Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted very much lately but I’ve spent the last four days in San Diego having a blast (you can see travel pics on my instagram). Anyways, I’d like to talk about something I’ve been dealing with for maybe the last three years-anxiety. I’ve always been an anxious and worrisome child. But it’s only been since the onset of my depression during college where I’ve been left with serious anxiety. Thankfully, I have healed from my depression but I think that my heavy case of anxiety has stayed.
Being unemployed after graduation, has increased my anxiety to maximum levels. My mind has been swirling for the past six months with thoughts of disappointment, failure, doubts, and unanswered questions which always leads to more anxiety and worries. Some nights I moan in bed thinking of how much I have failed to come close to my dreams. Some nights I cry just so I can let it all out because anxiety is an exhausting thing. If you suffer from severe anxiety it can leave you feeling extremely fatigued. If you also suffer from panic attacks, which I’ve only encountered twice, it can all feel like a very helpless situation. Anxiety sucks so much of the life and possitivity out of you.
Lately however, I feel like I have shed a lot of my anxiety. It’s not just because I got an internship lined up for this summer which takes care of some of my immediate worries, but a combination of easy practices, and learning to create a new mindset.
Tips to Stop Anxiety Beforehand
For the moments when you are feeling moderately anxious and stress I have found a few things that have relaxed me.
- Listen to Music–Whenever I feel anxiety start to simmer within me I immediately put on my headphones and listen to classical music. Yiruma is my favorite. It’s good to get out of your head when you feel anxious. There’s something about classical music especially that helps me feel more at peace. I also like to listen to the classical music station while driving.
- Stretch-Anxiety can have a physical toll on your body. I find that stretching as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep can help calm you physically and mentally.
- Eat Healthy-Whenever I eat unhealthy, processed, or fast-foods I feel lethargic and gross. On the flip side, eating fresh foods can help to perk up your mood and feed you with positive energy.
What To Do When Stressed
- Exercise–Running or any high-intense cardio work-out is a great way to battle anxiety. It transforms your negative energy into positive energy. I always end up feeling much better after exercising than I do before.
- Nature-I’ve just begun to realize how much of an effect nature can have on you. A simple walk outside, or better yet somewhere beautiful like a park or the beach can make you feel so at peace with yourself. Instead of focusing on your problems, being in nature sets your eyes on something beautiful and reminds you to enjoy life more.
- Talk to Someone-Now I’m not saying talk to just anyone, talk to someone who you are close to and won’t judge you. Talking to someone can really help you feel better. Sometimes all you need is a kind work of encouragement from someone who cares, to make you feel better. Talking is also important because it helps you to release your problems rather than holding it all in, which is really unhealthy. If I’ve learned anything this past few months, it’s that ignoring your pain doesn’t make it go away.
- Pamper Yourself-Sometimes you just need to treat yo self! Drinking hot tea and soaking in a bath can help to soothe your worries away. Having a beauty day can leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
- Do What You Love-For me, whenever I feel consumed with anxiety I find that writing poems helps a lot. Do what you love to do, whether that’s writing, painting, photography, singing, or anything. Practicing your gift-your talent will help you to reaffirm your passions and convictions while releasing you from the grasp of anxiety.
Create an Anxiety-Free Mindset
All of my tips and practices have helped to relieve some of my stress and anxiety in an immediate sense. However, to truly get rid of your anxiety you have to dig deeper. You have to create a new mentality that conquers anxiety itself.
- Accept What is Out of Your Control-I would get completely stressed and anxious over things that I had absolutely no control over. For example, I got so anxious over a list of questions I needed answered for an apartment I’d like to move into. But I’d have to wait for a day or two to get them answered. That may seem frivolous to some people, but for me that made me extremely anxious. Waiting for answers or really, waiting for anything that is unknown and is important always used to fill me up with anxiety. But one day I just thought, ‘I have no control over the situation. I have no control over other people’s responses. I have no control when I get a job.’ When I accepted that I felt a weight lifted. If I can’t control it, then why worry? It will sort itself out on it’s own terms. All I have to do is wait, so I might as well not feel anxious. It’s a hard concept at first, but when you think about it it’s very easy. Accept what is out of your control and don’t let that time waiting be wasted on worrying.
- Things Will Work Out-If you just have faith in yourself and choose to believe that things will turn out all right, it almost always will. Even if things don’t work out exactly when and how you want to (back to the control issue), things are only as bad as you allow yourself to feel they are. Anxiety is a strong force, but possitivity and will power is stronger. If you can’t control your circumstance, you can at least control how your mind reacts to life. Choose to believe from the beginning that hardships are temporary and good things will come. Saying it out loud is even better. Tell yourself, “Everything is going to be ok.”
- Be Grateful-Even in our hardships there is so much to feel grateful for. It can be difficult to feel grateful when you are surrounded by things that feel negative or disappointing. But I find that the cure for anxiety, worry, and stress is letting grattitude rest inside of you. Having a grateful heart, and visualizing in your mind all the good that is in your life will help you to create a new mindset that uses thankfulness as its foundation rather than anxiety.
- Trust in Something Greater-If I’ve learned anything in my life it is that love is the greatest force on earth, and that God is the source of that love. Whenever I feel anxious or stressed I pray. Whenever I pray earnestly and faithfully I can feel God lifting the heavy weight of anxiety from me. I truly believe that it is from my many prayers that my anxiety has decreased greatly this past month. Whenever you feel anxious or stressed, worried or depressed prayer is the greatest medicine because God is the greatest healer.
So that’s my advice for dealing with anxiety. I know not all of the tips or practices I talked about will work for everyone, but this is what has worked on me. Hopefully, one or two things I said will help you feel a little lighter and freer from anxiety. Ever since I suffered from depression in college, my eyes have been opened to the magnitude and hold of mental illness. If you are suffering from anxiety, so much that it prevents you from living a normal life the best thing to do is to talk to a professional. Sometimes friends and family won’t be able to understand what you are going through but a counselor or therapist will know. Also, there is absolutely nothing shameful about mental illness! It happens to more people than you think it does. The smartest and bravest thing to do is to ask for help.
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments what health related (or anything related) topics you’d like to read about next.