How to cope with anxiety
Having anxiety is difficult to explain to people. Sometimes, you feel like everything is falling into place, and the next, your world feels like it’s crashing down on you. Stress, feelings of neglect, worries about the future, all of these can combine into an anxiety episode or attack.
Anxiety hits different for everyone. Some people have a tingling sensation, but can still function normally, and for others, it’s much more intense. One can’t even leave the house without feeling anxious. In a case like this, you may need to seek help.
With that said, here are some ways you can cope with anxiety.
First, if you’re suffering from severe anxiety, it’s important that you seek help whenever possible. A therapist is vital when you have an anxiety disorder, as they can help you with your recovery journey. From identifying reasons why your anxiety happens, to teaching your techniques to manage your anxiety better, there are many ways that a therapist can help you. Going to therapy, be it in-person or online, can be a great way to tackle your anxiety.
Many people exercise not just to lose weight, but to reduce their anxiety and depression. Working out releases feel-good endorphins, stabilizing your mood. Working out can help with your sleep schedule as well, putting you to sleep faster and reducing your anxiety levels by quite a bit.
Anxiety can create a tough cycle of sleeping, where you’re up all night because of anxiety, and then that just makes it worse. Breaking the cycle is important, and you can do so through sleep hygiene. Unwind an hour before bed by taking a bath, not looking at a screen, and doing something that makes you tired. If you’re still having problems falling asleep, see a doctor.
In the long run, you should write down anything that you suspect triggers your anxiety. For example, if you’re in college, you may become anxious if you have a paper due soon. Writing out the paper earlier may help reduce your anxiety.
Of course, some triggers aren’t as cut and dry. With the help of a therapist, you can learn how to identify the more complex triggers, and should you have to come face-to-face with a trigger, learn ways to avoid an anxiety attack.
“Just breathe.” You may have heard this piece of advice quite often if you have anxiety. It’s vague but quite true. You should take a few deep breaths if you feel an anxiety attack coming on. Practice meditative breathing when you’re not having anxiety, and use it whenever you feel one coming on. There are many techniques you can use. Some prefer a deep, belly breath, while others like the 4-7-8 method, which is when you breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven, then exhale for eight.
This is a technique taught by many therapists, and it works for quite a few situations, including anxiety. Anxiety is often complemented by self-defeating or intrusive thoughts. Worries, negativity, and anything else bad your mind can muster is just a few thoughts you may face with anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you identify these self-defeating thoughts and allows you to replace them with something different.
Remember, it will pass
Knowing that your anxiety will pass is a great way to reduce its impact. When you’re having an episode, it can feel like forever. This especially applies to panic attacks. With those, they’re an entirely different beast. You may feel like you’re dying and feel an immediate sense of doom. However, by realizing that this is just your body playing tricks on you can reduce its impact and allow your episode to pass.
Have a support network
Besides having friends and family who understand and will help you with your anxiety, also consider a support group of other people who have anxiety. You may be able to find one lead by a licensed therapist, or you can find online forums and groups with people who suffer from anxiety. By connecting to other people who have a similar disorder, you can hear stories, trade tips, and work better to improve one another. Good luck!
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