I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time and over the years I’ve learned how to deal with it. If you saw me on a daily basis or knew me it would be hard to imagine that I even have anxiety. I’m very mellow and I always go with the flow but there are times when my anxiety has gotten so bad that it has caused me to self sabotage. I’ve turned down jobs and opportunities because my anxiety was telling me I couldn’t handle it. On the daily, I do very well with it and I’ve worked really, really hard over the years so that it wouldn’t take over my life. Going away to school was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and getting a new job or traveling can be very anxiety inducing for me. A lot of my anxiety is caused by either a separation of some kind or from guilt. If I go on vacation with my boyfriend, I’m separated from my family and I end up feeling guilty that they couldn’t come. I always spend the first day on a lounge chair with a big pair of sunglasses quietly suffering and waiting for the anxiousness to let up. But everyone has their struggle and this is mine. There are so many people who have anxiety in this day and age of over stimulation and stress so I thought I would share some things I have learned that can help reduce or even help eliminate anxiety over time. Enjoy 🙂
1.) Educate yourself: I think this is one tip that is often overlooked but personally, I love being educated on different topics and if you suffer from anxiety it helps to know what is going on in your brain. Once you realize this is an issue with your brain and there is no real danger going on on the outside, you will be better able to deal with the anxiety. I always tell my sister when she has anxiety, if everyone around you is fine you should be too. The problems only exist within your own mind. Obviously, this only applies to anxiety which is caused by fears that don’t really exist. If you’re actually in a hostile situation or a situation that is unsafe that is causing anxiety then you need to listen to that signal and try to get out. But a large majority of the time we overreact and overthink because of what this disorder is telling us and we cause so much stress and turmoil when we don’t need to be feeling that way. Learn about it, talk about it and know that you’re going to be okay. Helpful Article
2.) Eat well and drink water: I know, I know you’ve heard it a million times. Your grandma has told you, your mom has told you, now I’m telling you but it really does help! Sometimes you feel like a hot mess but you just need some water. Feeling dehydrated or being dehydrated and not knowing it isn’t going to help your anxiety, it’s only going to make you feel worse. When it comes to food some people say the gut is like a second brain and what we eat can greatly affect our anxiety. I actually picked up a book over the winter called Eat Yourself Calm which I have yet to read (oops) but I got it because I want to eat better and I want to keep my mind healthy. I’m a big believer in healing yourself from the inside out and using food as medicine before going to other alternatives.
3.) Get out of the house: There is no worse feeling than feeling like you’re trapped in the house with nowhere to go. It’s just you and your anxiety hanging out alone and you feel like you’re on the verge of a meltdown. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Go for a walk, go to a park, go to the store. If you have work to do go to a public place like a coffee shop or Starbucks. Just get outside, breathe in fresh air and know that you are not alone. There is life outside and it’s important not to shut yourself out.
4.) Be productive: If you feel well enough try to get stuff done. It’s a distraction and you’re improving your life. Maybe you can clean the house or get some work done. Maybe you can start a new workout regimen. Organize your closet and make your space presentable. If you have a lot of clutter clear it out. It can be very therapeutic to get some stuff done and to create a space that feels warm, safe and inviting.
5.) Exercise: Release the stress and let the endorphins flow. Do a workout you enjoy and do it in a place you feel comfortable. Even if it only makes you feel better for 30 minutes it’s still worth it and your body will thank you for it in the future.
6.) Pamper yourself: Light candles that have calming scents like lavender or vanilla and take a bath. Pet your cat or dog and cuddle up with a good book or one of your favorite movies. Take care of yourself and know that you’re worth something.
7.) Meditate: This is something that is very, very new to me but I’ve been trying to do it more. I want to make it a part of my daily routine eventually and it’s something that can really help you gain control of your thoughts. You can start small with just ten minutes a day like I’ve been doing and you can increase as time goes on. There are apps you can use, you can listen to music or you can just sit in silence. Meditation releases your thoughts and helps you to breathe deeply and focus on nothing for a little while.
8.) Focus on the bigger picture: You are one small blip on the screen and even though it may feel like your problems are consuming you, they may be small in comparison to other things going on in the world. I always like looking up at the sky and reminding myself how vast the world is. Just because something feels earth shattering in your world doesn’t mean it feels that way for other people. Remember that there is a big world out there that is much bigger than some of the things you’re worried about.
9.) Surround yourself with people who understand: There is nothing worse than being around people who mean well but just don’ get it. Anxiety is not sadness, loneliness or regular stress and it can be very frustrating to be around people who don’t get that. Know that these people mean well but they simply cannot understand what you’re going through. If you are a person who doesn’t have anxiety but has friends with it just remember that they can’t help what they’re feeling. You may not even have to say anything, just be there for them. And remember never mock a pain you have not endured.
10.) Get help: Lastly, don’t feel bad if you need professional help. I went to a therapist when I was 14 and it greatly helped me to find healthy coping mechanisms and to better understand why I was anxious. Since then, my anxiety has been much better and I’m better able to cope. When I first started going I didn’t like it at all but over time I really started to improve so if you go give it a chance.
I hope this list helps some of you. Please remember that this advice is just based off of my experience and I’m not a medical professional. I’ve really gotten to a good place in my life with my anxiety and I continue to push myself to do things I want to do even if my anxiety tells me not to. Comment below and let me know what helps you guys cope with your anxiety. I wish you all the best of luck and so much happiness!