A Guide to Exploring Anxiety.




This three part series is an in-depth exploration of anxiety and the possible reasons you may feel anxious. Every single one I have been through demonstrating how deeply engrained anxiety was throughout my life. I was crippled by anxiety – it ruled my mind, body and life. Through patience, anxiety became my friend (even though it feels horrible at times). I now believe that anxiety can be a warning signal that something is off-balance and depending on how we view it, an opportunity to dig deep and discover why. I have learned to appreciate how collectively my body, mind and spirit are dedicated to helping me live a healthy life. My friend, anxiety – reflects back to me through body signals, mental chatter and other symptoms – that I need to pay attention to.

And when we view anxiety like this – it’s life-changing.

By listening, and tuning in it has resulted in healthier living, a deeper understanding of self and freedom from beliefs that used to hinder my life. So, I wanted to create this exploration of anxiety for you as it may be useful in your journey of wellbeing, healing and self-awareness. The uneasy feeling of anxiety may be a request from your inner being to create a healthy life and explore the unknowns of yourself. By doing so you may discover habits, beliefs, or contributing factors that are causing the current of discomfort.

A Guide To Exploring Anxiety

how to improve the quality of your sleep (1)

Part One: Introduction to exploring anxiety

Part Two: Body, Mind and Spirit

Part Three: Environment, Work, Relationships and You.


Before we dive in, let’s talk about the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle and why this will assist in your exploration of anxiety. There’s a lot of information in this series. By starting off with this introduction, it’ll set the stage for later topics.

Why you need to create a healthy lifestyle

By creating a healthy lifestyle with practices that lead to calmer living, it will prepare you for the bigger questions and the more, uncomfortable aspects of oneself that need to be faced in order to heal, transform, or – simply understand. Self-exploration is part of the journey of becoming free from long-term anxiety or at least, being able to manage it more efficiently. I have not offered you solutions to calm yourself just in the moment. I have carefully and considerately put together a collection of reasons why you may get anxiety on a surface level and on a deeper level.

In this day and age, quick fixes and fast solutions are deeply engrained into every corner of health, fitness and spirituality. However, we all know that the best things in life come from time and commitment – not always immediately (hardly ever actually). We also know that the most challenging quests in life come with ups and downs. They are imperfect, messy, and there are bound to be plenty of times when we stumble. It’s all part of the transformation, growth and healing. It is also a necessary aspect that must be played out if we are to get to the root of our troubles, and that uneasy anxious current that exists in our lives.

Indulge yourself on a quest to create practices that prepare you and build you – first. Think of it this way. We don’t build a house on sand, we lay a foundation first – and then build it. Why? A house built on sand will sink or a storm may cause it to fall – as it lacks a foundation.

A house built on a strong foundation (unlike sand) is more likely to withstand time, the weather, and adversity. At worst, if a storm hits the home, the strong foundation will remain.

You are the foundation.

The life you build, your career, your relationships, the stuff you have – are the house. But too often we build our lives on those external things and forget ourselvesthe most important part of building a life – us.

Anxiety can be a beast when we have no foundation. That is why it is important to create a healthy lifestyle that allows you to feel calmer in your mind and life regularly. It is about understanding all the corners of yourself, your spirit, and your mind. Your body must also be taken care of. A strong fit healthy body that is well nourished will protect you in times of stress, and imbalance.

More importantly, when things get tough, a hardship occurs or you’re rattled to the core you may feel anxious in the moment but you will have a solid foundation to fall back on.


The lifestyle you built with practices you have committed to that lead you straight back to being grounded. And knowing what to do. When the emotions die down, you will feel you are okay no matter what. You will remember who you are, what you stand for, and that you can withstand the storms.

You will view anxiety differently. And that will make all the difference.

Because life is never going to be smooth sailing all the time.

How to approach this series

This is not a cure. It is a guide, an invitation to go on a quest and encourage you to ask questions to healthily review habits, thoughts and lifestyle choices that can contribute to being anxious. Anxiety is a complex phenomenon. In psychological science, there are forms of anxiety that are considered a disorder. And while I don’t disagree, there are things we still don’t understand about the human mind, body and brain so it is not always as straightforward as a disorder. I believe there are many reasons why we are visited by anxiety. Do I think we will never ever experience anxiety again if we create a healthy lifestyle? No. But I do believe we won’t be as afraid of it.

And more importantly – do we really want to be free of a natural warning sign that provides feedback to us that something is off?

The issue is not anxiety itself. It’s just that for some of us stress and anxiety is our default – it’s all we know and all we are used too due to our upbringing. It’s how we lived or have lived for a long time. And it’s uncomfortable. Even when life seems to be good, it can loom in the back of our minds.

Have you ever been so happy and joyful, and suddenly feel dread? Like, this feeling that something could go wrong – even though nothing does? Perhaps, like me, we are so used to feeling stress, anxiety and worry – that when life is well and good, we are simply not accustomed to it. We are conditioned and familiar with living in an anxious state. It’s no wonder that being calm and peaceful are difficult to practice, and actually live day to day.

So, that’s what I want to address here. We don’t want to banish anxiety, we want to understand it and perhaps recondition our body, mind, and spirit so that anxiety only operates when something is off balance or needs attention. And that can be for so many reasons, hence a three part series.

How does anxiety feel?

Anxiety is experienced differently to everyone – and many times, like myself, people don’t realise it is anxiety they are feeling. Anxiety can feel like this desire to run away and find a place where you can breathe. It can be ever so subtle or it can be extreme wreaking havoc on your mind. I feel anxiety mostly in my stomach, like this uneasy feeling that something is wrong. The butterflies, I call them. If it’s really bad, I start to feel like the walls are closing in. Suffocating. Or like something “could go wrong”.

It can also show up like this:

  • Frustration
  • Overthinking or darting thoughts
  • Assuming the worst
  • Catrophising
  • Difficulty trusting even with contrary evidence
  • Fidgerity
  • Shaking legs
  • Opting for substance use to chill or escape
  • Isolation
  • Worry
  • Thinking about what other people think of you ecessively
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Tension in the neck, shoulders, back
  • Difficulty winding down
  • Insomnia
  • PMS
  • Feeling trapped
  • Doubting yourself
  • Unable to make decisions
  • Perfectionism, OCD
  • Fear

And a lot more.

Rather than just cope with the anxiety I wanted to find ways to get to the core of why I get anxious. Because I simply couldn’t stand feeling like that all the time. It’s now become a positive part of my life even when it rears it’s head and says “hello Anjelica, remember me?” Now when it decides to knock on my mental door, I view it as a warning sign that something is off in my life (which you will discover in this series) – and that I need to pay close attention, not just cope with it. Or ignore it or let it control my movement. Viewing anxiety, worry and stress or any dilemma for that matter – in this way – can help solve problems and lead peaceful being. And if something isn’t completely resolved, it can minimize fear around anxiety rather than having a controlling grip over you.

It’s taken a good seven (7) years to really live a calm centered life without anxiety crippling my every move, and my mind. That’s a long, long time. But I didn’t want to live that way forever so I kept questioning, asking and seeking. I wanted the hidden or unconscious parts of myself to surface so I can deal with it head-on and not be robbed of tranquility.

The work I have been doing all these years has paid off. I did have to change a lot – and honestly, change is hard. It’s tempting to stay comfortable even if it’s miserable. But I now see anxiety as something that I can use as a guide to question an imbalance in my life. I am forever learning. I think that’s been the greatest turning point with anxiety is acknowledging that I will still experience it at times but we are now friends – not enemies.

Fast forward to today, I now see anxiety as a call to grow, upgrade my thinking or take time for self-exploration. If I feel anxiety rising up within, I am now comfortable asking myself, “what is the possible meaning of this?” Once upon a time, I was so afraid to feel anxiety and I wanted to escape it. I hated the dreaded heaviness in my gut and that feeling of being out of control. It was like an impending doom that something could happen, and I would tiptoe through my life cautiously and worried. Mainly, I lacked peace which is why anxiety is so frustrating.

It robs us of – stillness.

I used to think anxiety was a weakness

Unfortunately, anxiety is still stigmatized today. When we feel something is wrong with us, we may feel uncomfortable talking about it. Over time, I have witnessed people denying having or experiencing anxiety as though it is a weakness. I was once one of those people – so it’s easy to recognize it in others. For 25 years (I’m 33 at the time of writing this) I struggled with it alone and never told a soul. When I finally opened up about it I realised how common it is amongst us. And that’s the people we know about. I didn’t even know what I was feeling – was – anxiety. When I admitted to myself that I get really, really anxious – and that I denied it for so long – that’s when I felt liberated. I was no longer harboring this secret, this, “weakness”. Denial can keep us from growing and taking a good honest look at ourselves in order to initiate change.

In this series, I am going to refer to anxiety as an experience – not a disorder. Whether or not we have been diagnosed with anxiety, is not the premise of this exploration. We’re going to be objective and we are going to go through a large list of possibilities that are resulting in anxiety. Personally, over a 7 year period I have analysed, questioned and changed specific areas to get to the root of my anxieties. From there, I also embarked on a journey into my soul and my past to face parts of myself that were possibly causing an uneasy current within. This entire period of my life has resulted in some fabulous findings and practices that have yielded a calmer mind and life.

