After posting my latest blog on anxiety, I got more feedback than I expected. Friends reached out to me, saying how they could relate, and while it was good to not feel alone, I hated that so many people knew what I experienced. Anxiety blows and I wish it was something we could all get rid of. And while I don’t think anxiety is completely escapable, it is manageable. It’s so important to know this and explore options to better your mental health. As someone that has suffered, I know that avoiding help might seem easier, but truly it only makes your situation worse. Below, I’ll go into more detail into what has helped me! Of course not all of these suggestions will be suitable to you, but have not only helped me, but friends and family as well.
1. Seek Professional Health
Therapy. Counseling. Both words sound daunting, but have been so helpful in my journey. I’ve been to 3 different counselors in the past 2 years and all have helped me during those times in my life. It might take a while to find the right counseling, but honestly taking the time to research and make an appointment is something you should be proud of. No one has to know that you’re seeing a counselor or therapist, but it is also nothing to be ashamed of. Check with your local physician and insurance provider to see if treatment is covered. Therapy is nothing like it’s portrayed in television and film, so definitely give it a try. You’re not obligated to keep going to the same person if you aren’t comfortable with them, so don’t feel stuck. As a last shameless plug, talking to someone is the beginning of figuring out what you need help with, so don’t knock it until you try it.
2. Ask About Medicines
Whatever you’re going through, whether it be a severe anxiety disorder, or depression, there’s most likely a medicine for it. There are so many opinions out there on medicine. I was always reluctant to try it myself, but once I was started on an SSRI, life seemed to be a lot more manageable. Your doctor will frequently check in with you and you can always relay your concerns if you don’t feel yourself on the medicine. I know there can be a ton of worry with putting medicine into your system, but compared to the daily torment I was going through, I would rather be medicated. Once you’re feeling better, you can always reconsider dosage. Once again, no one has to know you’re on medicine unless you’re a minor (ie: your parents). Why struggle when there is a simple solution out there?
3. Finding Your Happy Escapes
Therapy and medicine might not be your cup of tea, but there are definitely more options out there besides the two. I try to find happy escapes from my anxious world on a daily basis. I typically find escape through books, television, and funny internet videos. It truly depends on what you like to indulge in. Sometimes getting rid of anxiety is as simple as rerouting your brain to a different location. Sometimes, I know I’m overthinking something that I can’t change, so I’ll pick up a book. Don’t have a hobby? Try out this Buzzfeed article!
Anxious people tend to stay in their comfort zones, and working out doesn’t always lie in that comfort zone. In the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t!”
It can be as simple as taking a walk, honestly. Yoga has been proven to help those with anxiety, including myself. Find an exercise that you enjoy and try it 3-4 times a week. Most likely, you’ll see a change in your thoughts and behavior.
Writing is definitely one of my Happy Escapes, but it got its own number because its so important to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been coming up with short stories in my head. It was the beginning of high school when I started to write those down. 9 years later, writing is still an important part of my life. Whether it’s creative writing or jotting down thoughts in my journal, I can attest to writing as helping me get through my bouts of anxiety. It helps me focus on something else rather than my own worries, and it is often productive. Try keeping a weekly journal to get started!
6. Less Social Media
It seems simple, but putting down my phone and actively avoiding my Twitter timeline is a struggle. Social Media is more than posting useless updates and cat photos now. There are constant news updates as well as updates from our family, friends, and people we hardly know. Anxiety can actually increase by using social media constantly, so try to limit your usage on a daily basis. You’ll find yourself feeling a lot better without the 100th engagement announcement all up in your grill.
As I said, these coping mechanisms work for me. Feel free to comment below with what works for your to help others!