How I Cope With My Anxiety
I have horrible anxiety. To the point where I lose sleep, cancel plans, make irrational decisions, cry for no reason, yell at my mom . . . you get the point. I’m not exactly sure when or why or how it all started, but I can look back on my childhood and think “oh wow, I must have done that because I had anxiety”.
I started taking anxiety meds when I was in college when I finally felt like I couldn’t manage it on my own. I was having anxiety attacks at least once a week, going home on the weekends, and skipping classes. I stopped taking my meds almost immediately after, hating the way they made me feel, plus I felt like it wasn’t the best approach to figuring out the root cause of my anxiety. I still wasn’t quite sure how to cope, but I had at least made a dent in figuring out what did and didn’t work.
Fast forward to now, 24 years old, and sometimes my anxiety is worse than ever - but I know how to deal with it. I no longer take any modern medicine and have found that the more natural route is what works for me. I have let my anxiety completely control my life for way too long and am so happy to have found some ways to cope with it and also make me more of a generally happy person. I am in no way a professional on dealing with anxiety, nor am I saying this list will specifically help cure your anxiety. This is what has helped me, so I am hoping that sharing it could potentially help you, too.
Acknowledge that it’s there.
Trying to ignore your stress and anxious thoughts is only going to suppress the feelings . . . and guess what? They’re going to get worse and worse and eventually boil over causing a bigger problem. Dealing with your anxiety and acknowledging it at its onset will help you cope, while getting a better hold on why it came up in the first place.
Having someone to communicate with about your anxiety is extremely beneficial - on that note, getting a therapist isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Going to therapy helped me immensely, it’s nice having someone to talk to that has no idea about your life except what you share with him/her. In addition, practice positive self talk. Communicating with yourself in a positive manner can be much more powerful than you think!
I do this everyday for at least 10 minutes. Whether it’s in bed right when I wake up in the morning, during meditation, or at yoga, recognizing my breath helps my mind slow down and focus on nothing else but the mind/body connection to my breathing.
I take Ashwagandha everyday along with my other vitamins. This is an adaptogen that helps me naturally manage my stress. Taking this daily is a huge preventative measure for potential anxiety. Since I personally do not take any medication, this has been a great alternative.
This meditation technique helps you bring attention to each part of your body to help release any tension. Starting with your head, work your way down the body and notice any areas that feel particularly tense. This is an incredible practice for connecting the mind and body. Read more on this technique here.
It took me forever to finally start journaling! If I’m particularly anxious before I go to bed, I write down everything that could be a potential stressor. Even if I don’t have any clue what is causing my anxiety, it still helps. Mindful journaling is also a great way to challenge your mind and express your thoughts - it’s incredibly soothing.
Keeping everything in my planner helps me manage everything I have going on. Definitely a great preventative measure to any mishaps/stress that can come with planning and scheduling.
Social Media Detox.
I compare myself to others on social media all. the time. - I’m only human. This is a huge trigger for my anxiety so I make sure to do 24 hours without Instagram/Facebook once a week.
Y’all think I’m crazy for running for fun but exercise is my outlet for any stress and anxiety. I love the mental clarity it brings me and I love that something as simple as moving my body can help. Yoga, walking, long runs, weight training, barre, and so much more have been lifesavers when it comes to my worst days.
I love my morning routine. It gets me excited to get out of bed each day and helps me feel calm before starting my to-do list.
Getting into a good book is on thing that can completely take my mind off anything else. I hated reading in high school and never thought I would do it for fun - it’s a god send when I’m having bad anxiety to pick up a book.
If you’re suffering from anxiety like me, just know you’re not alone. Let me know if any of these things have helped you, too, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.