We have all felt anxious at one point, and for some it’s way more than others. Regardless of how many times we have held the weight of such a feeling, it’s simply not enjoyable. As someone who has anxiety, I do my best to help relieve the attacks as much as I can, and today I will share some strategies that have worked for me. Disclaimer— I am not a licensed professional, just someone sharing some things I have picked up over the years.
1. Acknowledge, don’t feed
This is the most important one to me! You have to redirect your train of thought to the best of your ability. Let’s say, for example, that you’re starting a new job.
Feeding thoughts—Oh no, what if I get lost? I am going to mess up! Nobody will like me.
When I feed into my anxiety, I’m not only affecting my mood but my performance as well because I am too worried about all the things that can go wrong rather than what’s in front of me. Now, when I am feeling anxious, I try to acknowledge why I feel the way I do and give myself some sort of reassurance.
Acknowledging thoughts– I am nervous for my first day because I don’t know what to expect, but I know if I have a question someone will be there to answer it. I am looking forward to learning new things and meeting new people.
2. Go outside
It’s as simple as it sounds, when I am stressed, I love to go outside and get some fresh air. Hearing nature, feeling the breeze, and the warmth of the sun gives me a feeling I can’t find if I am trapped away inside.
3. Find a hobby
Finding something you enjoy is a great outlet to let go of any built-up tension you may be holding onto. Whether that’s expressing yourself through art, running, or even baking you may find peace in what you’re doing.
Controlled breathing lowers your heart rate, blood pressure, and ultimately reduces stress! I like to use the Breathe app on my Apple Watch, but there are many different apps and even YouTube videos that do guided breathing activities.
5. Be mindful of your diet
I am not saying you have to change your whole eating lifestyle but be mindful of the things you are ingesting. A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but caffeine may worsen your anxiety. When I over consume caffeine, I feel terrible and anxious; but I do love some coffee so I ask for half decaf or aim for the drinks with overall less caffeine. As there are foods that are bad for anxiety there are also those that may help such as: blueberries, green tea, yogurt, spinach, and so much more!
Lack of sleep can intensify anxiety! Make sure you are getting enough sleep; your body needs to rest.
Meditation helps you relax, which doesn’t leave much room for the thought of worry or streams of stress. Online you can find many guided meditations or you can even download an app on your phone that has meditations and will remind you to meditate as well!
Having someone to confide in can help you tremendously. Sometimes when we feel apprehension, we may think we are alone. The truth is that you’re never alone, there is always someone whether that’s family, friends, God, a mental health professional, or even a pet that would always be there to listen to you. Personally, after a venting session I feel a lot more at ease and even validated as an individual because I am reminded that it may not feel like it now, but it will be okay.
I hope that you have found a strategy that may work for you! At the end of the day, just know you are not alone even when it feels like it.
By Kaylee Smith, Volunteer at The Kim Foundation