Anxiety is something I’ve had most of my life, although just this year it has gotten so much worse. I went from being nervous when doing presentations in class, to not even being able to look someone in the eye while walking in the hallway. It’s a problem that so many people struggle with every day, so I’d just like to give out a few tips and tricks on how I deal with my anxiety. Enjoy!
1. Deep Breathing
You’re probably told so often that deep breathing helps, but honestly, I will tell you this a thousand times over, it does. When you get nervous or have an attack, whatever you call it, your breathing becomes much, much more shallow. This stresses your brain and body out because it needs air. So when you start your deep breathing, your brain is told that everything is fine because you are getting the amount of oxygen you need. It’s easy and simple, and useful in any situation. To practice deep breathing properly, you should count to around 4 while inhaling, hold for 6 seconds, and then exhale for 8. If this is too hard and long, you can easily divide these numbers by two so that they’re shorter. As your breath balances out, increase the length of each segment. You might have to do this for a while, but it’s honestly the most simple tactic, and works more than you’d expect if you do it properly.
Ah, the one everybody tries to avoid as much as possible. Now, before you exit the tab thinking ‘Ah, who does she think she is, trying to get me to exercise? You’re trying to give me tips to better my mental health, not my physical health!’ I’m not telling you to go on a diet, or start exercising daily. If that’s what you want to do, then by all means you’re completely welcome to. But what I’m saying is that if it’s an option at the time when you’re nervous, go for a run! It can be 2 minutes, 5, 10, it doesn’t matter. Just get you’re body exhausted. I find it helps because after, I feel so tired I don’t care about anything. It helps in other ways too. It will boost your confidence so that you feel better about yourself (anxiety can be a confidence issue, so this is a good thing.) And will also urge you to drink more water. You may not think it, but water has so many healing properties and will help you feel healthy. Exercise is all ’round a great thing, and you don’t have to be an athlete, or do it regularly, to use this tactic.
3. Put Your Problem into Perspective
Is this really going to affect your entire life? I know personally, when I get an attack it’s normally because I forget that I’m still going to be alive after the event I’m nervous for happens. I’ll literally feel as though that’s it, after this one presentation I will legitimately die. But 99.9% of the time, there are no killer crocodiles or mass murderers hiding behind the desks in the classroom waiting to ambush me as I do my presentation. And usually, although they might look it, the students aren’t killer crocodiles either. In fact, and I hate saying it, because they all hide it so well, but everyone else is probably super nervous too. Maybe not as much as you, no, but they definitely are. You’re all in the same boat, usually. So just think to yourself when you have an attack, does my life depend on this moment? Usually it doesn’t — you’ll have the chance to re-do the presentation or apply for another job plenty of times in your life.
4. Tell Someone
I personally, am someone who hates human interaction. I don’t enjoy talking to people about how I feel because it makes me feel as if I’m weak, or problematic. But trust me, you and I, we aren’t weak or problematic. People love hearing about how we feel because it tells them we trust them. Especially if you’re usually closed off. And it doesn’t have to be a parent (although they could probably help you the most) but maybe a friend you really trust. I know I have one friend who I value more than anything in my life because she lets me talk about anything with her, without making me feel as if I annoy her. Find someone like that. If you already do, great, tell them how you feel and they may be able to help you in little ways (such as ordering food at coffee shops, coming with you to throw out trash in public, etc.) And if you don’t, you should develop a friendship with someone so that they can support you. Even a therapist or councillor could be someone who could help. Who do you think you could tell, and what ‘secret sign’ do you two need to invent in order to alert them that you need help?
Okay, I think that’s that! I really hope that helped someone, I know these suggestions helped me. Below are just a few apps that I use that are great for staying in the present, and just generally keeping positive and appreciating the small things in life.
Has a breathing monitor, and other great methods of keeping calm.
Has great guided exercises to do when you’re in a quiet place to help remain calm.
- What’s Up?:
Has great small games to keep you distracted and take your mind off of whatever’s bugging you.
- Booster Buddy:
This app is great for appreciating small things, staying positive and generally makes you feel very good about yourself.
Hopefully that helped, and remember: You are strong. You are loved. You are doing great.