7 Ways To Help Your Anxiety
So I'm not saying this will cure your anxiety, heck it might not even help at all, everyone's different and different things work for them. However, it might help and so for that very reason I'm sharing with you what I do to help with my anxiety.
1. Journal - Up until a few months ago I kept a regular old journal where I just write all about my day, I also kept a journal whose sole purpose was for writing in when all the negative, anxious thoughts came flooding in. For me, having all the negativity and worry in one place and not in my 'normal' journal meant I could close it up and try to forget about it until next time I had to write in it. Recently I've started bullet journalling too, creating 'goal' pages for saving, for the blog, for life in general. Tracking my mood, writing pretty to-do lists and it has really helped my stress levels and in turn my anxiety. Writing my thoughts and feelings down helps me to better express and understand myself and my anxiety, even if you don't read things back just writing your anxious thoughts down and then tearing the piece of paper up could be cathartic.
2. Mindfulness - You need to take time for yourself and live in the moment, not worrying about the past or future and mindfulness can help you with this. It means being aware and accepting your feelings in a situation, being present. Not worrying "what if" but just living and dealing with the matter at hand in that moment. Mindfulness ties in with meditation, and just being able to connect with yourself and the space around you can help ease anxious repetitive thoughts. When my therapist first suggested mindfulness I thought it seemed very namby pamby and didn't fully understand what it meant and I saw it as this very spiritual thing that I would never achieve. It's so simple though. I started incorporating mindfulness into my mind very slowly at first, for example when taking a shower I would concentrate very thoughtfully on what I was doing, how the shampoo felt as I squeezed it into my hand, the smell of it, the texture against my scalp, the pressure of my fingers, the temperature of the water, the sounds. It then became easier to be "mindful" in other situations and ease some of my worrying by just being present.
3.Emotion Regulation - This is something I work on a lot in therapy, for me it is a way of getting to know my emotions. I am starting to become aware of what triggers certain emotions in me, for example anxiety or guilt, my physical and mental responses and the aftermath of my emotional response. Knowing your triggers, knowing how you will react to something will help you to cope and to combat it before it has even occurred.
4. Coping Strategies - Try and find something that helps you, even a tiny bit, so when a panic attack or those anxious thoughts come along it's less daunting and overwhelming. I use the 5 by 5, where I search for 5 things I can smell, hear, see, touch and feel. This makes my mind concentrate on something else, but it doesn't always help sometimes I can't just stop thinking. Then I use breathing techniques to try and lessen the physical aftermath of a panic attack. Also, if I'm in a group of people and start having a panic attack I try to find a way to be on my own or to leave, I hate people seeing me vulnerable and it adds to the anxiety of already experiencing a panic attack if I have people around me. My friends are great at understanding this, recently when I was out with them I started having a panic attack on the metro and they let me know that they were there for me but also let me go off and come back to them when I was ready.
5. Getting out of your head/negative cycle - Similar to coping strategies and far easier said than done sometimes you just need to try and get your mind to stop - I blast loud music in my headphones, really cheesy 90s pop songs or listening to ASMR ( autonomous sensory meridian response) sounds which are sounds that give you a sense of relaxation or bliss. There are so so many playlists on Spotify to try out!
6. Confront/Challenge Anxiety - If I avoided doing something every time it made me feel anxious I'd never leave my apartment again. I refuse to live like that - and you should too. Every time I have to do something that makes me anxious, especially on a bad anxiety day it proves to me that I CAN do it and next time I tap into that feeling. So, make that phone call, show up late, ask a stranger for directions (even if you know where you're going). Then you'll realise that all the "but what if they judge me?" or "what if they say something cruel?" is just your mind playing with you!
7. Finally, and maybe the most difficult of all you have to accept you can't control everything, you can't control your anxiety all the time sometimes you just have to accept it. You have to be kind to yourself and know that these moments will pass