I hope by sharing these points perhaps it will inspire you to create a different relationship with anxiety. Everything listed, I have gone through personally. This probably gives you an indication of how anxious I was for most of my life. My desire to leave short term fixes behind and no longer just “deal with it” helped me discover many layers that were disrupting my peace on a neurological, spiritual, and physical level.

This is not to say you need to change your entire life overnight. Choosing to heal an area organically opened the door for another area that needed healing. If you are willing to go on a gentle quest it will unravel naturally. If you fight it or try to control it, or rush the journey, it’s a little more challenging to maneuver through and may result in – more anxiety!


Things to digest first

We’ll go into each of these areas in greater depth but this gives you an overview of topics that will be covered and discussed in the series.

Our upbringing (the development years 0-7 years) 

From birth until age 7, our brain is like a sponge absorbing everything in our environment – including how we are treated and what we are taught. We don’t yet know what to filter and what to retain. Therefore, the beliefs and teachings become the basis of how we think, act and grow. The way we eat and move can set us up for unhealthy or healthy habits, and impact our body size, wellness and how we view ourselves. The people we observe, the things we witness – these are all impacting how we learn, what we take on, and how we make decisions.

Furthermore, anxiety for some of us may have been a way to cope with things out of our control. It could have been a trait we learned from those around us. But it may have been a signal to your body, and self, that something is off. Whether that is how you were treated or whether you had freedom, or not. Those of us who felt controlled, silenced or judged for example – our expression and worth were threatened. Knowing this helped me to have more compassion for myself and others with anxiety.

Our diet – mental and physical

What we consume and allow into our lives can affect our brain, thinking and calm levels – and that goes for food, external information such as social media, relationships and environment. Food can impact our blood sugar levels and organ health, creating imbalances in our hormones and brain. This can result in feeling anxious or “off”. It can also impact our sleep. Our mental diet is also vital to keep a balance. What we allow into our lives and the type of people we open our hearts to can contribute to anxiety.

Our physical movement 

A lack of exercise and too much exercise can contribute to anxiety. Not enough exercise does not give your brain the opportunity to tap into receptors that release calm vibes throughout your body and mind. Too much exercise may be driven by an external need for validation (anxiously driven) and it can also cause havoc on our adrenals, cortisol levels – and healing properties. We’ll discuss both areas, and you will find calming exercises to incorporate into your routine.

Our environment – past, present

Our surroundings can have an impact on us psychologically and physically. If we were surrounded by chaos, drama, anger or emotional abuse for example – it can cause havoc on our nervous system leading to feels of anxiousness. This may also be viewed as edgyness, being jumpy, walking on eggshells, feeling afraid, worried you might rock the boat – and are all forms of anxious thinking and living. Even if we are free from our childhood surroundings, a similar environment can cause us to feel anxious – even later on in life. This includes the spaces you are in such as your home and why it is important to declutter, clean, and be mindful of what you have around you.

Our mental habits

We’ll also go through beliefs you may have about yourself, and we’ll challenge those beliefs to see if they are healthy for you or causing anxious thinking. Some of our beliefs are hardwired from a young age, as mentioned above, so it does take time to declutter patterns that have been operating for quite some time. Furthermore, we may have had a belief growing up and as an adult, we have been in situations that almost “confirm” those beliefs. For example, our idea of love may be pain or being controlled, or having to prove ourselves. We end up in relationships where there is abuse or misery and wonder why. Our belief system may need to be reconditioned.

When I was finally in a calmer space I also realized that I kept waiting for “something bad to happen” because I had become so accustomed to letdowns, disappointments, betrayals from people – and so forth. This is where we need to renew our thinking so we don’t sabotage ourselves – and the healthy lifestyle we have built.

Why did I write this series?

My hope is that by sharing this list of reasons why you may experience anxiety, you can view it from a different perspective. Perhaps it will encourage you to be kinder with yourself. Maybe it will spark in you a desire to go on a journey of introspection. It could motivate you to make some lifestyle changes. Or you may find that you simply need to just be for a while. There could also be things that irritate you and you may feel annoyed by this post: I get it. But please remember, this is not from a text book. It is lived, breathed, as well as falling and getting back up a million times!


Creating a healthy lifestyle is a good starting point for anyone with anxiety. If you are actively practicing healthy wholesome habits it’s a good way to check if your anxiety is due to your lifestyle habits ie. oxygen intake, exercise, food. For some, it may just be that anxiety is the result of unhealthy habits or imbalances in the body (hormones, cortisol levels, brain health etc.). If anxiety persists even though you’re leading a healthy lifestyle then taking a deeper look at other areas may be helpful. In this article, I have started with the body because I feel this can help set the stage for exploring the mind and soul. But remember – we are all on unique journeys so how you approach this guide and self-analysis is always up to you. That’s the beauty of life and introspection.

Even if you don’t struggle with anxiety this eries will assist anyone wanting to create a healthy calm lifestyle and take more chances in life.

NOTE: This is part of a three-part series. Read part one to be introduced to my views and position on anxiety.

how to improve the quality of your sleep (1)

The Body

1. Shallow breathing versus deep breathing

2. Quality sleep and a healthy bedtime/wake up routine

3. Hormones, PMS or ovulation

4. Warm weather or unvented spaces

5. No exercise or not enough physical movement

6. Over-exercising or too much training (i.e weight training)

7. Consuming too much coffee or unhealthy sugars

8. Under-eating or overeating

9. Foods that trigger anxiety such as white carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine

The Mind

10. You need to daydream more

11. Consuming too much external information

12. Choosing comfort over discomfort

13. You are excited about something

14. You feel out of control

15. Unhealed trauma or pain from Childhood, or the past

The Spirit

16. Putting off the call in your soul

17. When you are saying YES to the call in your soul

18. You never talk to anyone or ask for support

19. Difficulty trusting the unknown (want to be sure about everything)

20. Unsure where it’s all going

21. Fear of silence and listening to your soul (remaining in denial)

22. Life is too fast – not slowing down enough

23. You don’t feel comfortable with freedom

A Guide To Exploring Anxiety Mind Body Spirit

how to improve the quality of your sleep (2)

1. Shallow breathing versus deep breathing

A lack of oxygen to the brain and body can send alarm bells ringing! Shallow breathing can be due to a variety of reasons such as a medical condition. It can also be due to:

  • unawareness of how you breathe
  • disconnection from your body (ie. mind to muscle, mind to body connection)
  • a lifestyle that is causing you stress
  • overworking
  • unhealthy habits
  • worry
  • toxic relationships where you feel trapped/controlled

As you go through this article you may find more culprits to shallow breathing.

deep breathing vs shallow breathing

How to test if you are breathing shallow:

a) Focus on your breathing techniques while training/exercising

While exercising use breathing techniques through each repetition. Prioritise breathing at the same time as good form and technique. Ditch the fast, sloppy workouts completely. Go slower, and focus on each and every breath. A good way to start this is to choose simple movements that you know well. If you are unsure about technique hire a trainer or visit youtube, and finetune your form. Once you know how to do the exercise well, practice your breathwork. Your workouts will become slower, focused and challenging in a different way. You may be tempted to speed up or push through certain exercises when it feels hard, but return to your breath to stabilize yourself and calm your mind.

b) Go for a hike

Nature is a way to refuel your oxygen tank and calm the entire mind, body and spirit. After a trek through the bush, review how you feel. If you are blissful, creative, energised, clear – even if you are tired – but you don’t feel this in everyday life, it may be a good indication that you are not breathing deeply regularly.

Hiking can be a compass guiding you to your true north in all areas – especially in exhaling and exhaling. Anjelica Ilovi

c) Learn about the importance of breathing 

Oxygen is vital for us to live – and shallow breathing can really impact our physical performance, digestive system and mental wellbeing. Think about it: if you’re deprived of quality oxygen flowing in and out of your entire being, your body and brain are going to do what it can to survive. You may find that when you are stressed, you suddenly experience digestive problems. When our body is in flight or fight mode, it may not prioritise digesting food or reproducing children (hence PMS issues, one possible reason for infertility). Instead, it gives you enough energy, often through adrenaline, to get through the day. This is why you may also find it difficult to unwind. Your body may be craving some deep, deep breathing.

Nature hiking Western Australia

2. Quality sleep and a healthy bedtime/wake up routine

Gone are the days where we believe in no sleep! I cringe at the saying “sleep when you’re dead” when relating to success and hard work. There is a process we go through when we sleep that is vital to our wellbeing, our brain development and, spiritual evolution. It is part of living a healthy, successful lifestyle – yes, this includes performing well in your work too. No goal should steal sleep from us. If it’s depriving us of deep rest, something needs to change.

how to improve the quality of your sleep

The importance of sleep

Firstly, your brain needs sleep – and rest. It is a form of resetting from one day into the next. It is also a time when your body can work through emotional issues, where your organs have a chance to rest and digest, and your brain can process and grow.

