Dealing with anxiety is a daily accurance. It almost never goes away. Because of this, it can sometimes get in the way of your normal day to day activities. Having dealt with anxiety myself for many years, here are a few tips that have helped me on many occasions.
I am starting with the one that has helped me the most and that is downloading an app that helps people with anxiety. This may seem straightforward, but I have had people look at me funny when I tell them I have the app Calm on my phone to help me.
Now, there are a dozen different apps to download and use but Calm is the one I chose. It has many different things to help you. Not only when you have an anxiety attack but also to help you understand and control your anxiety. There are different subjects that it can help you with. For example, stress, focus, self-care or personal growth.
My favourite one is Breathe. This is the one I wanted to talk about. It shows a circle that in turn shows you when to breathe in, hold and breath out again. For me, this has helped a lot during my anxiety attacks.
Anxiety is something that, for the most part, goes on in our heads. So, it can be a good idea to write down any thoughts you have that you think that relate to your anxiety. What I mean by this is that there are moments where you won’t do something because a voice in your head tells you not to. Write this down. This way, you can see what activities, which places or even which people are difficult areas for you. When you know the cause, you can start the process of overcoming your anxiety.
You don’t only have to write about the negative things. One day, you will have ignored that voice in your head and still went to that restaurants with your friends! It may seem as a small win, but you should be very proud of yourself. Write it down in your journal so you can look back at your wins at a later time when things are starting to get bad again.
During an anxiety attack I, for example, want to be alone to catch my breath and calm myself down. Offcourse this will be different from anyone else. But, for the people who are like me in this department, you can take a break from whatever you are doing to calm yourself down. This is something I struggled with for a long time. I would wait until the evening when I was alone to finally deal with the attack. Holding it in is only making it worse. Tell the person, or don’t if you don’t want to, that you need to calm down for a minute.
This one time I was with my niece in the city centre of Edinburgh on a very busy day. When I woke up that day I knew that I was extra sensitive to the things around me which makes the anxiety worse. And sure enough, when I was in the middle of a Primark store, I could take it anymore. I told my niece, who actually knows about my anxiety, that I had to get away from the people for a minute. Luckily, there was a park across the street so we went in the park and sat on the grass. I opened my Calm app and breathed for a couple of minutes.
Now, I know that there aren’t onvenient parks everywhere. I was very lucky for this. But you can go to the bathroom or any other room then the room you are in. And if you are outside then find a quiet spot you can calm down. It is worth it trust me.
After my little breakdown in the park and my breathing exercises I felt so much better. The extra sensitivity was gone, and I could enjoy the day again. It all comes down to either letting yourself have the breakdown or not but calming down after. Try to adjust what I told you to make it the best for you.
Another thing that helps me a lot is reading books, watching shows or films. It is a way of not dealing with your own life for a minute and focus on someone else’s. This is a temporary solution! It will not ‘fix’ your anxiety. But, on stressful days it can help calm you down. I know some people don’t like to read or watch shows and films, but, I am sure that there is something else that can take your mind of the stressful thoughts.
You don’t have to get outdoors either. Unless, all your hobbies are outdoors but then it shouldn’t be a problem for you because you are going to do something you like. Even working out, get your heart rate up, is a good way to lose some stress. Just try it.
I saved the most difficult one for last. It will take a lot of strength and motivation that you may not have at first. Stand infront of a mirror and talk to yourself. Weird, I know. But I am serious. Nothing negative but all positive thig. I want you to tell yourself that you are strong. That you CAN accomplish things. Tell yourself that tomorrow you are going to go to that event you where thinking about bailing on for days now. Do this every day. Stand there for 5-10 minutes hyping yourself up.
Why did I say this is the most difficult one? Because, you have to start believing what you tell yourself. When you tell yourself you are strong, feel strong. When you tell yourself you are an amazing human being, feel amazing. Because you are.
I hope I helped, even if it is only one of you. Anxiety can suck. If any of my tips helped you, let me know. Or if you have something that helps that I didn’t mention please let me know as well!