindness. Ask yourself, who will I surprise today? This could mean leaving kindness rocks you painted with the kids at neighbors’ doors, or sending a nice text to a friend, picking up the phone and calling a loved one, creating a DIY card for Grammie, paying for the person behind you, leaving the change at the self-checkout getting groceries with a note: “This is for you. I’m paying it forward.” Well leave more than change – I leave $5 or so but you can do more. I also love sending books to friends to surprise them.
- Nature – nature is so beautiful and is the one constant thing during the crisis. We are rediscovering our backyards and hiking trails are so fabulous. Getting outside at least once a day for 30 minutes will help boost your happiness. Plus, Vitamin D is excellent for your immune system!
QUESTION: Where can we connect with you?
ANSWER: You can connect with me @tlynn2212 on Instagram and through my magazine @Bibbmagazine on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for the opportunity to share these tips! Our past magazine issues can be found at www.bestinbabybiz.com/past-issues