I shared this post on my old blog a little while ago and I thought I would share it here. We are coming up to that time of the year where people are going back to school and college. This can be a very stressful time for people and can cause a lot of anxiety, when I was in college I suffered a lot, but found ways to help myself cope with it.
The following tips are things I find useful when I’m suffering with anxiety. Anxiety is different for everyone and the ways in which people deal with it are also different.
I have found many tips online and some have helped and others not so much.
I have decided to share these with you in hope, they may be of use to someone suffering with anxiety.
1. Listen to Music
Music has been a huge part of my coping mechanism when it comes to my anxiety. My anxiety tends to be at it’s worse when I travel, so I always make sure I have head phones, a full battery on my phone, and my old IPod just for back up.
When I am on the train for example, I will put on a playlist of my favourite songs and close my eyes. While listening to the music I focus as much as I can on the lyrics and try to think of them as a story. This has worked so well for me over the past 3 years and when my full attention is on the lyrics I completely forget about my anxiety.
2. Read A Book
Reading is great for the mind and has been proven to help with one’s memory. For me reading is a great way to escape my problems, and dive into a completely different world.
I try to read as much as I can, even when I’m not anxious. I always read a book on the way home from college, mainly because I have an hour long journey and it is the perfect time to get some peaceful reading done.
Sometimes if my anxiety is extremely bad I do find it difficult to focus on the book, but when this happens I take a few minutes to breath, try to relax myself and then I start reading.
3. Play a game on your phone
Playing games on my phone, like Candy Crush for example, was another great distraction for me. If I had a hospital appointment and I knew I would be waiting for a while, I would bring my book and a fully charged phone. Waiting around in one place for too long is also an anxiety trigger for me. I would play candy crush while I waited, because I would be so engrossed in the game I wouldn’t even notice the time going by. In the case that my lives run out I would have my book as a back up. Always be prepared!
(Not my image, taken from Here)
When I say meditation I don’t mean sitting legs crossed and humming, this may work for others but not for me.
My form of meditation is easy, you can do it in public and no one would even notice.
I basically sit straight, feet flat on the floor and I just breath. I focus all my attention on my breathing, I don’t force a breath I just breath as normal. By doing this your body calms itself naturally. It is a very simple step and with enough practice your body will do the relaxation on its own. I do this step if I know I am going to be in a situation that will cause me anxiety. There are times where my anxiety will have already hit me and I can’t focus on my breathing because I’m so worked up. In these cases I turn to the next thing, which is almost always my music.
5. Go For A Walk
Getting out for some fresh air, whether it is going for a coffee or simply going for a walk. I find if I am stuck in doors too long I can begin to get irritable and restless. I make sure I get out of the house everyday even if it is just for an hour. Walking can also be a great form of meditation, make sure to observe your surrounds, look at that is going on, what are people doing?. This will help you focus on something else other than your anxiety.
6. Surround Yourself With Friends/Family
One of the best forms of medicine in my opinion is laughter.
Surrounding myself with my friends has definitely helped me when I was extremely down in the dumps.
I remember I decided to go out to a friends party one night, but I wasn’t drinking as I had to be up early to write my thesis. At this time I was really struggling with life and when I went out everyone had me in tears laughing, I smiled for about 3 days after, just down to the fact I was out with friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time and I was having fun.
If you are feeling in need of a friend, contact one of them. Arrange to go for a coffee, see a movie or invite them around for a sleep over. Even if they can’t do it straight away, the excitement of arranging a date will help boost your mood and it will give you something to look forward to.
7. Write it Down
Writing down what is going through your head when you are anxious, is the best way for you to actually analyse your situation. By doing this you can take a step back and really ask yourself why this makes you feel anxious, is it worth it? do I even need to be anxious?
For some people it is a great thing to do and for others it doesn’t work the same, but the best way to find out is to give it a try!
On my old blog I used to document everyday, well almost everyday. Writing down how I was feeling and what I was doing helped to get things off my chest and out of my head!
8. Have A Nap
When things get a little too much to handle taking a nap can help you to just escape for an hour or so. I find when I get anxious and worked up I become drained and this doesn’t help the situation. When you are tired it is very hard to focus and think straight, so taking a break and having a nap is the best way to relax and rejuvenate. When you wake up you will feel better, and you will be able to look at your situation with a calmer and more energized mind.
If it is the case where you can’t have a nap, try something else, go for a walk, have some lunch or do something that will give you a break and time to refocus.
9. Remove yourself from the Situation
Sometimes walking away is the best option when the situation you are in is causing you anxiety.
I understand walking away isn’t always going to be an option. For example, in my case college caused me a lot of anxiety and I couldn’t just drop out, because that would have meant I was giving into defeat. Fighting through college was something I had to do for myself, but for others walking away may have been the best thing for them!
In situations where walking away is an option then do so. If there is a fight between friends and you are feeling anxious, walk away!
If you are in college and you are feeling anxious, go out for some fresh air, take a break and give yourself room to breath. When you feel more calm go back and face your problem with a much more clear mind.
10. Positive Thinking
No matter how big or small your problems and struggles are, always stay positive!
When I was in college, I was always doubting myself and my work, I was losing confidence in everything I was doing. Once I started thinking negative I had to tell myself to stop and stay positive!
I believe 100% that positivity can make a huge difference in one’s life. Always facing a situation or a problem with positivity will give you a much better result than facing it with negativity in mind.
When something is coming up that is going to make you anxious think to yourself, I can do this, I will survive this obstacle and I will get what I want!
Something I always do is get a positive quote from Pinterest.
Save it as your screensaver on your phone, so every time you look at your phone you will see the quote and that will remind you to stay positive!
Another idea would be to write quotes on sticky notes and place them around your house/desk/car, where ever you feel is the best place, so when you see them they will remind to breath!
I believe the only reason I managed to finish college was because of my positivity and my ambition!
I wanted that degree, I wanted to show myself I could, I wanted to prove to people who doubted me that I could do it, and I did it, even with anxiety!
If you are positive that you will over come your anxiety and its triggers, you will, even if it takes a year or 5 years, you will over come it!
No matter how many set backs I have faced or will face I will still stay positive and believe that some day I will over come my anxiety!
I hope these tips will be of use to you, remember anxiety is different for everyone, and it is all about trial and error!
Try different techniques and don’t give up until you find the best one for you!
Leave me a comment if you have any tips for coping with anxiety, I am always open to new things and I would love to hear from you.