I’ve not written a blog post in so long, not been feeling very motivated recently and ended up getting really anxious about posting a new blog post, which gave me inspiration for the topic of this post.
Anxiety is a horrible, debilitating thing which is so much more than just “feeling nervous.” Anxiety can be consuming and prevent you from doing things which you love doing. I feel like there’s a lot of ways which anxiety can manifest, from overthinking, panic attacks, avoidance and even participating in self destructive behaviours. It is something that can’t always be explained and because of this, it is so hard to avoid.
Most people will deal with anxiety during their life and it is often hard to find good coping mechanisms that work for you. Because of this, the things I list won’t work for everyone, unfortunately you have to try a few things and even then it can still be hard to cope with anxiety. However, finding coping mechanisms and distractions does make things a bit easier.
- The first thing I would suggest is speaking to a doctor if your anxiety is impacting negatively on your life. I know it can cause a lot of anxiety to see a doctor in the first place, I had trouble for years trying to find the courage to go to a doctor but it really is helpful. If you’re not ready to speak to a doctor, please speak to family or friends so that they can help too.
- With social anxiety, it can be easy to avoid situations which could make you anxious. Or getting blackout drunk so that you forget about how anxious you are. These are probably not the best thing to do and just limit yourself from situations where you could have a really good time. This will be different for everyone but the best thing for me is to ease yourself slowly into social situations. Speak to a close friend and ask them to come with you for support at a social event. Anxiety can make it difficult to even leave the house when it’s at its worse. On days like that it’s okay to stay in and look after yourself, but reaching out to a friend or finding something to at least get you out of bed really helps.
- I get a lot of anxiety with phone calls a lot of the time, which is a really common thing. When I get a call off an unknown number I tend to freeze and wait for it to go away. And it’s even worse when I have to call up somewhere (e.g. to make a doctors appointment). If it’s a phone call that needs to be mad, I find that it’s better doing it sooner rather than later. Otherwise I spend the whole day worrying about the phone call, unable to do anything else.
- When anxiety leads to panic attacks it’s so hard trying to work out what to do. I’m sure a lot of people have been told to, “just breathe slowly.” Which is really hard to do at the time, but does help. What helps me to regulate breathing is counting. For example, breathing in for seven and out for eleven. Or breathing in for five, holding for two and breathing out for five again. There are also gifs online which help with this, such as the one below.
- There are also a lot of apps to download which can help. Not all of them will be good, but some ones I like are: Calm, Headspace and Pacifica. They are mostly mindfulness / meditation / self reflection based and I think they’re quite helpful, I’m just really bad at getting into a routine of using them when I need to.
- If you are unsure about what is triggering your anxiety, writing a journal of how you feel and what you’ve done that day is a way that can help track your mood and see if there’s certain things which make your anxiety worse.
- Anxiety can also display physical symptoms. When I’m anxious in public I get really light headed or dizzy which makes me more anxious because I think I’m going to faint and embarrass myself. Another thing anxiety causes is sweating, which I hate so much – I swear I always have really sweaty hands which isn’t the nicest thing but is something I have to deal with. I haven’t really found a way to prevent these things from happening yet but I guess by trying to work on what makes me anxious and how to cope with that, the physical symptoms will start to become less of a thing in my life.
With anxiety management it really is a case of trying out things and seeing what works for you. Like I mentioned earlier, speaking to someone (whether that’s a friend or a professional) really does make things easier.
Anxiety is rubbish but it shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying life.
If anyone else has any methods they use to cope with anxiety feel free to comment! Hope everyone that’s reading is doing okay! And good luck to those doing exams! 🙂