How to Relieve some of your Anxiety
Remember, I am (unfortunately) talking from experience and what I learned throughout life (ya know, I like to read about these topics to a little). I love the idea that these tips might help some of you, but of course anxiety is very personal and that means no one (or their anxiety) works the same. So keeping that in mind, let me share my tips on what helps me to relieve some of my anxiety.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.”
– Dan Millman
1. What to do with negative thoughts.
It is very common for anxiety to start because of negative and/or anxious thoughts. Now these thoughts can have a very big impact on your mood and thus raise your anxiety level. Whenever these thoughts are crowding your brain, it becomes very difficult to clear your mind and think positively again. Let's be honest, a lot of times it doesn't just work to say 'think happy thoughts'.
What can help, is trying to clear mind through writing down what is troubling you. When you write down these thoughts, not only are you processing and thinking about what is going on within your mind, you might make it easier for yourself to start letting these thoughts go. More importantly, you can start seeing see thoughts exactly for what they are: just thoughts and not facts.
2. What to do with the physical effects of anxiety.
Anxiety is not only something that the mind goes through, it is also a very physical experience. Anxiety usually goes hand in hand with multiple physical symptoms. To name a few: heart palpitations, sweating, heavy or troubled breathing, a feeling of fear coursing through the body, adrenaline being released inside your body and upset stomach.
Because of these very real feelings that are coursing through the body when experiencing anxiety, it can be easy to spiral and give in to these feelings. Yet there are a few things to lessen the physical effects of anxiety.
One of the most common techniques to help are breathing exercises. A slower, more controlled type of breathing can help slow down your heart rate, make sure you get the right amount of oxygen in your lungs and take time to slow your thinking whilst focusing on something other than your fears.
There are many different breathing exercises and I would recommend researching and/or trying to find one or more that helps you. If you guys would like, I could write another post about these exercises and how they have helped me.
3. Distraction for days
Now this is not always possible for everyone, because like I said, anxiety is a very personal experience. It can, however, help to find a distraction whenever you start to feel anxious or are having an anxiety attack. My types of distraction differ from any kind of situation. When I am just feeling a low/non alarming amount of anxiety, I can find that watching TV, listening to music, reading a book, being outside, doing yoga, dancing or one of my other hobby's can help with distracting me before I get more anxious.
When I am experiencing more severe anxiety, I usually need the help of someone I feel safe with to either talk to me (on the phone or face to face), distract me or I try to go to a place I feel safe to do breathing exercises until I start to feel better again.
Sometimes distractions can help really well, on other days the anxiety can stick to you as if it is a bee attracted to honey. Always remember, no matter what, you have gone through this before and this too shall pass eventually.
4. Talk it out
Like I said before, it can really help to talk with other people about what you are experiencing to get you through your anxiety. Not only does this give them the possibility to help you and support you where necessary, it can open up the conversation about anxiety as well. Lots more people suffer from anxiety than we usually realize. When we never discuss this topic with others, we are less likely to find people that experience the same situations that we do. If we were to discuss our experiences more, we could actually learn from one another how to cope with it, how to help each other and feel more understood and less alone.
So speaking up about your anxiety can help in multiple ways, not just when you are dealing with your anxiety at the moment, but also in general.
5. Downward Dog it out of your system
Yoga is not for everyone, no matter how many different types of yoga there are, and that is fine. However, I do recommend yoga when it comes to calming down before sleep, relieving some stress and helping against anxiety. Of course it is very important to find out what type of yoga suites you and makes you feel good when you are starting to get into yoga. Which is something I would like to talk about more in a different post.
Yoga can help you learn more about the way your body is dealing with the stress and anxiety you have, which muscles are affected by the stress, where your body stores the stress (like in your neck or shoulders or stomach), how to learn the warning signs of your body when it is stressed and many more things. Apart from learning more about your body and how it reacts to anxiety, you can start to learn how to calm your body down, relieve tension from different types of muscles or body tissue and you can physically get rid of the stress and anxiety your body and mind have been experiencing.
I personally really like to use yoga to make sure that when my mind has calmed down, my body is also releasing the tension it felt before and not holding on to any unnecessary stress.
6. As heavy as a brick
One of my last personal faves is a weighted blanket. It has recently become very popular in the last few years for people with for example: anxiety, depression or autism and much more.
I was quite hesitant to buy a weighted blanket. First of all, I was scared it might be overhyped or wouldn't work for me, seeing as it can be quite expensive to get one. But after some researching, I decided to get one and have been very happy with it since.
The pressure of a weighted blanket can give a very calm and reassuring feeling when you are lying down with one. It can also help with falling asleep more easily if you have trouble with falling asleep due to stress or overthinking. It has definitely helped me with sleeping more easily and feeling less stressed when in bed.
I am sure I could think of more things that could help, but I like these 6 tips the most, so there you go. I hope some of these are helpful for you, and if not, it was at least a nice read. I am always open to hearing your experience or tips so don't be shy to share them! (Of course, I am not a doc, just trying to be kind/helpful. If you think you are in need of help with anxiety, always go to see your doctor!)