How freeing myself of anxiety helped my migraine – 4 Steps that worked

Let food be the medicine

It took me a LONG time to make the link between anxiety and migraine! I only really started to understand about anxiety after I had an accident and got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)!  I think it’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Which comes first, the migraine or the anxiety? I know many of you will be aware that if you are feeling anxious over something it is likely to trigger a migraine, but equally migraines create anxiety. Massively! How often do you worry about been able to attend something, maybe a family gathering 😭 or even just getting the kids to and from school? How often do you have trouble concentrating? 

What I discovered was that by healing my anxiety I felt better about EVERYTHING. And when we are in a happier place feeling relaxed we are far less likely to get a migraine or the severity of it will be greatly reduced.  Here’s how I stopped feeling anxious…

1.     I acknowledged the anxiety

Anxiety is our body’s way of telling us it is afraid. Our body is biochemically programmed to be fearful. 😨 It is ALWAYS trying to keep us safe and so it is programmed to look for threats and protect us from them. I started noticing how I was feeling in different situations. I ACCEPTED that I was anxious! And I acknowledged that anxiety is due to unidentified fear

2.     I became more aware…..What was causing the fear?
The body panics in the moment it feels uncertain as to what action to take to stay safe. Usually, we have no idea why we suddenly feel anxious which makes the experience all the more stressfuland can lead to a panic attack. 
To get a little scientific…what is happening is that we have been triggered (that’s another story), and the Amygdala (the brain’s panic button) is having a tantrum!  What is VERY useful to do when you start to feel anxious is to look around at your environment. 🔎 Really look. Notice. Everything. Look at the buildings, people, colours, smells, everything and ask yourself, ‘where is the threat’? What you are doing here is engaging the Frontal Cortex. You are encouraging the Frontal Cortex to be rational which will calm down the Amygdala and in turn reduce the anxiety.

3.     Breathe
It is so very important when you feel an anxiety attack coming on. Even just a deep sigh will help as it will re-set the Frontal Cortex.  The technique I love to do is to breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose 10 times and on the last breath (in through the mouth) hold the breath for as long as you can. When I do this I kind of drop into a gentle state of dizziness. When it is no longer comfortable release the breath (out through the nose). You should feel immediately better as you have just reset your nervous system.  🧘This technique is even more powerful if at the same time you follow the step above ie, whilst you are breathing look around and acknowledge that there is no actual threat.

4. Jump up and Down

Yes really! When we feel anxious it is because our body is feeling threatened which puts us into fight or flight mode. Our nervous system becomes overloaded with excess energy and that energy has nowhere to go. By jumping up and down we put that energy to use thereby releasing it and completing the trauma cycle. 🦘 (This technique is brilliant when you feel nervous too!) If you are out you can just take yourself off to the bathroom and jump up and down there. If jumping is too physical try shaking instead. 

It is important to remember that we feel anxious because our body feels out of control or unsafe. By following these 4 steps you are sending a very strong message that you have re-gained control allowing the body to feel safe and to relax. 😃I hope you have found this information useful.

Contact me if you would like to hear more about how I can help you resolve your anxiety and migraine.

Love and best wishes,

Jo

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Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper

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