May 23rd 2018
A simple guide to showing your anxiety who the boss is~
I have anxiety. I used to be afraid to say that on a public forum because of the stigmas around anxiety and the people who have it. Being called “over-dramatic” or being told that I should just “calm down” have been things I have heard from many who did/do not understand the true cause for and impact of anxiety in a person’s life.
I went into detail about my anxiety specifically in a post called A Piece of Me and I was met with tons of really great feedback. However, to give you a brief synopsis, my anxiety is not simple caused by stressful situations, but instead caused by chemical imbalances in my body. My anxiety is heightened as a result of stress, but is not caused by it. However, I have taught myself a few simple tips and tricks for keeping my anxiety under control that I thought I would share for anyone going through something similar.
- Healthy distractions help a lot- Finding your anxiety outlet is something that can be really life-changing. Whether it is writing, painting, exercising, playing music, playing video games, watching Netflix, or talking on the phone to a friend, productive distractions are a great way of lessening the blow of high anxiety. Although a distraction won’t push anxiety off completely, getting your mind off of the physical sensations of anxiety really helps you get through flare ups and attacks more easily.
- Focus on your breathing- I found the GIF above on Instagram a while back and thought it was really helpful. I don’t know the original creator, so I can’t credit them, but I think that this is a great visual for taking mindful breathes. 4-7-8 breathing is also another great breathing technique I learned in psychology my freshman year of college. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold at the top of the breath for 7 seconds, then exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this until your breathing and anxiety stabilize. It is a really great thing to do when you’re in a pinch and can’t retreat to a distraction activity.
- Limit caffeine intake- This one is something I have been working on for years. Caffeine drives my anxiety crazy so I try to limit it. Learn how much caffeine works well with your body and limit yourself to just enough.
- Take time for self-care- This one is very broad but very important. If you find that your anxiety is acting up more than usual, it is usually your body’s sign to take a step back and relax. Practice self-care in whatever way serves you best whether it be eating healthy meals, taking a bubble bath, or confronting issues that are causing you anxiety. A little self-care can go a long way.
- Get help- If you are having trouble managing and you really feel that you’re being set back by your anxiety or that it is interfering with your life, get help. Talk to a professional to see what they suggest. There are tons of options such as simply talking to a therapist, taking medication, or trying natural remedies. Seeking help doesn’t mean you’re too weak to handle your disorder, it means you’re strong enough to admit that you can do more for yourself by getting help.
Most of all, whenever you’re feeling anxious, know that you’re not alone.
If you have anything you would like to add or if you would simply like to continue the discussion, feel free to reach me in the comments below or through my contact page if you would prefer to speak more privately!