Anxiety is something so many of us deal with. Sometimes we worry if we said too little or too much. What could we have said? Did we say the right thing? What even is the right thing? Was it my fault? Am I to blame? What If I did this instead? Would it have changed the outcome?
We get so anxious and begin to overthink every life decision we ever made. If I am anxious about something it can be really obvious because I start rambling and may even say out loud what I am thinking. However, that is because I am a naturally open person and I don’t have much of a filter. But so many of us never really address exactly why we have anxiety or what it is we are anxious about. Some of us might be embarrassed or just don’t know how to express ourselves. There is no need to be embarrassed about having anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “Anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the U.S affecting over 40 million adults in the United States, age 18 and older.”
Even if you aren’t a naturally anxious person, chances are you still experience anxiety sometimes. It’s a normal reaction to things in life whether it be because of a test, a first date, waiting to hear back about a job, financial problems, waiting on a text, and yes how many likes you got on your Instagram post. Obsessing about how many likes and comments we get on social media is something I plan to delve deeper into, but feeling accepted on social media is something I will address on a later post.
Anxiety is actually a very common thing that many people deal with in their everyday lives. Some people have it more extreme than others and it may affect their everyday routines. In those cases, I believe it is helpful to speak to someone and to find something you love that you can channel your anxiety into. If your anxiety is caused by a traumatic event in your life then please do not try to repress it. Repressing bad memories will only make things worse. Believe me, I have been there and I have close friends who have too. The best thing to do is to confront it and talk about the event no matter how hard it might be. For more severe cases, there is medication that can be prescribed and no one should feel ashamed about that.
There are so many different forms of anxiety such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, numerous phobias, social anxiety, and so forth. Some people don’t even realize how much their anxiety affects their everyday decisions and behaviors. If you find yourself constantly jumping into unhealthy relationships, have low self-esteem due to being overwhelmed by tasks at work or school, are afraid to be in social settings due to various scenarios in your head, turn to alcohol or drugs to calm yourself down or are constantly questioning yourself…then you may want to take a step back and think about why you are feeling the way you are and how you can respond in a way that does not make you more anxious than you already are. Responding to your anxiety in an unhealthy way only makes things worse when you should be trying to make things better. It is the same with stress and depression. People who feel overwhelmed are more prone to these behaviors and the pressures from society to be “perfect” do not make it any easier. Below, you will see a list of more efficient ways to deal with anxiety.
I consider myself an anxious person but more so in the way that I overthink situations and constantly question myself like most of us do. Instead of staring at your phones all day as you wait in anticipation for a text or instead of over practicing a routine for your tryout, you should find something else to focus your time on. For me, writing is what helps me get out my anxiety (surprise, surprise!!). For you, it may be going to the gym, learning a new recipe, or simply just surrounding yourself with friends to distract you. It is the healthiest way to deal with anxiety and other things, such as depression and stress. When you do something that makes you happy, you forget about everything else even if it is for just a moment and that helps for a healthier and more positive you!!
7 things I do to deal with anxiety:
- IDENTIFYING TRIGGERS: To me this is the most important part of dealing with anxiety. Sometimes the trigger is easily identifiable and is something silly like I mentioned above (waiting on a text, etc.). However, if you can’t identify the problem, it makes it so much harder to deal with it. You need to write down anything and everything that has ever bothered you (at least this helps me understand what caused my anxiety). Sometimes the things that trigger us are what we least expect. An issue that has been repressed in the back of your mind may set off an anxiety attack. Maybe it is something you never told anyone about. Think about what was bothering you that day you suddenly got anxious. Once you identify what triggered your anxiety, you can come up with more specific measures to deal with the problem.
- SLEEP: If I can, I try to get enough sleep. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep if you can or set aside a twenty-minute nap during the day. But what happens if you are dealing with sleep anxiety or are prone to anxiety attacks? Then what? Well, I am someone who has suffered from anxiety attacks after going through traumatic events (loss of a friend, bad car accident, etc.). This is when I try to focus on my breathing and concentrate on taking deep breaths to calm me down. I then will make myself a sleepy time tea to get me in the mood to sleep. Sometimes I will play some relaxing music to ease my mind.
- EXERCISE: This is something that is proven to be healthy physically and mentally. It can help to get out all of your frustration and clear your head.
- PARTAKING IN A HOBBY I ENJOY: For me this may be writing or performing on stage. Like I mentioned before, not everyone enjoys the same things so your hobby might be reading, playing basketball, or playing guitar, etc.
- EATING HEALTHY: When I eat healthier, I feel better about myself so sometimes it helps to ease the anxiety. If I eat pizza or cake when I have anxiety then I find that it just makes me more irritable and anxious. Check out this awesome article on how changing your eating habits can ease your anxiety! https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441
- STAY AWAY FROM TECHNOLOGY: When I am anxious I try to take a mental break from my phone, from television, and my computer. Sometimes when I am anxious I fall back into the trap of overthinking things and we both know Google and social media can only make things worse. Before you know it, you will start googling things like “Why am I anxious?” “Could ___ be causing my anxiety?” If anything, you are going to make yourself more anxious from the answers that you might see and more often than not you are going to convince yourself you have some rare disease. Google might tell you something you don’t want to hear and that is the last thing an anxious person needs to read. I also find that social media overwhelms me when I am anxious. Instead, if you want to socialize with people while your anxious, talk to a good friend about it that will help you calm down. Real interactions are always better during times like these (Just make sure the person you are talking to won’t judge you or make you feel bad about your anxiety. Make sure it is someone you can trust). I am a good secret keeper so if any of you want to shoot me an email, visit my contact page and I would be happy to listen and give you some advice specific to your situation!!
- TAKE A WARM BATH: Hot showers are nice and all but nothing soothes me more than a nice bubble bath! I set the tone by dimming the lights, playing some peaceful music, lighting some candles, putting on a face mask, and of course filling my bathtub with bubbles and a relaxing bath bomb! If I’m feeling really fancy I will have a glass of wine with me too. What is more relaxing than that?!
What are some things you guys do to deal with anxiety? Do you have any tips? If so, comment below!