Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness, Movement, and Music | Daniel’s Story


About Daniel:

I am a first-generation Nigerian-American born in Chicago, IL with a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and currently a Wellness Coach. I am also co- founder of The Abstract a resource for fine tuning resiliency and coping skills in the face of chronic conditions.

WHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM ANXIETY?

My major pivot happened after I decided to find alternatives for coping that didn’t involve pharmacuetical medication due to my antidepressants causing more harm than good, including worsening my anxiety and leaving me feeling both exhausted and unmotivated.

My search led me to mindfulness and meditation. I’ve never had an issue with silence or stillness, and this was likely why meditation resonated with me. As soon as I tried it, it immediately helped me listen to my body. Mindfulness came up in ALL of the texts that spoke about meditation, and this led to me making a mindfulness journal. Mindfulness journaling really changed how I view myself and the world, how I talk to myself and others, and helped me become more accepting and compassionate, all of which dismantled the power that anxiety had over me.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

Meditation

  • The stillness in meditation helped me with not being too attached to my emotions. It gave me the chance to step back, observe them, and begin the process of understanding what my emotions are trying to tell me.

Movement:

  • Moving my body lets me physically release my anxiety. I made it an intention to play basketball, soccer, or dance on a daily basis because the combo of being in “the zone,” (flow state), cardio (breathwork), and playfulness (embracing my inner child) all helped me feel capable rather than anxious.
    *FYI: Everything in parentheses is a coping mechanism taught in therapy!*

Music

  • Music sets or kills the mood, it lifts or lowers and relaxes my energy, depending on what I listen to. Incorporating it into my routines has helped my routines feel exciting, makes my life feel cinematic, and resonates my soul.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING ANXIETY?

Incorporate these four pillars into your daily life to release the power that anxiety has over you:

1. Laugh with yourself

  • Seek out things that make you laugh, so you can replace anxious thoughts with funny ones. A sense of humor can make stressful moments feel much lighter.

2. Eat water

  • Your diet has a major impact on how you feel, so eat things that have high levels of water in them (i.e. melons, cucumber, spinach, kiwi, berries, apples, peaches). Think of water as a lube for your insides (including your brain), everything flows and is released efficiently the more water you consume on a daily basis.

3. Let it out

  • Holding onto anxiety is just as bad as avoiding anxiety-provoking things. Journal about how you feel, talk to other people about anxiety, and notice how you are neither alone or powerless in this struggle.

4. Plan for the worst case scenario

  • Sometimes anxiety convinces us that everything will crash and burn, so prepare for this scenario! That way you are not only prepared, but you can also see that not everything is as bad as your mind can make it seem.

– Daniel Ikejimba, San Antonio, Texas, USA @daniel.ikejimba





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