Anxiety disorder is nothing to ignore. Even strong, well-adjusted people can crumble in the face of an anxiety attack as all rational thought goes out the window. An anxiety attack can paralyze one with fear and dread, and can turn harmful if things continue to go south. But there are small things that you could do when you feel like your fears and worries are closing in on you.
It’s important to know how easy it is for anxiety to lock you in a cycle. An anxiety attack will have you taking in shallow breaths which doesn’t help you get out of that anxious state. Try not to fall for this trap by taking long, deep breaths. Once your brain is getting enough oxygen, it’s much easier to stave off anxiety.
Practice mindfulness in order to achieve calm.
Anxious people often cannot get their mind off of dreadful things. Most people are quick to say, “just stop thinking about it!” but the reality is that getting your mind to cooperate cannot be done in a snap. Following cues from meditative practices, focus on the deep breaths you are taking and look at the way your body is slowly calming down.
Make a “worry list.”
Grab a pen and paper (or your phone when in a pinch) and take note of the things that worry you. Writing down your worries is sometimes akin to letting them go. When you’re calm enough, you can begin accounting for these worries by looking at your list and arrange them according to priority. Sounds strange, but it’s completely healthy to worry about things! However, anxiety could cause you to think about them all at the same time, leaving you feeling doomed.
People who want to help will often tell you that there’s nothing to worry about, but we, the anxious, do not believe them. We’re so far removed from reality that sometimes we get sucked into a world where nothing is okay and the only results are the worst case scenarios. But it helps to remind yourself that you are safe and in no immediate danger. Even people stranded in floodwaters eventually get rescued. Arm yourself with mantras and positive thoughts that you can turn to in times of panic.
Mind your meals.
It's wise to stay away from food and beverages that are known triggers of anxiety. Yes, we’re talking about caffeine, sugar, and other high-energy items that you think will give you a temporary relief. Put the Red Bull down. And though alcohol has the potential to calm a person down, it could also leave you dehydrated. If you must, drink calming herbal teas such as chamomile.
Though the above suggestions offer you much needed relief, these are band-aid solutions. The best way to address your anxiety and mental health is to seek out professional help.
How do you cope with anxiety? Share us your answers by commenting below, or tag us on Facebook or Instagram @iamclaireph!