Can’t sleep?

Insomnia is a beast and one of the most frustrating things to experience! If you haven’t personally experienced it, it’s like trying to turn off a computer and it – just – won’t – go off. A fantastic book that talks about what you can do if you can’t sleep is “The Calm and Cosy Book of Sleep” by Beth Wyatt. Because even if you are unable to sleep, you can still rest and create routines that allow your brain to rejuvenate. You may find that going through a journey of self-discovery and implementing changes, that are listed in this piece, may help solve this for you as it did for me (I do hope.)

Spiritually speaking, sleeping is a way to trust the flow of life and everything you are doing. It’s a signal to your brain and life that everything will be okay when you wake up.

3. Hormones, PMS or ovulation

Sorry guys. Skip this one. Or maybe pass it on to your Mrs if you know she has trouble in this department. Good on ya, chap.

Ladies, it’s time to pay attention to your cycle. If it’s not regular or you have issues, please make this a priority to figure out. It may take time but it’s worth the journey. Throughout the month your body goes through various stages. When ovulating you may experience anxiety, emotional sensitivity and a feeling of being out of control (another form of anxiety listed below). For a long time, I’d have a day or two where I felt like I was going nowhere in life. For some reason, the question “what am i doing with my life?” would come up. Until I noticed a pattern – it was during ovulation. This is an area I am still researching and learning about. However, being someone who struggled immensely with period pain (I’d sometimes scream) and who used to take Neurofen plus every month (which I quit because it’s very unhealthy long-term) – there’s a dramatic change. I’m starting to feel normal and I don’t have bad cramping anymore (after 20 years!).

Tip: During those few days, I don’t make any big decisions nor do I act on those emotions. I am learning to accept those days and do my best to remain centered. I will do more self-care and use it as an opportunity to rest. If it’s really out of whack, I will look at the previous month and ask myself if there was anything stressful. By doing this, I have been able to make small changes that positively influence the next month.

Bigger tip: Stress management ladies – vital to your entire being!

4. Warm weather or unvented spaces

Being too warm can cause us to breathe shallow – and therefore trigger anxiety or panic. And even aggression. In warm weather or conditions, be mindful of this. If you can remove yourself from areas where there is a lack of airflow, do so. Or make sure you always have a fan or flowing air on you. There have been times when in the company of others I felt really dizzy and claustrophobic from the lack of airflow. Resulting in high anxiety. I’ve just had to walk outside and get some air, so I get it.

Tips for warm weather if you are prone to anxiety, panic, aggression or frustration:

  • Take cold showers and breathing slowly while the cold water is on you. Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first but it can help you connect your mind to your body, and learn not to panic due to discomfort. The breathing will also release any pent up stress and anxiety that you have been experiencing. It allows the body to cool down and normalise temperature. It has also been found to boost your immune system. Someone to check out is Wim Hof who has a lot of information on cold water and deep breathing techniques.
  • Wear loose clothing. If you’re going out, choose comfort over looking good. You’ll have more fun, and you’ll be able to breathe in uncomfortable situations.
  • Keep a spray bottle with water in it during summer if you are not in the aircon. Spritz yourself consistently.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat salads and cooling foods with cucumbers, carrots, rocket – light hydrating vegetables.
  • Avoid hot drinks.

5. No exercise or not enough physical movement

Exercise is a great way to combat depression, anxiety, and lethargy. It produces that happy feeling in your brain and has been found to minimise anxiety for various reasons. If you lack exercise you may not be reaping the benefits. When I have constant anxiety but I can’t tell what it’s from, I do some exercise. In most cases it was just that – I needed to exercise.

Exercise has been consistently found to reduce anxiety in both the short and longterm. This is due to a combination of reasons. One being that it lowers tension, boosts your mood and releases stress (2015, Weinberg and Gould). Firstly, it’s a physical thing. Raising your heart rate pumps oxygen to your brain and if you have been under the pump or stressed out, you may not realise that you have been breathing shallow, or limiting the airflow to your brain. It’s only but natural for your brain to panic and result in anxiety. Also, stress raises hormones such as cortisol which are opposite to the feel-good hormones such as norephedrine, endorphins and serotonin. Cortisol and small bursts of stress are not unhealthy, however, if we are not balancing it out with other healthy hormones – that is when it becomes an imbalance. When we exercise we’re renewing our brain’s neurotransmitters. Without exercise, it’s almost like keeping our brain stagnant – devoid of healthy refreshing blood flow and oxygen.

6. Over-exercising or too much training (i.e weight training)

On the reverse, I went through a phase where I was doing heavy weight lifting every day and my hormones were all over the place. It was horrifying. As mentioned previously, PMS was through the roof and anxiety was my daily mode. As soon as I balanced out, anxiety went with it.

How to know if you are training too much?

  • Stopped getting your period
  • Anxiety
  • Mood not stable
  • Worried about how you look all the time
  • Prone to flues and colds
  • Body not repairing or healing properly
  • Unable to lose fat – if you are losing weight
  • Stressed or overwhelmed
  • Never happy with your progress (big alarm bell right there)
  • Can’t take a rest day out of fear of losing results
  • Chronic illness
  • Getting injuries

Look I’m going to be blunt here. A lot of us have trained like athletes (even though we aren’t) while trying to work full-time, study and manage many areas of our lives that cause stress. And while there is nothing wrong with being serious about training, we need to respect the amount our bodies and brains can handle. We also need to be vitally honest with ourselves and whether our training goals are counterintuitive to our health and overall life. Tapering back may actually result in better results, a boost in confidence and feeling content with yourself. I use to feel proud of myself for training 7 days a week until I realised it was all ego and it wasn’t necessary. If you are an athlete and this is what you have to do, analyse your other lifestyle requirements and ensure there is enough space in your routine for downtime.

Foods to eat for a healthy calm mind and body

7. Consuming too much coffee or unhealthy sugars

So, when we think of caffeine we often think of energy. “I need my coffee!” because we are feeling tired or need that booster. But coffee doesn’t give us energy. When I learned this my mind was: blown. And it was also concerning. There is a process that happens when we consume caffeine. It shuts off the signals to our brain that tell us we are tired. It’s not energising us. It’s actually tricking the brain into thinking we are not tired. Mind blown too?

My concern with stimulants is this: if it’s telling my brain I am not tired then what long term effects are happening? It’s not natural. And although coffee and other caffeinated stimulants are normalised, it’s a close cousin to other substance use. Furthermore, too much caffeine may cause an imbalance in our hormones, cortisol levels (anxieties good mate) and adrenals. By consuming too much sugar, caffeine, unhealthy carbohydrates (white breads, white rice etc.) it can alter the balance in our bodies and cause us to feel anxiety.

Tips: Cut back and watch how you feel. You may find a dramatic difference!

8. Under-eating or overeating

Undereating is a very common factor when it comes to anxiety and difficulty losing weight, as well as food disorders. This is also true for overeating. The anxiety around food can be two-fold. First, under or overeating can cause imbalances in the body, as well as deprive us of health and wellbeing. There is also a mental factor involved that causes anxiety – and the action of under or overeating is the result.

Here are a few examples:

Example one: The girl who undereats or chooses restrictive diets to be very lean.

In her mind, she believes this is what she needs to do in order to look a certain way or achieve weight loss. Because society has pushed this method. She deprives herself of a well-nourished diet and way of eating which affects the body – hormones, energy, organ health, digestive system, reproduction, muscle mass, and the brain. On a mental level, there is a drive from within to look a certain way and by choosing to restrict food, it’s a sense of achieving this and also control the anxiety that comes with “being overweight” (in her eyes). In a sense, her action of losing weight is a way to minimise anxiety.

It’s only short-lived though and unfortunately, without healing or getting to the root of what’s causing her to believe this is the only way to be happy, confident in her own skin and perhaps accepted, she will feel it is never enough. This can lead to serious health problems and anxiety.

Example Two: The girl who goes on strict diets and exercise routines, but finds herself binging at the end of the week and fel extremely guilty for “slipping up”.

She finds herself continuously on this cycle of forward movement and then self-sabotage. This confirms the story in her mind that she is not capable and that is it too hard. She may have always felt less than perfect or unworthy, and this cycle is familiar to her. Rather than take a steady route towards healthy weightloss by choosing slow and steady, she opts for fast and although it leads to starting over continuously, it feels more comfortable than patience.

(Both examples have been myself and women I have worked with so this comes from a place of understanding)

Anxiety can be the result of both a mental belief (ie: I am not good enough, I need to be thin to be accepted, I can’t stick to this routine) and lack of nutrition to fuel the body. We need adequate nutrients to feel our best and to be happy in our own skin. A well-fed brain will make you feel good, and you are more likely to look at yourself through the eyes of a happy brain than a brain and body that is deprived.

9. Foods that trigger anxiety such as white carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine

When it comes to eating healthy, it’s not just about looking good and weight management. Foods impact your body, your moods and how you feel. Nutrition and healthy eating for life is about balancing your body, digestion and brain health. They all work hand in hand. If you need more motivation to consume wholesome foods – this is it. Nutrition is a massive component in keeping your brain and body calm and healing areas that are causing imbalance – or anxiety.

