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If you had to deal with excessive worry, unease, and nervousness almost your whole life, you are not the only one, millions of people have to deal with anxiety. I, for one, have been suffering through all that excessive worry, increased heart rate, sweating and anxiety attack almost my whole life and I know it’s not easy. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. The funny thing is you would literally be losing your mind over something but sometimes you just have to stay quiet because your “worries” are that absurd. Or even if you say something about how someone can get hurt over something you are doing, people give you that funny look that, “what are you even on about, it’s completely safe and normal” look.
It drives me crazy when they give me that look, I mean Susan, maybe you think it’s totally normal to sit on the edge of the tallest building in your town just to take a picture but I think you’re going to fall over and break every bone in your body. So please stop giving me that look (totally exaggerating over here) but it does happen a lot with me. Sometimes I know what I am thinking is foolish it’s never going to happen but my brain just cannot stop. It’s like this with most people with anxiety, they sometimes know what they’re worried about is never going to happen, or there is just a 10% possibility that thing is going to happen. But from that 10% even the 0.009% possibility drives me crazy because there is a chance that might happen. If you do feel like this, don’t worry, we can overcome everything.
There are many types of anxieties but if there is a problem there is always going to be a solution. How I deal with anxiety without any medication or therapy is I use the thought stopping method.
Thought to stop method is very easy. Whenever a bad thought or something is driving me crazy, I say stop. If I don’t stop thinking about it I just keep on repeating it in my head and if it still doesn’t stop I just say it aloud. In just a whisper or in a low volume so only I can hear, and it does stop. Okay, funny story when I started doing this I was at work and there was something bugging me and I just said stop out of habit and totally forgot where I was, I was in a meeting. Everyone stopped talking and they were all looking at me. One of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
I know people do that when they are angry, but I start counting whenever I feel arising panic. I just keep on counting until I stop. Another thing I do, whenever I feel an anxiety attack is coming, I start looking for five things that I can feel, touch, hear, see and taste. It really helps.
I start taking deep breaths whenever I feel, even the slightest of panic arising. Increased intake of oxygen helps in achieving clarity.
I try to distract myself by doing something. It can be anything from reading, writing, listening to music or doing a house chore. I just try to keep myself as much busy as possible, so that, I don’t have time to think about all the negative things that come to my mind. And if I do think about anything negative, I start doing something that takes all my mental power.
The aforementioned things are what I do when I’m in the middle of getting choked by my mental monsters, also known as anxiety. They are in no way accurate, or what a professional would recommend. I just mentioned these because these things helped me. As for some tips, I don’t know if they are also accurate or not because I found them on the internet but here are a few hacks that will help you.
TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST:
Talk to someone you trust, who would understand what you are going through and make you feel like everything’s going to be okay. Most of the time when a person feels anxious it’s some irrational fear or what might happen, talk to a friend, your better half, siblings or parents.
FOCUS ON THE PRESENT:
Most of the things people worry about are what is going to happen or what happened in the past. Stay focused on what is happening NOW.
TAKE SOME TIME OUT:
Sometimes people are so focused on achieving their goals that they forget it’s good to take some time out, or what I like to call “ME TIME”. Do whatever you like to watch a movie, read a book, work out, write etc. When you take some time out for yourself you would feel better and good about yourself and your life.
THINK OF A HAPPY PLACE:
Feeling stressed out? Getting worried for no reason? Try to think of a happy place, an old memory or the next vacation destination. My happy place is sitting with Zayn Malik, drinking tea and listening to him sing ‘it’s you’.
That’s what I think about when I am worried or thinking negative things. You can think about whatever makes you happy.
MONITOR YOUR THOUGHTS:
Sometimes we don’t even know what is bothering us, just write down whatever comes to your mind. The things that are bugging you would just come out on that paper. Keep on writing even if you think what you are doing is weird. Just let it all out on a piece of paper, journal or on the notes app on your phone. Then read it out and point out where your mind is exaggerating things, write down the facts why it’s never going to happen. I can assure you it will make you feel better and all the rationalizing you would do will make you feel relaxed.
MOVE MORE, EAT WELL, SLEEP MORE:
Eat healthily, sleep for more than 5 hours and exercise. Working out helps release all the tension, makes you forget about all your worries (try doing a plank you would forget about everything except thinking when the heck would this stopwatch beep).
FACE YOUR FEARS:
Try to overcome your fears by evaluating why do you fear them, try to do what you are most afraid of. People are afraid of the outcome of what scares them, for example dark, people are not afraid of dark they are afraid of what’s in it, or what’s going to happen when you cannot see anything. Not asking you to jump off a roof if you are afraid of heights, yeah please don’t do that.
RESET YOUR MIND
Try to reset your mind stop thinking about what you are feeling and start taking it your surroundings. Take a look at things around you, what is happening, where you are sitting, what is the color of the curtain. Just look around and instead of being trapped in your mind just see.
Realize that your mind is playing tricks on you, nothing is going to happen. It’s just your brain that is making you think all the horrible scenarios.
Surround yourself with positivity. Positive people, positive things. Whenever a negative thought comes to your mind just change it into a positive one. Like if you are thinking, that you are never going to get this job change it to what will you do when you get hired. What are you going to buy from your first pay, what your office is going to be like, what your coworkers would be like?
Motivate yourself, just tell yourself what you are thinking is not going to happen and if it happens you cannot control it. This is life, we cannot control everything, sometimes we just have to let things happen and sometimes we have to let things go.
SHOUT IT OUT
If you’re feeling too much just go and scream, shout, cry. Just let it out. Screaming at the top of your lungs sounds absurd but sometimes what we are thinking is more absurd.
Caffeine gives a boost of energy to your nervous system if someone is under pressure all this energy may turn into an anxiety attack. So, avoid caffeine as much as you can.
Smelling your favorite scent might be the best thing ever. Use essential oils, perfumes colognes or any pleasant scent you like. It activates certain receptors in your mind, which help you in relaxing.
These are the few tips that help in dealing with your mental monsters. If you feel like these things won’t help you, please consider some professional help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help from a professional. Do you feel weird going to a hospital when you have flu? No. Then why feel ashamed or weird when it’s our brain that isn’t well. Seek out medical help if you want to, take medications, do therapy, meditate, do whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. Stop thinking about what people would say or do because it’s not people who have to deal with all these negative thoughts, all those panic attacks, heart palpitations; it’s you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a stranger, talk to anyone you trust. Just talk. Let it out. Don’t be a prisoner of your own thoughts. Live.