I haven’t met too many people who are as prone to anxiety as I am.
However, as the years have passed, I’ve been able to devise new coping strategies for myself that work for me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say I’ve kicked anxiety in the butt but at least now, in a room full of people, anxiety is like that one person I am not excited by but that I can at least tolerate.
These are some of the things that I do:
I step out into some fresh air (preferably natural surroundings like a garden or a park, if it’s possible)
take a really deep breath,
close my eyes,
breathe out to a backward count from 10.
This sure does take away a lot of the zing and discomfiture that anxiety comes with.
A Gentle Reminder to Myself
“Okay Brain, you got this. You’ve been anxious and in challenging situations in the past. And you’ve ALWAYS managed to come through. This is JUST like that. And you know what? The next time you’re going to go through something ten times more challenging than this, you’re going to remind yourself of this time right now. Because you are going to SAIL through this. You just got a take a few calming breaths and BE BRAVE. Important things are scary sometimes. That’s just how it goes.”
Those are the specific words that I use and you may or may not benefit from them, but the general point is that a little bit of (loving) self-talk goes a long way.
Get that heart rate up
Now this one obviously depends on where you are. You can’t be at some swanky event or just about to deliver a presentation in class and do this. But you can do it if, say, this is the night before that big presentation or the day before that exam you absolutely don’t want to have anything to do with.
When I feel that anxious energy pounding through my heart, it really helps if I harness that and turn it into physical exercise.
I drop everything and go for a run.
You can do anything you want – run, walk, cycle, jumping jacks, absolutely anything.
Exercise also helps release endorphins – the happy hormones. Leaving you feeling altogether more positive and upbeat.
This too shall pass
Every unit of time, every phase of life – it all eventually dissolves into memory. We don’t need to take life as seriously as we often do. Sometimes, just the realisation of the impermanence of life and every aspect of it, can do wonders.
Next time you feel that anxiety bubbling up, realise that yeah, this stuff that’s going to happen right now is really important. It’s obviously crucial and something whose outcome matters a great deal. Otherwise, you wouldn’t really be anxious in the first place.
Does it define you or your life? Probably not. No single event or circumstance of life can be enough to do that.
Just remember, no matter what the outcome, life always goes on. If you can’t find your way today, you’ll find a much better way tomorrow.
Do your favourite self-care activity
Can you take out ten to fifteen minutes to do something you love? Something that comforts you? Or relaxes you?
I love taking cold showers and washing my hair. It relaxes me.
Sometimes, I also like to take a quick ten-minute meditation break to check in with myself.
At other times, I love revisiting books that were childhood favourites. There’s nothing more comforting to me than that. I’ll pick up my favourite Mystery Series from Enid Blyton, get under my covers and read read read.
Do you think these are things you can do to bust some stress? Let me know in the comments!