When we eat foods that are unhealthy on a daily basis, say sugary foods, not only are we consuming foods that can cause us to feel anxious, but we may also be missing out on dense nutrients that adds value to our body. A body that is deprived is a body that is starving for nourishment, love and wholesome foods in order to give you energy, health and optimal living.

You wouldn’t drive your car without fuel – so why do you expect the same of your body?

Tip: Eat a wholefood, plantbased diet and consume vegetables, fruits, legumes, healthy carbohydrates. Understand which foods cause you to feel anxious, moody or low in energy and keep them to a minimal. Here’s a starting point:

Foods to eat for a healthy calm mind and body

how to improve the quality of your sleep (3)

10. You need to daydream more

Daydreaming while chilling out can be beneficial to creativity and productivity. We can get caught up in the idea that we need to work non-stop to be productive or successful. Daydreaming is not something we often hear about or encourage one another. But it is such a useful and effective tool in mental health, becoming in tune with yourself and boosting creativity. As well as productivity.

Here are some activities that I utilise for daydreaming and letting my mind wander:

Why you need to let your mind wander

11. Consuming too much external information

You may consume too much online activity, information from the world and other peoples opinions. Too much external information and activity drive the brain to burnout and exhaustion. It’s like your brain is always digesting and never resting. And this can cause anxiety big time. Let’s contrast it with nature. When we are outside in nature it’s simple. There’s no signs, crazy colours and messages asking for your attention to gain something from you. That’s why we often feel refreshed being in the great outdoors. In our domesticated and urban lifestyles, we are surrounded by marketing, traffic, social media, other people’s agendas – it’s a lot for the brain to encounter on a day to day basis.

How to fast from overindulgence throughout the day and limit yourself in a healthy way. 

  • Don’t use the phone or social media past 6pm (or a time you choose)
  • Walk outside daily without checking your phone
  • Read books rather than always reaching for the internet
  • Take time out on a Sunday morning for solitude
  • Limit social media use every day – honestly, this one will make a huge difference
  • Get out into nature regularly – once a week or fortnight can do so much
  • Keep a distance from people who are negative, talk too much or are too opinionated
  • Clean your house and ensure it’s clutter-free
  • Have a clean desk at work or home
  • Surround yourself with simple colours and tones
  • Get rid of some social media accounts and only keep the ones you use
  • Unfollow, block, delete – anything that is about fast, quick fixes
  • Stop looking at photos of other women for fitness inspiration – own your own body.

A good book to read is “Your Brain At Work” by David Rock.

12. Choosing comfort over discomfort

When we choose to remain comfortable because we are afraid of the unknown, our comfort zones can become a place of familiarity and boredom. This can result in an anxious vibe. Being discontent or stagnant in our lives can cause us to feel frustrated, agitated, snappy and depressive. You and your brain need to learn new things. Try new ideas. Be challenged. Because growth is where you feel lively, empowered and creative. Choose to step out of your comfort zone and remember that the temporary fear or discomfort won’t last forever. Soon you will adapt to this new space and before you know it, a new level of expansion will present itself (the new discomfort zone).

In times of deliberation:

Would you rather be comfortable and unhappy, or uncomfortable and alive?

13. You are excited about something

Our bodies sometimes can’t tell the difference between excitement and something bad happening. We may feel anxiety when we are looking forward to something or embarking on a new journey. It can even happen when we are going to an event or an outing. Even though we are excited it may feel like dread or worry. The feeling of anxiety may erupt within and you may wonder “why do I feel anxious when I’m looking forward to this”. I’ve known friends who struggle with anxiety and will cancel last minute, not because they don’t want to go but because they felt crippled by it. Other times, they will go and sooner or later the anxiety turns into joy, fun and gratefulness.

When we are going somewhere new or meeting people, it’s out of our comfort zone. It is perfectly normal to feel nervous while being excited. If it’s something you really want to do even though you feel anxious, don’t hold yourself back. You may find after going to an event or meeting new people you have a surge of joy and energy because you overcame this obstacle. You did something fun or achieved the very thing you set out to do.

14. You feel out of control

Feeling out of control can be for a variety of reasons. Personally, when anxiety rears its head in this way, it’s no fun at all. Rather than feel debilitated by it, take some time to review your lifestyle and what you have been doing recently. This means taking note of your thoughts and “behind the scene” worries that you may not realise are causing an undercurrent of fretfulness.

Grab your journal and let’s go through a list. You could be:

  • Unorganised, therefore, overwhelmed by what to do
  • Lacking a plan of attack with work or projects
  • Neglecting yourself physically and mentally (go back to the body section)
  • Pleasing everyone else first – leaving yourself last (this is in part three)
  • Out of balance with your hormones or due for that time of month – honestly, PMS and hormones can make me feel whacko!
  • Lacking sunshine especially if you get boosted by light
  • Lacking sleep or have a sleep routine that is inconsistent
  • Hyped up on stimulants or sugar
  • Lacking a routine and schedule – discipline is so vital to being grounded!
  • In a relationship or around people who are toxic, negative or over empowering
  • Thinking negatively about yourself and body, and not knowing how to change it
  • Struggling with a mistake or choice you’re not proud of
  • Out of work or lost your job
  • Dealing with financial loss or worrying about money

There are many other reasons but this is a general gist to get you started. Once you identify what is causing you to feel out of control, you have a better opportunity of finding out how to solve it. And yes, not everything will change overnight but there’s power and strength in being truly honest with yourself. Because then you are able to confront the problem head-on and take action towards feeling grounded and whole. There’s also an energy that comes to you when you decide to really face yourself and make a plan or commitment to changing a situation.

15. Unhealed trauma or pain from childhood, or the past

When we have unhealed trauma or pain from our childhood, it can show up in adulthood in various ways. Remember, our patterns of thinking can originate from our development years (see Part one). Therefore, we can go into adulthood thinking that’s the way the world should be when really it’s just one version that was taught to us.

This may result in:

  • getting involved with people who hurt us in similar ways to our childhood.
  • feeling rejected or being afraid of rejection (more in part three)
  • holding back from opportunities because of a lack of self-belief
  • self-sabotage

This is a big topic to explore and perhaps in another post, I will dive deeper. It is important to address your past and traumas and go through a process of healing. This may mean you are confronted with a choice of forgiving someone or yourself. It could be that you decide to face troubling things that occurred and perhaps have supressed.

Ideas of where to start:

  • Find an amazing psychologist to explore with you
  • Journalise
  • Go on an adventure into nature as it can be a powerful way to open up your mind and soul
  • Ask questions
  • Talk to your inner child and say all the things you wish you could say
  • Pray and meditate – this can really open us up to areas we need to be aware of as well as give us insight into how to let go

(Please note: I am not a  trained psychologist, these are things from my experience. Everyone has a different past and trauma, and there are things I will never understand or be able to relate to because I have not been through what you have. And vise versa. Please remember, these are my suggestions and they are a starting point. It is advised that you seek professional help if you are concerned or need assistance in this area)

how to improve the quality of your sleep (5)

16. Putting off the call in your soul

You’re daydreaming about other things. You feel like you want to fly but your wings are being held back. You believe you will be happier but it’s like – too free? Too wild? To adventurous? Too daring? It may mean quitting your job, booking a trip, taking a few unpaid months off to write, or adventure into unknown territory. If there is something you want to do and you keep giving yourself reasons as to why it’s a “stupid idea’, you could be putting off your soul’s calling.

And listening may be the antidote to that anxiety.

17. When you are saying YES to the call in your soul

On the alternative, you get anxiety from actually responding to your soul! Taking a chance or trying something new can bring about fear or a dreaded feeling. Fear can wrap itself up in anxiety, to prevent you from change. Leaving the comfort zone brings up uncertainty and doubts. What if I fail? What if I lose everything? What if I can’t handle success? The more I research other creatives, the more I realise how normal those feelings are. The difference now is in the past I would have unconsciously fallen victim to fear and held back. These days, I am aware of fear and acknowledge that it’s part of the process.

18. You never talk to anyone or ask for support

As someone who found it difficult to ask for help or support in fear of appearing weak, I understand the hesitancy of wanting to reach out or talk to someone about an internal struggle. And you know what? It’s not always you. Perhaps the people you have spoken to have not responded in a supportive way or judged you. I get it. However, trying to do life alone without support or saying how you feel can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Bottling everything inside and not seeking outside perspectives can also hinder us from growing.

All I can say here is that if you have one person you can confide in when you really really need to, then speak up. If you don’t, there are hotlines and Psychologists worldwide that you can utilise. I used to talk to friends and family about issues when I finally learned to speak up. But I found that sometimes I was better off talking to a stranger – someone outside my circle. After one phone call or session, I would feel so much better. A conversation where you can open up freely without fear of judgment or people knowing too much about you can be really refreshing.

