Anxiety is not a fun thing to have. Most people have anxiety, even if it’s just a small amount. A lot of people don’t want to admit that it exists, probably because it’s not the most pleasant thing to deal with. I’ve been coping with my generalized anxiety for about three years now, and I’ve got some great methods to push through it.
First let me say, I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist or even a counselor. These are just things that I’ve found have helped me significantly through the years. If your anxiety is largely affecting your everyday life, you should seek other help. But if you are looking for a way to manage and relieve stress, this should be a nice post to read! Most of these things are easy, and some require more effort. The main thing I will say when dealing with anxiety is to learn to listen to yourself, because you are the only one who really knows what you need.
The kind of anxiety I have is generalized, and it isn’t usually triggered by anything specific, so keep that in mind.
-Become familiar with what makes you uncomfortable
For me, this is simple. I have a hard time with very crowded places like concerts, and I start feeling claustrophobic. The feeling that I need to get out of the area is what usually puts me into a panic. However, I recently went to a concert for the first time in a long time at the House of Blues in Boston, and I think I did really well!
-Let go of the idea that you can’t do things or be happy
There are a few things that I can’t do because of my anxiety, like having caffeine or drinking too much alcohol. But when you sit around and think about how you “aren’t allowed” to do those things, you’re only create destructive thoughts. You don’t need to do certain things to be happy. Many people have limitations, and that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other things that make you feel comfortable. As long as you are feeling in control and safe, you can continue growing as a person. Believe it or not, every single one of us has fears or set backs, we just don’t always know about them because it’s not a popular thing to talk about.
-Learn how to tell people about your anxiety
The worst thing is when you have to explain to people that you really don’t want more than two drinks because you’ll start panicking. Some people might treat you differently because of it, but that’s probably because they don’t understand, so do your best to communicate what makes you anxious so that they can help you if needed.
-Figure out what makes you feel better
For me, a bath always works. When I feel anxious, the first thing that happens is that I get nauseous. I do everything I can to calm myself down from that, so I try and make myself comfortable. This could be a bath or getting into bed early for the night.
It also helps for me to step away from whatever situation is upsetting me. If you are at work or with people who are starting to stress you out, take a second to use the bathroom or step outside for air. These are understandable things that people might need, and it gives you time to think and breathe. Once you feel more in control, head back in. At all times, remind yourself that you can keep going, and that you will be ok.
-Put things in perspective
Ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” And I understand, some things are important right this second, even if they won’t be important a year from now. But if you take a step back and admit that you can only do the best that you can do, the pressure won’t seem so great. Power on, acknowledging the fact that you will try your best, and that after some time, you’ll probably forget all about the situation. Things are so incredibly temporary.
-Take time to be alone
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve spontaneously left my dorm or my house and been gone all day without a plan. Sometimes the best way to fight anxiety is to just leave and wander.
-Keep your living space clean
Look, I get it. It’s 5:30 on a Wednesday and there’s dishes to do and you’re tired and your couch looks so comfy. But devoting a small amount of time per day to tidying up a bit will make you feel better (even if it’s just 15 minutes). It also helps to live amongst aesthetically pleasing areas.
-Have options for what to do before you go to sleep
One of my biggest sources of anxiety comes from the fact that I have to sleep every night. That’s right, I hate going to sleep.
It’s probably because I know I have to get up the next morning, so the pressure to fall asleep becomes so great that I end up staying awake most of the night.
I keep nice books near my bed so that I can look at beautiful pictures before I sleep. I also have whatever book I’m currently reading to make me sleepy. Sometimes I light candles or spray my pillow with a lavender spray. Other times, I watch a few episodes of something on Netflix until I pass out.
As I said before, the best way to battle anxiety is to listen to what you need. The truth is, anxiety is all created inside your head. That doesn’t make it any less real, but it does mean that you have the power to fight against it yourself.
I’ve had a great support network and a lot of friends who also suffer from anxiety, so they make me feel safe and happy. It’s really important to let people know when you’re uncomfortable, and most times they will be kind and will listen to you. If they don’t, they aren’t the kind of people you want to hang around anyway.
By being alone my last semester of college, I also learned how to rely on myself. When you know you can depend on yourself to stop anxious thoughts, you feel so much more empowered. I knew that I could help myself if needed, and that made a world of difference. All of these things are to help ease the tension that anxiety brings on. But getting to know yourself will absolutely fight off those stressful thoughts.
Let me know what your tactics are for battling anxiety. Are there any good playlists/albums that you recommend? I’m thinking of sharing a peaceful “nighttime” playlist to help with sleeping.
I’ll talk to you soon,