Tips to Cope with Anxiety

Anxiety is a huge part of my life, and not one that I want. It really interferes with my daily life and I find myself wishing daily that it wasn’t something I had to cope with. The fact of the matter though, is that I do have to live with it and so do lots of other people, so I wanted to share some ways that I deal with my anxiety.

Go to a Professional.

This is and will always be my first bit of advice. Self care and coping skills go a long way but actually speaking to a GP will probably help a lot more. Medication can do great things to help, and if you’re not into it there are lots of other things your doctor can recommend or help you to get that can help. I know its really difficult to speak about, and it can be difficult to even show up but its definitely something you should do and its a great excuse to buy yourself a huge piece of cake (or just a huge cake) on your way home.

Learn what distracts you.

For me, when I’m having an especially anxious time for whatever reason I usually either read or listen to some music. Thats just what helps, I don’t think I’ve left my house alone without listening to music for at least a decade. Even with music to help leaving my house is terrifying. Figure out the little things you can do to help calm yourself down. Maybe music will help you like it does me, or maybe one of those little fidget cubes will help. Even if it seems silly, for example I had a friend in college who carried around a tiny teddy in her pocket and just held it in her hand when she needed to, do it. If it helps, its not silly.

Know your limits.

Its always good to put yourself outside of your comfort zone sometimes, but know how far is too far. For example, I love going to see live music but it makes me super anxious. Stood at the front or back I’m anxious but able to enjoy the show, I know that if I ended up stood in the middle surrounded by people I would have a panic attack and need to go home. Doing things that scare you and make your heart beat faster are great but just don’t push it to the point where theres not even a slight thrill to it anymore.

Find people who understand.

This can be tricky, I know that well, but with the whole world at our fingertips through phones and computers theres someone out there that you can make friends with who will understand you. I got super lucky with this and now have the most amazing ‘irl’ friends who are fully understanding and thats really helped me to make progress with my mental health and life in general. Anxiety can leave us feeling very blocked out and outside of society in all the worst ways so having good people, or even just a good person, who is understanding and empathetic can go a really long way.

Remember self care.

Self care can seem silly sometimes, I’ve just had a panic attack and spent an hour crying and now the internet is telling me a bath will help? But it is important every day. Not just the cutesy stuff like fun bath bombs and pamper sessions, more so the remembering to eat and drink some water, have a shower and pay your bills. Looking after yourself is important for both physical and mental health and the harder it is to do the more pay off you’ll get from doing it. Of course, the sweet self care stuff like watching your favourite show and ordering take out after having an hour long bath with a lush bath bomb is great too and something we all totally deserve, but remember the daily self care things that will help you in the long run.

Remember you are not your anxiety.

Anxiety is a piece of shit, and thats putting it nicely. You are not. You have anxiety but thats not what you are. It can be difficult when it feels like its ruling your life, I’m forever saying no or cancelling things I really wanted to do because I’m just too anxious and it sucks hard. Anxiety is controlling and consuming and hard to deal with, but we are all doing that everyday because we’re strong and learning all the time about everything. We are all doing amazingly to live while constantly feeling anxious but it is just a feeling. Your anxiety doesn’t get to do all the amazing things you do, you’re doing that all by yourself because you’re more than your mental health, and that applies to any mental health not just anxiety.

Do you have any more to add to this? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you do since I’m constantly trying to learn new ways to cope with my anxiety.

-Dana

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