19. Difficulty trusting the unknown (want to be sure about everything)

Nothing is ever guaranteed or sure. I worked really hard in a career for five years thinking I’d be doing it forever. But sickness struck and unfortunate circumstances occurred propelling me into an entirely new path.  Having a job gave me a false sense of security and I wasn’t investing in myself or my dreams. False security can be found in things like relationships and opportunities. We don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or even a few hours from now. This isn’t to scare you or discourage you but to help you relax into realising none of us are 100% sure about life. Breathe that into your body and let those stress levels decrease.

20. Unsure where it’s all going

Who really does? Who knows where we will be years from now? Take writing for example. To write, blog, do my book – there’s no pay involved and no instant gratification. I don’t know if it will end up being seen by anyone or even read sometimes! But it’s my passion and my soul craves telling stories and sharing my heart and I hope it will take a load off someone else’s shoulders. If I question too much about where it’s all going, I end up doing nothing. If it’s in your heart, sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and see what happens.

21. Fear of silence and listening to your soul (remaining in denial)

Tuning into the spirit can at times mean taking time to be silent and listening in to your soul. It may mean lying on the ground with soft gentle meditation music and just – breathing. This can trigger anxiety for some because suddenly we must hear the very things we have been ignoring. For people who have trauma and pain, that might mean revisiting a time in our life we would prefer to just forget. It also may feel like we are experiencing the trauma all over again. It could be words or graphic imagery, or the feeling of being controlled, taunted or abused. The silence does not seem like a safe place.

Tip: Slowly, very slowly, practice facing the silence. Do not force yourself into meditation and prayer, and quietness if it sets you off. It is better to start very gently and in small attempts. By having this approach you will more likely to commit and it won’t be so overwhelming.

One thing I love about the spiritual journey is that God never rushes us. You are not expected to be this calm saint overnight. God’s love is so far and wide, so unconditional – it will call to you in the most gentle, healthy and wholesome way. Remember, we have been given free will. If anyone or anything pushes you or shames you for the process, that is not from a place of unconditional love.

22. Life is too fast – not slowing down enough

The one question I keep asking myself lately is ‘who am I rushing for?’. Rushing has always led to burnout and exhaustion, with a decreased clarity towards my vision. Standing back for a moment can really boost your wellbeing but help you to remain refreshed. This way of living takes time to develop. It respects the seasons of life and our culture can be anti “slow” – and in favour of “right now”. In the process of slowing down, this is when anxiety can be so loud! When you decide to put the breaks on after going fast for so long your entire being may panic. It feels weird, and you may feel it’s just “too slow” – because you are used to going so fast. Let yourself adjust over time and your new norm will become steady, calm and grounded (and you even remain like this because the fast lane becomes unattractive).

23. You don’t feel comfortable with freedom

Have you ever heard about how prisoners who are let free after a long prison sentence end up back in prison because they can’t handle the freedom? When we have been used to a way of living for most of our lives it can be challenging living peacefully. We find comfort in what is familiar to us. The unknown, such as a peaceful calm life, can be strange. It’s territory unexplored, and in that space we may feel we won’t be able to protect ourselves from future harm (just like when we were kids). So, we can hold onto our anxiety as a way to prevent anything from catching us off guard. A way of remaining in control.

Like the above pointer, it’s challenging going from being highly anxious all the time to peaceful. It won’t happen overnight. If you grew up highly anxious and stressed, and are practicing ways to become calm and healthy – don’t be upset at yourself when you don’t have it all figured out. Give yourself time, space and compassion to adapt to a new way of being.

These are all my favourite self-care and soul connecting activities that I enjoy practising. There are more but I find these have really assisted in healing from being anxious all the time.

Connect to spirit and selfcare


The body, mind, and spirit are all interconnected – and it is vital that we take care of ourselves so that we can feel grounded. But also so that we can know ourselves better. Knowing who we are is empowering because we have the opportunity to accept or change anything that is hindering us from feeling healthy and peaceful – and less anxious. In the next part we will discuss how environment, relationships and work can impact us – and cause anxiety. We will close will final thoughts about you personally – for further self-exploration.


Pin these

How to connect to your spirit, the real you, soul, mindfulness  Pale Pink Pinterest Pin for Blog Tips (2)   Calming Movements Exercise for Anxiety


We’re in the final part of this series. The environment we are in, the people we surround or involve ourselves with and our work can impact how we feel. We addressed the body, mind, and spirit in part two – as they are components within our control. The areas in this part are mostly external – basically what we are exposed to – to distinguish if anything is causing anxiety and why. We may not be able to change our scenery for example if it’s our workplace. We may have to accept the people in our lives for a season because of living conditions. So, rather than feeling we need to escape or make drastic changes, we can explore what we need to transform or understand within ourselves first. From here, we may end up deciding to venture into a new place, quit our job, walk away from a relationship or simply distance ourselves from toxic situations. Or we may find the journey leads to healing from within so certain things that used to trigger us or cause us anxiety – no longer have that power over us.

We’ll finish up with “you”. This section is about befriending yourself and developing inner trust. It will tie everything together.

how to improve the quality of your sleep (1)


24. The spaces you are in are cluttered, messy or distracting


25. Not taking enough breaks or switching off from work

26. Unorganised physically and mentally

27. Rushing rather than trusting the process

28. The “chasing tail” phenomena of perfectionism

29. The curse of “multitasking”


30. Unclear, lacking or not enforcing boundaries

31. Being dependant on others for happiness and completion

32. Putting everyone else first – and yourself last

33. Feeling rejected

34. Gut instincts about people

35. Someone you are investing in is negative, ill-willed, jealous (not genuine)

36. Giving too much of yourself to a taker

37. False promises and unmet expectations

38. Accepting people as they are

39. Ignoring the red flags

40. Breakups cause a concoction of anxieties and pain

41. The draining one-sided relationships


42. You simply miss yourself

43. Worrying about what other people think of you or what you do

44. Waiting for “one day”

45. You don’t trust yourself



24. The spaces you are in are cluttered, messy or distracting

Take note of how you feel when you walk into certain spaces in your home, work, or other locations. When you feel the pangs of anxiety (stress, overwhelm, agitation) – take a look at the environment you are in. This includes – who is in your space too (we’ll talk about this in relationships). Certain colours have been known to trigger anxiety and a lack of sleep. Other colours calm us. This also goes for clutter or disorganisation.


  • Always have a cleanroom. It sets the mood for a calm sleep and a refreshing morning. Waking up in a room that is clutter free is a helpful way to introduce yourself to the world.
  • Surround yourself with calming colours and tones. My favourite combination is whites, earthy greens, a few hints of turquoise, a few hints of black via plant pots, light greys, cream or beige.
  • Add plants to your home to be reminded of nature and to bring life indoors.
  • Vacuum and dust regularly. When we see dust piling up and we haven’t got a regular routine to combat this, it can hang in the back of your mind as a “thing to do” which is not helpful for anxiety.
  • Clear out your closets and give away items or clothing that you don’t use, or fit anymore. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Especially if those items are from a time when you were a different body shape, size or style you no longer wear. I know it’s challenging to let go out of fea that you may “wear it one day” and sometimes I have gone to look for something, and thought “dammit” but then I look at everything I do have.
  • Give away or donate things you no longer use.
  • Schedule in that thing you “need to do” and get it done. Otherwise, it is a constant reminder that you “have stuff to do”. Free yourself of the task.
  • Always know whats in your kitchen, bathroom draws and cupboards. Avoid keeping old bottles and products that you don’t use. Clean out your fridge regulary and only have food or products that you will use.



25. Not taking enough breaks or switching off from work

Taking breaks throughout the day is vital to our health and productivity levels. And it would be wise for any boss or employer to encourage employees to take breaks daily. While it may seem like we get more done by passing on lunch and breaks, over the long hall it can work against us. Ticking off things to do is not nearly as important as doing tasks efficiently and properly. The best way to get bang for your buck (for employers), and more out of your day is to take breaks.


  • Train yourself to take a lunch break every single day. It may be frowned upon by some in the workplace but the people who generally make those comments are probably not taking care of themselves – so why listen? Be an example.
  • When you can, opt for a break outside and get a dose of sunshine (vitamin D). If you are like me, sunshine refuels my energy tank. If you have noticed that after being in sunshine you feel jolly and energised, you may be like the percentage of us who needs light to balance our mood and regulate energy levels. Not everyone is like this – it’s a great thing to realise about yourself if you are designed this way – because it may resolve those times you feel a bit down. Have you been indoors too much?
  • On your break, try to do something away from screens.
  • Eat your lunch without distractions. Just sit there in silence and focus on your food, and observe your surroundings. Gaze up and outward. This is really beneficial for your eyes beause it gives your vision a chance to practice long distance obersevration. When we are always looking at a screen, our eyes can become strained.
  • Read a book, journalise, do something away from work for a moment.

26. Unorganised physically and mentally

Organisational skills can decrease stress and anxiety. It’s also a great way to focus your attention on creating simplicity in your life. By cleaning, decluttering and organising, it does wonders for your brain and energy levels. There’s something so therepuetic about this process – I am sure you are nodding your head right now thinking “Oh yes!” But also being organised helps us to be more clear and it lowers overall stress.

