Anxiety is the biggest bitch I've ever met in my life! That gut wrenching feeling that you've done something wrong, that feeling of guilt like you have to fix something but you don't know what it is, nausea, the need to stay busy at all times so you somehow stop thinking so much. Anxiety is different for everyone but this is what it looks like for me. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized I was literally at the mercy of that bitch named anxiety. I'm referring to anxiety as if it's another person because, well that's what it feels like. Laying down at night and not being able to shut down, thinking so much that you start getting frustrated with yourself then wonder what you're even thinking about, trying to find things to worry about because you know there's something that you need to be worried about.. That is the bitch I'm referring to. Sometimes, she doesn't leave me alone. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is defined as the emotions characterized as feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure (American Psychological Association, 2014). Okay, it doesn't seem that bad by definition, right? Wrong! Anxiety can cause so much stress, lack of sleep, issues with your appetite, problems with relationships, etc. But on the bright side, your house will be clean! In my case, that bitch anxiety can keep me down for days. This is because I'm constantly worried that maybe I said the wrong things, looked the wrong way, didn't pay a bill in time, didn't clean the kitchen properly, etc. You name it, I'll find a way to worry about it. Funny enough, it wasn't until my pregnancy that I began to try ways to combat my anxiety. I wanted to do my best to stay as healthy as I could even though I was under an enormous amount of stress. Now, I am not opposed to Western medicine at all. However, I'm not a fan of taking medication to relieve anxiety. I tried it once (not during my pregnancy) and it made my anxiety worse! I was fine while the medication worked but as soon as it wore off my anxiety was triple times worse than before I took the medication. We all suffer with some form of anxiety. Some people, worse than others! I want to share some ways that help relieve my anxiety more naturally than medications. Everyone has heard of breathing exercises, right? I know it sounds silly but trust me it works! Breathing exercises work best for me during the night when I need to sleep but can't shut down or when I have something on my mind that I would rather not be thinking about. Here's the trick. You focus solely on your breathing and that is it! It can be difficult to do that when your mind is running rapid with thoughts of God knows what but try it! Breathe in through your nose and count to 7, hold your breath in for 4 seconds then breathe out through your mouth slowly. Sometimes I think of it as breathing in those annoying thought's I am having and breathing them out as if I am just getting rid of them! I know, I know it's sounds silly. Try it now and see how it feels for you! Now another great way for me to relieve my anxiety is walking. I could walk for miles, literally. I just take in the scenery and allow myself to feel small in such a big world. Sometimes I even do the breathing exercises as I'm walking. Allowing myself to feel small means that the issues I am constantly thinking about are small as well and don't deserve so much attention from me. I love nature so this method really works for me and for long periods of time. Not to mention, walking is great exercises. If you're a reader this next method will work for you. I love to read books about self-care and lifting up your spirits. Some great reads include The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle, Unf*ck Yourself written by Gary John Bishop and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. The Power of Now is a bit spiritual so if you are a spiritual person this is a great book to read. My most favorite book of sorts is called Tiny Buddha's worry journal by Lori Deschene. Now this is not a book to read, it's a book to fill out. It's a journal that help's let go of anxiety and find peace. It includes doodle pages, recognizing what you are so worried about and letting go of things that are not so important. I write in this journal frequently. Another way to get rid of that bitch anxiety is by meditation using the app "calm." It's a great app that teaches you how to meditate, when to meditate and the best background noise to use while meditating. I didn't start doing meditation until I became pregnant with Johanna but I'm telling you it's such a powerful tool to use. I try to meditate a few times a week while Johanna is napping. If you have never done it before, you absolutely should. It creates a sense of calmness all around you even when things are in shambles. For first timers, I recommend using the app to get started. After awhile, you'll be able to meditate on your own. It requires a lot of concentration but after 2 weeks your brain will be trained to focus. I know it seems like I do a lot of things to combat anxiety, but that's because I do! You may not need to do all of these exercises but you may need to and that's okay! You're not alone. Anxiety is seriously such a bitch and it doesn't go away on it's own. It can be built up to the point where we literally break down and that's ugly for anyone! If you do suffer from extreme anxiety, I want you to know that you're not alone and just by continuing to go one everyday, YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB! I hope you try some of these exercises that I use and I hope they help for you! I'd love to hear about your anxiety and what you do to make that bitch leave you the hell alone!