Hey there, today we’re going to try something very different, we’re going to have a one on one chat. Are you ready for it? Let’s start by pointing out that Anxiety is fear about the future and depression is the pain about the past.
To be honest, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have anxiety. Over the years, it grew inside me until I had my first attack. I didn’t know what was happening at the moment, I could barely breathe and my mind was spiralling like I was on a merry-go-round. Thankfully I was at home and not out in public, I would have died of embarrassment.
After my moment of epiphany passed I googled to find out what had just happened. I’ve had a few more of those but over the past year, they’ve been less and less.
From one overthinker to another, I’m going to share a few tips I’ve learned on how to cope with anxiety. At the end of the day after we compare our notes, we’ll finally be okay.
Focusing on your senses.
A lot of people recommend this but, to be honest, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you don’t notice how far your mind has wandered until seconds turn to minutes and at times hours. Continuously returning your mind to the present is the trick.
One of the things that help center me back to the present is focusing on my senses. You can do this by listening to the subtle sounds in your environs. If you can’t go outside or are in a crowd, use your sight instead.
Look directly at a particular object, internalize it and describe it in your mind. What color is it? What shape is it? How does it make you feel? Do you like it?
Another sense is touch. Hold something hot like a cup of coffee or something cold like ice water. Taste the contents in the cup too.
This tip redirects your mind from things that haven’t happened to the things that are currently happening.
Have a Go to Affirmation.
If you notice yourself feeling anxious, stop what you’re doing for a second. Go to a mirror if you can, take three deep breaths and repeat these words to yourself, “I am safe, I am loved and everything will be alright.”
This is my personal favorite because being in a safe place mentally and physically is my top priority. You can use this affirmation or customize one for yourself. Other great examples are
“I am proud of myself, I am going to accomplish great things in life.”
“I am strong and in control”.
“I am enough.”
Say them out loud and as many times as possible until you truly believe. Another tip is to say these affirmations each day, not just when anxious. Over time your brain rewires and accepts the affirmations as truths and you’ll find yourself being less and less anxious.
Live Each Day Like it’s Your Last.
What if I told you that there is no future? That this is it and you only had one day left to live?
Would you worry for the next 24 hours or try to make the most of it?
As depressing as this may sound, nothing calms my mind down faster than thinking that there might not be a tomorrow so I’m worrying for nothing. That today just might be the last day.
This makes me completely focus on the day at hand, savoring each moment with my loved ones and with myself. Giving my best at work and doing every task wholeheartedly.
In a sense, this is true. As much as we hope for a tomorrow, it’s never really guaranteed and any day might be your last. So why not live each to the fullest and leave behind no regrets?
Because in the end, today is the only day you can control. You control what you do with your day and time and how you react to different situations. Yesterday and tomorrow are and will always be beyond our control.
Have a Calming Playlist Up and Ready.
It’s safe to say that we don’t know when anxiety will strike. This may be when we’re at home alone, or even in the middle of a crowd.
That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for it and with our phones among the things we carry everywhere, why don’t we use this to our advantage. Instead of winging it, prepare a playlist beforehand for such periods.
Go online and search for calming music, pick your favorite playlist and save it. You can do this on streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.
When the dark hour comes, just pull out your earphones, hit play, and let the calming tunes relax your mind.
Verbalize and Talk about How you Feel.
It’s no surprise that sometimes we don’t know what we’re thinking until we say it out loud. That’s why it’s important to verbalize our emotions. Call or go to someone you can trust and talk to them about what you’re feeling.
Make sure it’s someone who gets you so they don’t brush you off.
If you don’t have anyone you can trust, open up your phone’s voice recorder and speak into it. I know this sounds silly but it’s very practical. Say everything that you need to without leaving a single thing. I can guarantee that you’ll feel eons lighter after that.
A lot of people discredit anxiety as a lack of self-esteem, a pretense, and a weakness. But it’s not. The first step is acknowledging that indeed you have anxiety, it’s not a pretty thing but it’s real regardless. And having anxiety doesn’t make you weak.
Afterward, follow these tips because they’ll surely help you cope with them. This is how you take back control over situations and over your life too.
Some days will be harder than others but remember it’s a journey, not a destination. One step at a time, one deep breath at a time and you will overcome this. Best of luck.