Anxiety can feel overwhelming or powerful when it takes control of our thoughts, making us feel scared and uncomfortable in our own body. We may feel alone at some point, as if no one else understands what we are going through and force us to feel even worse. However, it is important to remember that anxiety is a natural and normal emotion in every human, allowing us to survive through flight or fight reflexes. Through this recognition we must all learn to become friends with anxiety rather than fighting it, as it is present in our everyday life in numerous interactions. Anxiety may be more present in some people than others but nevertheless we need to learn to live with it. This blog will offer suggestions for how to cope with anxiety, and although many tips will be provided some may not work while others do, you simply need to find the one that works for you.
When feeling anxious, it is possible to start dissociating with yourself to ease your overwhelming feelings, which can be a scary feeling. If you begin to enter a “fog” or “autopilot” you can follow these 5 steps to gain control of your surroundings. To begin, look at five things around you, then touch four things near you, next listen to three sounds, then try to smell two distinct fragrances, and last taste one thing. This will allow you to feel in control of your body, mind, and environment giving yourself the ability to focus on what you want to be doing in that moment.
The next tip when having difficult thoughts that cause anxiety, is to stop fighting the thoughts and instead embrace and explore the thoughts. Find out why you are feeling this way towards the thought, and what it tells you about yourself. Remember that thoughts might be scary, but they are not dangerous and that they do not control what you do, only you can control what you do. Don’t always believe everything that you think, because these thoughts often don’t come true. However, you can also try to think of a way to deal with it if it does happen, to prepare for any event that occurs.
When dealing with an anxiety-provoking situation which involves waiting, it can often drive us to feel crazy or restless which never feels good. To avoid these feelings, distract yourself by doing the things that you love such as drawing, reading, exercising, or any other activity that makes you happy. It is also important to recharge when dealing with anxiety by sleeping well, eating and drinking adequately, and taking showers to feel clean and confident.
Lastly, we may attempt to do something new that makes us nervous or provokes anxiety in which the best thing to do is remember why you want to do this thing. Focusing on the “WHY” will allow you to connect with it and give motivation towards completing it.