An organised physical space can impact your mental space. Whenever I clean or declutter, and see how good it makes me feel – I use this same process for my mind. We often hold onto a lot of unnecessary stories, beliefs and thoughts that cloud our judgment. That hinders our forward movement. And that disrupts our pace (causing anxiety).

Here are some mental clean up tips:

  • Let go of that pain
  • Forgive yourself
  • Forgive them
  • Remind yourself that you are human
  • Don’t hold it against yourself – forever
  • Be kind to your body – why be harsh?
  • Disrupt those nasty thoughts about yourself
  • Counter the negative thoughts with prosperous, encouraging balanced thoughts
  • Let yourself learn, fall and get back up – as many times as you need too
  • Love your “failures” as much as your “successes” – they make the entire picture
  • Quit judging people
  • Quit thinking people are better or less than you
  • Accept othes and love them (this energy will leave you light)
  • Don’t take on other peoples problems

27. Rushing rather than trusting the process

Often when we rush we are focused on the end result rather than what we need to be learning, creating or developing along the way.

The process is actually where the gold is at. The end result – is a reflection of the commitment to the journey. Let that sink in.

28. The “chasing tail” phenomena of perfectionism

As a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist – I should have a medal of honor in the way of perfectionism. Kidding. It’s actually something I am no longer proud of nor do I find pride in being this way anymore. Because it can often be a disguise for a deeper issue.

Perfectionism is not just about what we think about ourselves – but how we want to be conceived by others. If we can produce work or appear perfect, then we feel others cannot criticize us – or maybe they will approve us. We push ourselves and will not allow room for – flow. For mistakes. For mess. For moments that are – imperfect.

However – it is in our imperfections that we can tap into grace and surrender. And inner confidence that is not based on external results.

The downfall of perfectionism is that it takes up a lot of our time and it can often starve us in the long run. Perfectionism can look like this:

  • Spending too much extra time on tasks
  • Not allowing yourself the room for error
  • Not being okay with “good enough” (as in, give your best but then, move to the next step)
  • Procrastination (because we want to perfect so we end up doing nothing)
  • Stress and anxiety about what we are doing
  • Not enjoying the process (could be with anything – even fitness and health)

Let go of the tight grip.

I know some people may find this horrifying – but sometimes, leave your dirty dishes until the next day. Why? To learn to be at peace with things not being perfect.

What about body image and fitness?

This is a big topic – and I will perhaps write a post in-depth about this.

Here are some tips about changing that inner “perfectionist dialogue”:

  • Quit checking the scale so much
  • Love and appreciate what your body CAN DO (do you do this often enough?)
  • Stare at yourself and tell yourself how beautiful you are – its weird and at first you may not believe it, but do this often enough you start to see yourself differently
  • Laugh at yourself (as in, don’t be so serious – chuckle at the funny odd things you do or think)
  • Dance. No seriously, put on your headphones and dance to your favourite tune. This is so amazing for getting out of your head and into your body. The music will raise your vibes and you’ll feel free.
  • Ditch those clothes that make you feel crappy
  • Wear clothing that makes you feel good about yourself – not what you think you need to wear for others
  • Train less but train efficiently
  • Compliment other people
  • Limit social media or don’t consume content that makes you question yourself. Honestly, I can’t even go onto Instagram public feed without seeing a million airbrushed bums and abs – of course, anyone of us could think we need to step up our game. (Remember, the end game of some influences is money or followers – and that is okay. But for your mental health, just limit or stay off).

29. The curse of “multitasking”

Teaching ourselves to do one thing at a time is tough in this day and age. But there is value in doing one thing at a time. Unfortunately, this wasn’t encouraged in the workplace when I was in an office. Personally, when I try to do too many things at once anxiety skyrockets. It doesn’t help if I have had a strong coffee! My soul is saying: ” calm your sh*t and focus on the task at hand”. I end up getting way more done with my time when I do one thing at a time with no distractions. I also end the day feeling fulfilled and energized. Not depleted (which can happen with multitasking).

Here’s why you will be more productive by focusing on one thing at a time:

  • You will be able to enter a deep flow in your work or project, and when we limit distractions we can discover GOLD! Sometimes, the most precious insights, ideas and creative power come when we have entered the zone of flow.
  • You will feel energised rather than depleted. When shifting from task to task it can take a toll on your mental energy. When focusing on one thing at a time, your brain has the opportunity to really settle into the task and find a way to become efficient at it.
  • You may make mistakes or produce work that is not of high quality. When you focus on one task at a time, you have the opportunity to do it well – the first time. You will feel more confident with the work you are doing and are less likely to second guess yourself. But when you’re moving from task to task or being disrupted constantly, you may become forgetful or scattered in your thinking.


30. Unclear boundaries

Boundaries are the number one crucial factor in ensuring you are participating in healthy relationships – and taking care of yourself. It takes time to really “click” and really understand the power of boundaries. Without realising it, I started implementing boundaries by standing up for myself in situations rather than allowing people to take advantage or guilt trip me. It wasn’t until later in life that I learned what boundaries are – and how awesome they are! This is one of my favourite things to have embraced, cultivated and implemented in my life because it’s so empowering.

When you have boundaries you are acknowledging that you know where you start and end, and where others start and end. You are practicing the art of not taking on other people’s “stuff” to the point where you suffer. But you are also mindful not to put too much of your “stuff” on others. You are also more likely to speak truthfully and not be afraid of what others think of you. You go forth into your life with self affirmation and you are not seeking external validation or approval of others. You may find that you don’t share much of your good or bad news with people. You know how to handle things, and if you really, really need to speak to someone you will confide in one or two people who you trust completely.

The opposite to having boundaries is either having none or weak ones. And trust me – this is an anxiety provoker!

The journey to creating boundaries is challenging but oh so liberating. It is personal to you but here some starting points.

What does a lack of boundaries look like?

  • Putting everyone else first
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Difficulty speaking up for yourself
  • Not saying what you really want to say
  • Letting people treat you like poop
  • Letting people control you
  • Believing peoples critical or harsh words about you
  • Saying “yes” all the time
  • Difficulty saying no
  • Taking on other peoples problems
  • Hanging out with people you don’t really want to be around
  • Always socialising with little time for yourself
  • Being on the go nonstop without time for yourself (self-care, spiritual development etc)

Developing clear boundaries is a process and mostly via trial and error. We all have those times where we are so sure we won’t cave with our boundaries, and we end up doing it and then feel shame. If you are realistic and understand that it takes time to learn, you are more likely to move through this with grace. Because the reality is, sometimes we don’t know what boundaries we want or need because we still need to understand ourselves. We may also have areas of our life that need to be healed so that our self-worth increases. If we have a poor perception of ourselves it’s no wonder we find ourselves in relationships or situations that are not reflecting self-respect. How can we expect people to know our boundaries if we don’t even know or believe in them ourselves?

Where to start

Ask yourself: What do you need to do every single week to take care of yourself so that you can show up as your best? This is a really great way to put boundaries in place and then build from there.

  • Exercise should be a top priority and non-negotiable for the rest of our life!
  • Nutrition – can you prepare food for the week or have a schedule? Eating well keeps the mind sharp. A caffeinated, depleted brain is more likely to fall back into old habits.
  • Take 30-60 minutes every single day by yourself to relax without any conversations or outer interference (social media, business, etc.)
  • Create time in your life to pray or meditate
  • Write in a journal your nonnegotiables and get clear on what you will and won’t tolerate
  • Make time for hobbies or things you enjoy for your own pleasure and self-development

You may like to read: Why you don’t need to feel guilty for setting boundaries

31. Being dependant on others for happiness and completion

When we are dependent on others for our happiness, anxiety can be present in certain relationships when we feel that our happiness is being compromised. We need to be healthy and whole with or without the people we value. Because people come and go; not everyone stays. If we have a solid relationship with ourselves and we lead a life we love, we will appreciate people – but never rely on them for our sole happiness.

What are healthy needs in relationships (all types):

  • Communicating and being on the same page as one another
  • Being present when in one another’s company (ie. not always on the phone)
  • Authenticity
  • Respect and fair treatment
  • Endeavoring to understand one another on a deep level
  • Honest feedback or healthy criticism (saying it how it is)
  • Healthy support for each other

What are things we don’t want to expect from others:

  • To make us happy – that’s our job to do
  • To fulfill us
  • To complete us
  • To be available 24/7
  • To take on all our burdens
  • Being our punching bag
  • Being our crutch rather than being responsible for ourselves

32. Putting everyone else first – and yourself last

When you put everyone else first and leave yourself last, you may have this constant undercurrent of anxiety. It could be your gut telling you that you are on the back burner while others are leaning on you to keep them afloat. Your body, mind and spirit are asking for space, care, and self diligence – from you. It is understandable that you prioritise people you love and care for especially if you have been taught that way. But a lot of these teachings are outdated and in my sole opinion as a woman, based on old school cultural expectations of women. But it’s not just subject to females as you fellas out there may also feel like the world is on your shoulders, and you become last.

