How To Cope With Anxiety

I’m just going to put it bluntly, anxiety is shit. I have dealt with it daily for over 10 years. Most of the time it isn’t bad enough to rule over my day, but those days/nights where my anxiety is so intense that I can barely catch my breath are awful. I had my first one of those creep up on me after months of nothing last night. I got through it in an unusual way, so I’ve decided to compile a list of quick fixes and long term treatments you can do if you’re struggling with your anxiety!
Quick Fixes

  • Distraction

I always find that the first trick I turn to when I feel anxious is to distract myself, whether that be on my phone, a game, putting the TV on or simply going for a walk. Sometimes that is literally all you will need. A distraction long enough to make you forget about what you were anxious about in the first place. Often I’m not even sure why I feel anxious or what thought triggered my feelings, so I find doing something different will change my train of thought.

  • Shout it out

Sometimes I find that I mistake frustration for anxiety, or even that my frustration and stresses create the anxiety. If this is something you feel happens to you then my suggestion is to just let it out.

– Go and find a quiet place and shout out your frustration. 

– Maybe nominate a friend that you can call and just rant to (offer the same back to them for if they ever need it, of course)

– Crying always helps. Don’t be ashamed or too proud to cry. Of course if you feel like crying or you do cry very often, then what you’re feeling may not just be anxiety, so please visit your doctor (see long term treatment for more information)

Basically any way to let out some emotion will help. This is a tip I have picked up very recently and it works very quickly for me. It releases pent up stress that’s boiling inside and you will feel better and fast.

  • Talk it out with someone you trust

I know it may feel hard to talk about how you’re feeling, and it’s difficult to even know where to begin but talking it out with someone I trust helps me feel like I’m not so alone. Even if the person I have told doesn’t have anxiety themself, at least they understand why I’m acting a little strange or why I’m more fidgety than normal. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised how understanding most people are.

So if you feel like you can talk to someone about it then do it, it will help!

  • Deep breathing

This trick is probably the oldest one in the book, but it’s a tried, tested and true way of alleviating anxiety symptoms. Simply sit up straight and breathe 8 seconds in through your nose and 5 seconds out through your mouth. Carry this on until you feel calm again.

  • Keep your feet on the ground.

I often find that when I’m feeling anxious my head spins and I almost feel like I’m not in my own body any more. Putting at least one foot on the ground helps your body regain balance and work out where you are. This technique is called “grounding” and is also used for people who are suffering with symptoms of vertigo.

  • Ride it out.

A few years ago a therapist told me something that I’ve always tried to remember when I’m feeling anxious. What goes up must come down. This means that your anxiety will only get so high and then it will slowly drop and go away. If you’re able to ride it out, then ride it out because I promise you, every time after that it will get easier.
Long term treatments

  • Change what you put in your body

    In every way possible, look after yourself! Eat as healthily as you can. Being overweight and eating the wrong food can often give you symptoms that mimic anxiety, which would in turn make you worse. Cut out alcohol (or cut down at least). Quit smoking, not just for your anxiety but for your general health too.

    • Exercise

    As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a walk can distract you from a panic attack. Not only that, exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Also, of course exercising will keep you fit and healthy.

    • Talk to your GP

    For a very long time I’d avoid speaking to my GP about my anxiety because I was worried that they would just shove me onto medication and I didn’t want to take anything. After now working in a GP surgery and seeing and speaking to my colleagues about anxiety I have learnt that there are so many different ways of treating/dealing with it. You can:

    – Get your Doctor to refer you for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)

    – Your GP can also help advise and monitor your lifestyle, ask what help is available.

    – Your GP can also recommend self help websites.

    – Medication. I used to have this massive stigma in my mind about taking medication for my anxiety. I was convinced I didn’t need it and that they just cover up the problem rather than solving it and I didn’t want that. I do now fully support medication for anxiety because once I had heard and seen how it helps people, I knew I needed to try it. 

    It was hand on heart the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. The Doctor explained that it resets the chemical levels in your brain that cause you to feel the way you do. I’ve now been on medication for 6 months and I’m happier than I’ve been in years. My anxiety still creeps up on me, but nothing like it used to.

    There are many different types that the Doctor can prescribe you, so go and speak to your GP.

    Also, don’t forget to…

    I really hope that my tips can help someone. I know only too well how horrible it is crawling through the internet trying to find help. Do you have anything else that you do when you’re anxious? I’d love to know!

    Much love xxx

    • Courtney

      I suffer with anxiety, I know when I am going to have a melt down but I find that chewing gum helps me. It seems to stop my chest feeling as tight, I guess I concentrate on chewing and it forces me to breathe normally :)

      • missporkpie

        I used to chew gum too! I've managed to stop now. I think I chewed it because the minty flavour helped with the nauseating feeling you always get! X

    • Nicole Roder

      I have suffered with anxiety for years as well, and I am completely unashamed to say that Zoloft helps me immensely. It is hard, as you say, to get over that initial stigma that comes with psychiatric medication, but it helps so much, and if you deny yourself a treatment that works just because of stigma, you're only hurting yourself. Do your kids have anxiety too? Mine do, and one thing that I find helps with them is the book The Anxiety Cure for Kids by Elizabeth DuPont Spencer. Very creative method.

    • bohemiannation

      I love how you give short-term and long-term solutions in here. I definitely agree that distraction can work for a bit - have you heard of the method of grounding? Looking around you and naming five objects you can touch, five objects you can see, etc? Kind of the same concept of distraction. Breathing, walking, all helpful things for me when I'm anxious!

    • bohemiannation

      I really love how you give tips for short-term and long-term help for anxiety. I totally agree that distraction can sometimes help. Have you tried the grounding method where you look around where you are and name five things you can touch, five things you can see, five things you can hear? It's helpful to me sometimes. I also really like the ideas of walking, talking to someone, and BREATHING! It seems so simple but when I'm anxious I'm like barely breathing at all haha! Great post!

    • ssantoro555

      I have a few friends that have anxiety, one more extreme than the other, but I try my best to help them both through tough times. This is a great post for people to understand that there are ways they can learn to cope! Great job!

    • Jenn Wang

      Love your mantra! (And yes to food, vodka, and all things shiny haha!) If you haven't dealt with anxiety at some point in your life, you're definitely not normal. Thanks for the great tips. <3 Jenn www.honeydewblog.com

    • Maggie Bera

      I find talking it out with someone you trust to be incredibly therapeutic. Putting words to your feelings can help you differentiate between rational and irrational thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

    • This is a great post!

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