Everybody experiences anxiety in one way or another. Some days you can feel nervous, on edge, you have anxious thoughts. This doesn’t mean that you’re ‘suffering’ from anxiety, it just means you’re human. In my experience, suffering with anxiety means that on most days you’ll have negative thoughts, you’ll feel nervous, panicky, on edge. There doesn’t have to be a reason behind these feelings, it can just happen, and those are the times where I struggle more because I can’t find any logical explanation for it. I know to some people this might sound stupid. Surely if you can’t explain your feelings, then just stop feeling it, right? If it’s not worth worrying about, then don’t worry, right? Wrong. Anxiety is stronger than you think and it really takes time to learn how to deal with these thoughts and feelings. Some people think counselling is the answer to helping them, some people meditate, some people take medication. Personally, I haven’t found that any of these have helped me. I am currently completing an online therapy course, so maybe I’ll feel differently in a few months. I know some people are sitting there thinking that they can’t cope, and I know exactly how that feels. That’s why I thought I would share some of my own self-help tips on how to deal with anxiety.
I’ve tried a lot of things so I know roughly what works for me and what doesn’t. One of things I do is to remove myself from social media and personal interaction, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel if you take just 10 minutes to focus on yourself and not worry about what your friends are doing, or trying to maintain a conversation. Social media is definitely a big cause of my anxiety. I have low self esteem and confidence, so I’m constantly comparing myself to others and this is a very dangerous thing to do. I don’t want to quit social media, because I shouldn’t have to. If I quit then I’m just letting anxiety win, and I’m not prepared to do that. So instead, I remove myself for just a few minutes to focus on calming down. Maybe it’ll take 10 minutes, maybe it’ll take 2 hours, it doesn’t matter how long as long as you’re focusing on yourself for a change. I’ve found that going off social media for a short time helps me to think clearly and rationalise my thoughts, and you’ll be surprised at how much it can help.
If I’m feeling particularly anxious in a situation and I can feel it building up and I start to get panicky, I’ll remove myself from the situation. This could be feeling anxious in work or being out with friends. I’m not saying to run away from it, because you need to tackle these things head on. Give yourself a few minutes to focus. It’s important to remove yourself from anxious situations, only for a moment, just to compose yourself and try to get into a better headspace. That way, when you feel ready to continue, you can go back to doing what you were doing and you’ll feel a lot more clearer about the situation. I know some people would feel uncomfortable with just walking away for a few minutes, because they don’t want people to focus on them or think they’re being rude. My answer to this is simply don’t care about other people. I know that’s rich coming from me, considering I’m always focusing on others, but it’s only a few minutes and you could just say you’re going to the bathroom. Or if your friends/work colleagues are aware of your anxiety, then just be honest and say that you need a few minutes. If they are really your friends, they would understand and if your work doesn’t agree with that then I would suggest finding a company that do provide support. You cannot be in a working environment, when you spend more time there than anywhere else, and not have support. You are important and you deserve to be surrounded with the best support.
Another thing I do to help myself is to write. You don’t have to write about your feelings, although this is very soothing. You can just write anything that comes to mind, or that topic you’ve been wanting to write about for ages. Just do it! This is why I’m blogging a lot more recently. I’ve found that having something else to focus on really calms me down, and I feel so much more relaxed after doing so. If writing isn’t your kind of thing, then just do something that you enjoy doing. Watching your favourite film, baking, going for a walk, whatever it may be just do it. Focusing on something that isn’t your own thoughts is very rewarding, and I’ve found it’s a great way to relax yourself. I’m writing this blog post at 06:50 because I’ve woken up feeling anxious and I’m finding that it’s calming me down already.
The last thing I will say is to talk. It can be talking to your parents, your friends, your work colleagues or even your pet. Just talk. Talking is the best medicine for this kind of thing, because the last thing you want to do is bottle it up until it builds into something bigger. I can’t express enough how important it is to speak to people about how you’re feeling. You don’t need to tell them anything you don’t feel comfortable saying, but just make sure that you’re speaking to somebody because it’s honestly so so important.
I hope this has given at least one person a way to help themselves, because you can do it. I’m not saying to only use self-help techniques, because counselling or medication may be needed to help you overcome this. But in between this, it’s important to try and help yourself too. You’re strong enough and you can overcome this. It may take a few months, a few years, but you’re improving everyday and you can do this.