Let’s just say it how it is – it is a disservice to the people you love when you are not well looked after – by you. Once burnout, frustration, short tempers, snappiness come into the picture – it can be easy to tell yourself “look how much I do for you!” – but it is your responsibility to put yourself first. It is your responsibility to care for your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing as a priority.

33. You feel rejected

Rejection can feel like our hearts are being torn out. It can make us feel completely out of control. Have you ever felt rejected by someone you like or love – and it’s almost like you crave them more? You start acting needy, panicky or anxious. Your minds racing wondering why they don’t like you – or won’t speak to you.

There is an abundance of research and literature on why this happens – and the most common finding is how we were loved as children. We have a wound that has not been healed so when someone “rejects us” later on in life, we may internalise that being all about us.

Perhaps we believe:

  • We are not worthy
  • We are not good enough
  • We need that person to be happy
  • We need thier approval or validation to feel good about ourselves
  • We purely need them – for whatever reason that

As mentioned in the previous point, people can not complete us. If we feel rejection, we need to look at this with scietific and soulful eyes – and ask why. Getting to the root of this can be ever so liberating. It can also help us to understand how much weight we put into investing in others for our self worth and validation. Taking stock of this can mean focusing on how to improve your self worth for yourself, without relying on others. We will also put less pressure on people to perform how we want them to perform and accept them as they are.

We will also realise that we do not have to stay in connection with people who are mistreating us, causing tension and not giving equally.

Healthy nourishing relationships – all kinds – are about give and take. About two people being on the same page. And about having the same goal for the direction of the relationship.

34. Trusting your gut instincts about people

I would get this horrible pit in my stomach or this feeling about someone that something wasn’t right but would ignore it because there was no evidence. Later down the road, it backfired on me or I would find out my instinct was on point.

Some things I identified when my gut was telling me something:

  • Feeling super uncomfortable
  • Someone expecting me to do something against my wish
  • Feeling pushed or “mocked” into doing something
  • Vagueness
  • Just a sudden feeling to get away from someone
  • Something just not feeling right
  • Self-righteous or always preaching about how righteous they are
  • Too prudish
  • Acting arrogant or too cool for you
  • Over talking
  • Diversion in the conversation

I never knew these were warning bells until someone once said ‘don’t ignore those warning signs.’ They are there for a reason. If you feel something is off, guard your heart or be careful. I am still learning this and I don’t always get it right. Even though I feel a warning about some people, I often look for the good in them and ignore the toxicity. It’s not about seeing people as “bad”, it’s about having a balanced perspective on who someone is and developing healthy firm boundaries to protect yourself against toxic people. Or predators (they exist).

If you are unsure and don’t want to make premature accusations, take time out for yourself away from the individual or group. If you ask for clarity from God, or your spirit, you will be able to determine whether it is you (due to past experiences) or them. If you find it challenging, take your time trusting and giving yourself to anyone or anything that doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s a matter of learning to invest patiently – or maybe you are onto something.

And if you are someone travelling, hiking or just about – and get an off vibe – leave or walk away. Even if you think you may be overthinking something, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

35. Someone you are investing in is negative, ill-willed, jealous (not genuine)

This one is a tricky topic to navigate through. In my experience, when I am around someone who is negative or jealous, my head feels strange.  Almost like someone is trying to pull my mind out for themselves. I feel anxious and my mind races. I know it seems odd. But the body and spirit can pick up on things before our mind has had a chance to consciously realise. I also feel drained, judged, and almost despised when someone is not genuinely for me (untrusting, lying, pretending, ulterior motives, jealous etc.). Sometimes our position in life is perceived as a threat by some people. They see the end result and if they are not content in themselves, it can come out in various ways. Personally, I choose to distance myself from such people or have limited contact if they are in this frame of mind. We don’t need to start playing down our lives to please others.

A negative person, or someone who is perhaps unhappy with themselves and their lives, may also be someone who blames others for their misery. Drama is often the result. And it’s often pointless and confusing. Have you ever felt the wrath of someone and it’s completely unfounded – and out of the ordinary? Or perhaps seems really extreme? You never know what is going on in the mind of another person and how long they have been brooding on issues – whether it’s to do with you or not.

It’s not our responsibility to carry people – and to take on another person’s pain. Yes, we can empathize and sympathise with people. But we need to remember that it is not fair for our own well-being to take on their load. They need to do the work of learning to communicate and self-reflect, rather than blame or take things out on others.

36. Giving too much of yourself to a taker

It can be difficult to detect if we are giving too much of ourselves to someone who does not value us for various reasons. We may be blinded by love. Perhaps we feel guilty about having limits. We may even be drawn in by someone who is really good at taking advantage of people.

It’s even more troublesome when you part ways and feel shame or foolish for giving yourself away – and being disregarded. But it’s a learning process. We all have needs and it is more than okay to ensure your needs are met in a relationship. You also have needs that you need to fulfill yourself, and if a relationship is one-sided you may find yourself distracted, drained or pulled into their “stuff” causing you to neglect yourself.

Here are some signs that someone is a taker:

  • Guilts you for saying “no”
  • Makes you feel bad for having boundaries
  • Requests small things of you to test your boundaries – which turn into bigger things later on
  • Doesn’t give back
  • Causes drama to avoid giving to you or being intimate
  • Makes everything about themselves
  • Doesn’t listen to you and is always ready to talk (biggest give away)
  • Manipulates you via ghosting, drama, bullying, gaslighting
  • You feel drained around this person
  • Your neck feels tight around them
  • You feel nauseous or have butterflies in your stomach

What to do? Go back to the boundaries section above. This will help with identifying takers and learning to limit yourself from overgiving.

37. False promises

When we make commitments to people verbally, it is only but normal to think this will be carried out with actions. Being a person of your word, you may find that it is surprising when people do not do what they say they will do. Especially if it is an agreement or commitment you have made to one another. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Anxiety is bound to occur when we continue to give chances or have faith in people’s words when they have shown evidence through their actions that they do not mean what they say. Even if they wanted to do what they say they will, they don’t – which always comes down to choice and perhaps a lack of communication. It is unfair for people to do this – yes. To expect you to commit while they do otherwise. And it can cause utter confusion and uneasiness within the body and mind.

This is still something I am learning and that is to observe a person’s actions rather than believing wholeheartedly in their words. You may find by doing so, you also release expectations on people and accept them for who they are. It is then your choice to invest in a connection with them – not because of what they say or promise, but purely because of who they are right now, which leads to the next point.

38. Accept people as they are

It seems like an endearing thing to have a person who wants to try so hard to be with us or change for us. We watch movies and when a man comes for the woman after he has messed up, we’re all like “awww”. This also goes for friends and other connections. Yes, there may be situations where this is necessary. But what about relationships where the “mess-ups” are more like patterns and evidence of who the person is – right now. While it’s nice to hope for change and to believe their words, we often fail to look directly at their actions. This is where anxiety can really wreak havoc on us. We want to believe what they say. We hope for the best, and we even find it admirable that someone would want to change for us. But if a person is not growing and developing for themself first, it can be unhealthy not just for you, but for them too. Imagine the anxiety they must be feeling trying to match these self-imposed expectations of themselves just to have – a relationship? (Of course, they put this on themselves).

If this a dynamic you are in, the anxiety you may be experiencing is your gut saying “actions over words, dear”. And it’s an internal conflict between your soul, heart, mind and brain. I get it. But what if you let go of the picture of who this person “should be”? Would they still be someone you love unconditionally right now and would you be happy to invest in who this person is now – not who they could be? Be honest. It’s the only way through your anxiety. It’s okay to love people as they are and let go of your expectations if you are genuinely happy with them. It’s also okay to let go of anyone who is not growing with you, or alongside you in life.

A further note:

The ultimate place of peace would be to wake up each morning and live life without disappointments. Being let down by people is not just about what they do, but also what we expected of them. Yes, we can go into agreements with people and they may choose not to meet their end. So of course, we are going to feel let down. If we dig a little deeper though, it’s feeling like a fool for believing in someone or something and being met with a different reality. I don’t think any of us like feeling foolish.

39. Ignoring the red flags

How do we know if someone is good for us – or our life? Do we know before we “know”? I think so. I think we know when something is off but we choose to overlook it because we want to believe the best. Or we are so keen (sometimes desperate – hey, we’ve all been here) to love and be loved, that we ignore the flags and the hunches, like burying our head under the sand in the hope it will just go away. We focus on the possibilities. And when the evidence rises to the surface, we justify. We give another chance because we don’t want to be wrong.

I feel this is more about us – than the other person. By acknowledging our mistake, or our desire to ignore the signs, we worry it will bring shame. That feeling of foolishness. And it does. Because in most cases we know better. I truly believe that if we are spiritual beings and we have faith that God protects us, then he does. I also believe the spirit does not lie to us – it warns us. If we learn to trust our inner voice and not allow our ego to be flattered by someone – it will help us to determine the red flags with more clarity.

