Anxiety is not new to any of us. Overthinking, night-time anxiety and racing thoughts, all seem to be permanent accompaniments in our lives now. The lock-down has indeed add fuel to fire in the case of stress and anxiety. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend, who literally is, ‘saath samundar par”! We realised that besides everything else that we have in common, racing thoughts and rapid heartbeat is something, we have in common too. We compared our symptoms of anxiety and did have a good laugh over it. On a serious note, these symptoms and conditions can worsen if not tapped on, at the right moment. My spouse and I often discuss about keeping ourselves calm and look at ways to improve our emotional and mental health.
Firstly, racing thoughts are not just connected to anxiety. They could be underlying symptoms to various health conditions such as, thyroid, bipolar disorder, arrhythmia and even OCD for that matter! However, what condition is causing you to experience racing thoughts and discomfort can be best examined by a medical practionar.
I decided to seek help from my doctor and spoke to her about my symptoms and she concluded that these racing thoughts and some patterns of rapid heartbeat, related to anxiety. To further identify this condition, she asked me about the following details
- Sleep Pattern
- Adequate Sleep.
- Frequency of these thoughts
- Any specific pattern of thoughts
Once, I had answered these questions for her, we narrowed down the results to draw a conclusion.
My racing thoughts had no particular pattern, except that, they were at an all time high when I tried to take a nap. She also checked for any changes I had made to my diet as sometimes certain foods increase or decrease your anxiety or make you feel more lethargic. I did confess to her that the lockdown has made me neglect my intake of food on certain days and the habit of being an emotional eater was on the rise.
Here are a few things I have being trying for a week now and they have definitely seemed to help me tackle my condition. The racing thoughts have not disappeared but they are lesser than before. I find it easier to divert my attention to something more constructive and less worrisome.
Initially when the frequency of my racing thoughts increased, I began panicking on the sudden change in my moods and health. Eventually, I realized that the situation was not withing my control and worrying over what was happening was simple aggravating it. Hence, I accepted that these thoughts are coming to me and I had to simple tackle them. Some of these thoughts were not even relevant or needed no action, hence I began filtering them. It is a slow process but I am getting there. Also just like Sameera Reddy said in her recent Instagram video, we will get there.
I decided that keeping my condition to myself is not going to help because it wasn’t helping. So I began speaking about it to my friends and family. The spouse’s ears have probably turned sore by now but we aren’t complaining. I also began writing down my thoughts to understand their pattern and get more clarity. Writing began giving me solace and helped me when I was at the battlefield with stress and anxiety.
Meditation and Exercise
I have often read and also been told that one must pick an exercise pattern that suits them. Hence, without being overwhelmed by the HIIT routines that others were following, I decided to practice meditation, breathing exercises and yoga which has helped me to a great extent.
Drawing and Doodling
I have always loved to scribble, draw and doodle. I have started relying heavily on Pinterest to help me doodle. All these Zentangle, mandala and random doodles have helped me calm my forever twitching nerves. Also listening to some music while I am doing so helps too.
I wonder, why I didn’t put this point first? May be, you can blame it on my not so structured thoughts process. 😊 😊 Activities like cooking, painting, dancing or writing can help you calm your nerves however it also needs medical attention. Racing thoughts could be related to other conditions too, hence it’s imperative to take medication as advised by your doctor. In my case, I was just given a simple non-addictive anti-anxiety pill. Also, I was asked to regulate my sleep pattern.
The ill effects of too much social media and screen-time has to be re-iterated again to me.
You diet, sleep cycle, any previous health condition could affect it too. Racing thoughts can even every individual differently and the underlying reasons could differ too. It is best to speak about it and seek help.