The cycle of being overstressed and becoming ill became too obvious to ignore.
I’d let things build up, hold things inside, not talk to anybody, and pretend I was coping just fine. It always led to me being ill.
My illnesses consistently followed the same pattern, revolving around my throat. It would start with a sore throat, which progressed onto a throat infection (tonsillitis), which caused lots of other physical symptoms (cold sweats, fever, headache, neck ache, nausea, lack of energy) leaving me completely bed bound, normally for weeks at a time.
Not uncommon. I’ve known anxiety sufferers who have spent months at a time in bed. In an effort to protect themselves from the stress they’re trying to bury their bodies completely shut-down.
Some of them recognised their symptoms as being stress / anxiety related, and others lived in denial, like I used to - probably because like me, they saw being ill as a weakness, and didn’t want to face up to the reality that being bed bound was caused by anxiety / stress.
Why can’t I cope with the stress that life throws at me? Everybody else seems to manage it.
(Obviously not true, but that’s what you believe when you’re not feeling great.)
It’s a horrible cycle to be trapped in, but is it breakable. The key to breaking the cycle lies in regaining your balance.
5 Steps to Regain Your BALANCE
When you’re ill it’s your body’s way of telling you something is out of balance.
It could be related to a number of things. Somethings are more obvious than others like dealing with a significant change or trauma, or dealing with extra pressure and expectations at work or home. Whatever the cause, anxiety / stress is at the root.
If you look at The Rebalance Scale™ depression is aided by low energy, and there’s nothing more energy zapping than being ill. Being ill can also increase anxiety, meaning you’re likely to stay in a state of imbalance when you’re not well.
Here are 5 steps that have helped me live a much healthier, balanced life.
Step 1: Accept That Stress & Anxiety are a Healthy Part of Life
Stress and anxiety will always be part of a healthy lifestyle. There’s no point in trying to deny or ignore that fact. The answer to dealing with them better is through acceptance. When you accept them you’ll stop fighting them. You learn to let go. Enabling yourself to let go will give you a sense of freedom and joy. A well deserved detachment from the inevitable stress and anxiety life throws at us. When I admitted to myself that I wasn’t coping well and no longer saw it as a weakness I instantly felt much better. More free.
Step 2: Break the Pattern
The general pattern of being ill is staying in bed and sleeping a lot, which is understandable - when you’re not feeling well the last thing you want to do is be active. If you can, do something that breaks the pattern, even if it’s something you don’t want to do. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Put your headphones in and listen to some calming music. Search ‘zen music’ or ‘meditation music’ on YouTube. Take a bath. Anything that breaks the cycle. You’ll recover much quicker.
Step 3: Focus on Your Future
When you’re anxious, your focus is on anxiety. When you’re ill, your focus is on being ill. Whatever we focus on, we tend to get more of it (law of attraction). That’s why it’s important to focus on the things you want - like getting better and living a healthier, more balanced life. What are you grateful for, right now? What positive things can you look forward to, or create? If you’re struggling to answer these questions that’s your starting point.
Step 4: Eat Well & Exercise
It’s been said a million times, but there’s a reason for that. Healthy minds come with healthy vessels to carry them in. Eat well and exercise to give yourself the best chance of fighting off a potential illness. Drink plenty of fluids. A combo of fresh ginger and lemon is just what the doctor ordered.
Step 5: Have Faith
When you’ve got little energy and you’re feeling depressed, faith is the hardest thing to uphold. But, faith will get you through the toughest times, like when you're stuck in bed and unable to move. Getting better begins with believing you’ll get better. Keep the faith.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & wellbeing.