40. Breakups cause a concoction of anxieties

Breakups are not easy. Even if a relationship is terrible, I can’t say that I have ever had absolute relief in those first few weeks or months after a breakup. It comes in time. Everyone processes a break up differently and for us anxious types, this is when it can literally scream the loudest. It can be fucking brutal, to say the least. If you’ve invested your heart, there will be a sickening feeling when you realise it’s over and there’s a blank space where this person used to be. You’re going to feel strong heavy emotions and they are going to swing back and forth. Go easy on yourself. If you push yourself too hard to get over them or want to push the emotions away – it makes it harder.

We often resort to “worry” mode – have I made the right decision? What’s going to happen next? And the million other questions that come. At first, it seems only fair to ask ourselves all these questions but we end up feeling paralysed by the unknown.

Tips for breakup anxiety:

  • Grieve in your own way. If you want to lay low for a few days, do it. If you want to go out, do it.
  • Lots of articles say distract yourself. I personally believe in the opposite. I’d prefer to face it head-on straight away and feel everything I am feeling.
  • Exercise and eat healthy foods. If that’s the most basic thing you can do for yourself, it will help to protect your body against sickness, further stress, and feeling horrible about yourself.
  • Try to dress well – I know you may be tempted not to care about your looks. But dressing nice for yourself can help raise your mood. Sometimes dressing slobby (we’ve all done this!) can make us feel insecure, anxious and add to our misery.
  • After grieving you need to focus on yourself and find out if there are things you need to learn, or heal, so that you can avoid the same choices or mistakes (if there are any) in the future. But also not enter into a new relationship with baggage because that is not fair on the new person you are dating. Or end up marrying.
  • Create a healthy lifestyle and focus on you if you weren’t already doing this in your relationship
  • Stay focused on yourself even if you date again

You might like to watch and read: How To Heal A Broken Heart: The Science Behind Why It Hurts and How To Recover

41. The draining one-sided relationships

Most of us would have experienced the one-sided relationship dynamic where it feels like our energy is drained after spending time with someone. It can be difficult to distinguish. Our good old mate “guilt” will try to minimise the truth and tell us, not to be so harsh. Walking away from one-sided relationships, or toxic relationships has not been my forte. It took a really long time to learn this. I would keep putting in time and effort, regardless of the returns, until the relationship just completely burnt out. It would result in both parties just disappearing into thin air – never to be spoken to again. I had to go through enough of those scenarios to recognise the signs and to see my own contribution in the relationship.

We need to take note of how we feel around certain people so that we know how much to invest, and also whether they are suitable for a position in our life. Furthermore, how close or how far is this person permitted into our heart. There have been times I have granted a person access to my heart with minimal time and commitment. I’ve jumped into a connection, excited and ready to start something wonderful. Only to realise that I did not verify this person through effort and consistency over a healthy spectrum of time. When you give your heart to the wrong person too soon, it can be detrimental to your being. The heart is bound to be anxious – it could be at the mercy of someone who does not value it.

India Travelling


42. You simply miss yourself

Ever since I was a child I learned the act of service through church. We were expected to give a lot of ourselves every single week. In my 20’s I was giving so much of myself and was really sick. I found it difficult to retreat and recharge. When I finally realised how much of my time was given to others, and not myself, I saw how detrimental it was to my life.

Missing yourself can cause anxiety. We need a friendship with ourselves to feel confident, fulfilled and nourished. When we have been busy or given our time away, and not replenished ourselves – we can start to feel empty.

43. Worrying about what other people think of you or what you do

Fitting in can be disguised in many ways:

  • Fear of disappointing someone
  • Wanting to prove you’re not a quitter
  • The desire to be loved/liked
  • Not wanting to stand out for fear of criticism.

This was a very difficult area to admit to myself or even recognise. I mean it’s not like we walk around thinking “I want to prove myself” – I think some thoughts are ingrained in us. It wasn’t until I started looking within, I recognised what I craved, what I needed and why I acted in certain ways.

When I started doing more of what I want, I was criticized for it. It comes with the territory at times. Some may straight out call you ‘crazy’. Some may warn you, to ‘protect you’. Some comments are filled with their own fear and jealousy. This can cause us to feel anxious because we don’t want to “let people down” or be judged for being ourselves.

Our response to people who don’t support or accept us for us doesn’t need to be defensive. And we dont need to live our life proving anything to anyone. I’ve found the best way to address these comments is to smile and go on doing your thing. Interestedly down the road when you are doing just fine, those same people may be inspired by you. Or simply learn to accept you as you are. For those who don’t, maybe they were only seasonal relationships.

The guilt that arises when you do what you want

I find guilt is very personal to the individual. Growing up we were taught to give everything to others, meaning little time for ourselves. Our family was discouraged from buying a house and the women were to be housewives, nothing more. Males were dominant. Women were submissive. I have come face to face with my guilt many times because those old beliefs rise up and say ‘who do you think you are?’

Tip: Your guilt may rise from a completely different situation but one thing remains – you must challenge those limiting beliefs to overcome guilt. Women, and men, are allowed to be free, creative, educated, business-minded, business owners, writers, mothers, artists, speakers, motivators – whatever it is you feel led to do.

44. Waiting for “one day”

Procrastination or repeatedly saying ‘one day’ can prevent you from moving forward. I do believe in timing but don’t let this be an excuse not to act. One of the reasons we procrastinate is due to fear. But you may find that it is due to looking at the end result or where you want to end up, and feeling it’s too overwhelming! The brain can become overloaded with the perceived mountain of work in front of it. The thing is we can’t look at a mountain and expect to get to the top without first climbing it, step by step. The same goes for fitness and life goals.

Tip: When a client tries an exercise and it’s too difficult, we pull right back and work on fine-tuning the movement without too much resistance. The goal is to focus on creating the first step, and then the second – one at a time. By ticking off each step and doing it properly, you adequately develop a strong skill set and foundation to build on. You also feel accomplished as you are going along and it calms you down because you are focusing on the present moment.

45. You don’t trust yourself

Trusting yourself is about becoming friends with yourself. It’s about learning who you are, how you think and what makes you – you. It is about approving your own decisions and being courageous in following your soul, sometimes against the grain of the world and others.

I left this one until last for a reason – it is one of the most important concepts to grasp. When we don’t trust ourselves – we leave ourselves open to needing validation, approval and proof from the external. It can keep us in a fearful place. We may also follow trends or advise that works for someone else, but not for us. This can lead to feeling unfulfilled (especially in health and fitness).

When you cultivate trust within yourself – areas of your life improve. And anxiety starts to become a navigation tool leading you back to your north (Yeh that’s the hiker in me). In Part Two, we discussed the body, mind and spirit. Each of those areas is about you creating a lifestyle that is intuitive and personal to who you are. We need to remember we all have different body types, minds, experiences, pasts, families, environments and societal expectations. It is not fair to ourselves, and to others, to expect that what works for you will work for me – and vise versa. There will be differences.

This exploration of anxiety is about questioning what external pressures and beliefs you have adopted that do not align with you – and your soul. When you were a small little bean evolving into a newborn baby – you were already stamped with DNA and biological transfers from your parents, and their parents. When you entered the world, you were impacted by your surroundings, by teachings, by religion, emotional or physical abuse, friends, circumstances- and this influenced you and built you.

It’s normal.

Who knows what you may discover by questioning those external influences and changing your life and mind, to be in alignment with your soul. With your God-given natural instincts and unconditionally loving way of being:

  • You may become less anxcious
  • You may feel calmer
  • You may become healthier
  • You may become more joyful – because you are free of the shackles of expectations
  • You may become more creative, artistic or passionate
  • You may decide to start a business and do things completely left field
  • You may find anxiety becomes your friend, your guide to being in tune with your spirit
  • You may become mindful of how you train

You see, I feel anxiety is our warning system that there is an imbalance. It’s our body’s way of surviving stress or opposition to our balance. But when think we can’t change something or have a victim mindset, it’s difficult to break free of systems that keep us imprisoned.

What we have been exposed to does not mean it is healthy for us. It is also doesn’t mean we are stuck with what’s been imprinted on us. Because the reality is – what we learned may go against the natural essence of who we really are and what is best for us as individuals – resulting in anxiety.

What to do with this guide

Jot down your notes on any areas you would like to deepen your understanding and implement into your life. Go back through the series and highlight any areas that stand out the most to you. This is usually a good way to identify what you may be ready to work on. Areas that you may not be ready for or are irrelevant may not pique your interest so much. Listen in to what you feel drawn to. And explore that area.

Disclosure: I’m not a doctor or psychologist so please don’t view this blog post as the answer or antidote to anxiety. I recommend that you seek medical help if you are experiencing anxiety and its threatening your health or life. Please speak to someone if it’s serious or life-threatening.


Please note this article is based on my own experience, long-term practices, gaining feedback from clients. I have also included references via Psychological Science if you would like to do further research yourself via: Foundations of Sports and Exercise Psychology, 2015, Robert Weinberg and Daniel Gould.

error: Content is Copyright.