Anxiety is something that so many suffer with. It creeps up when we are least expecting it, and can even stop us from doing the things we really want to do.
It is a completely normal feeling to have, but it can get overwhelming and start to effect your life. It’s hard to carry on as normal when it can bring physical side effects like panic attacks, heightened emotions and nausea.
I like to think I am quite a confident person but anxiety is something I still suffer with! I find myself shaking, feeling sick and fighting back tears when it hits hard. However over the years I have found several ways to manage it, and the more I do these things, the easier it gets, so I wanted to share them with you!
Accept you have anxiety
The first stage in managing your anxiety, is accepting you have anxiety. If you can accept thats what the feeling is, it’s a lot easier to manage it. And if you can accept it, you can start to figure out what the cause of it is. For me, I know that my anxiety is triggered when I have to talk about myself with figures of authority. And from that I can recognise that it most likely stems from feelings of embarrassment and a fear of showing weakness. Being able to recognise that means I am able to work on it and figure out why I have these feelings!
If I know I have something coming up that is going to cause me anxiety, I like to prepare myself as best as I can. If it is something that can be scheduled like a meeting, I make sure it is first thing in the morning so that I don’t have too much time to overthink it. The night before I will make sure I get an early night, I will do things I find calming like have a bath, watch a film, and try to keep my mind off of whatever it is I feel anxious about. I ensure I have everything ready for the morning, and that I get up early enough that I am not going to be in a rush.
This allows me to be in the calmest frame of mind possible when anxiety does hit. If I didn’t prepare, chances are I would be running around in the morning, adding to the stress I am already feeling, and just making it worse!
Talk to someone
They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and it really does help. Talking to someone helps get your anxious thoughts out of your head, and friends and family will always try to reassure you and help you. You may be embarrassed or afraid, but the more you talk to people, the more you will see that these things are completely normal, and everyone has the same feelings from time to time.
Meditation can be a really good way of working through your emotions, whilst also calming your mind. When you are anxious it can be hard to control the thoughts in your mind which is why I like to use guided meditations or yoga to calm me. I used guided meditations and yoga it gives you something to focus on apart from your thoughts. For guided meditations I like to use the app Happy Not Perfect as it gives you little tasks to do, which is a great way to start getting into meditation, as it doesn’t feel as silly as sitting down in silence can do!
Or if that is still a little too holistic for you, following a simple yoga video will help to relax your body and your mind, and is a form of meditation that doesn’t really feel like meditation! Often I find a lot of clarity after my yoga classes, and since I started practicing yoga more often I’ve been a lot calmer in general!
Distract your mind
Whilst it is good to acknowledge your anxiety, sometimes you just need a distraction from it. Watching films, reading books, or even scrolling through Instagram can actually help! Not only will it distract you from what’s going on in your mind, mote often than not you will come across messages that will help you too. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been anxious about something, and I’ve been reading or watching a film, and there has been a some kind of message in the story that relates to what I’m going through. Even looking at positive quotes on instagram, often I come across the exact words I need to hear.
Breathe deeply and slowly
With my personal anxiety it mainly occurs when I am talking to people, so it can be really hard to control when I’m trying to hide it from other people. The best advice I can give is to breathe, long, deep, slow breaths, to calm yourself. Something I struggle with the most is getting emotional whilst I’m talking, I will feel absolutely fine, and then all of a sudden I have tears coming out of my eyes and I lose control over my voice. At this point I focus on taking deep breaths and answer in short sentences if people ask me questions, which helps me to control my outbursts.
I even tell people sometimes that I’m feeling anxious, and that I may randomly burst out crying, as then they are expecting it, so it’s not so embarrassing when it happens! But the main thing I always focus on is breathing, it’s amazing how a few deep breathes can really calm you.
In my experience, the more you deal with your anxiety, the easier it will get. I purposefully put myself in situations that are out of comfort zone, because the rush I get afterwards when I see that actually, I survived and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, helps to reduce my anxiety the next time.
I hope that by sharing the ways I deal with anxiety it can help others! It doesn’t always come easily, and I have days where I really struggle to get it under control, but it doesn’t need to take over your life!
If anxiety is something that is seriously impacting your life, you may need some help from someone else. Talking to your GP or a counsellor can be so helpful to get to the bottom of what is causing your anxiety, and they will help you to find better ways of coping with it!
Click here to see a list of helplines, charities and services that are there to help you with your anxiety!
Please share if you have found any other useful ways of dealing with anxiety!