In this day and age, almost everyone has dealt with anxiety at some point.
Sometimes, it is for obvious reasons; you’re nervous for a job interview, you’re worried about a math test that is happening later on that day, or you have an uncomfortable talk with your partner. But sometimes for other people, anxiety can literally take over your life and make it a living nightmare.
I wish I knew more about how to deal with anxiety when I was younger, especially during high school. I think if I knew myself and anxiety better, I would have made better choices and maybe not had it so rough. I also wish that more people around me understood it better because I always hated feeling like I was the disappointment in the family because I wasn’t reaching everyone’s standards. Nowadays though, more and more people are understanding the importance of mental health awareness and are making efforts to help their loved ones or help themselves to knowledge passed through the experts in the field. As I have learned more about works for me, I wanted to share my knowledge so that maybe I could help someone out there too.
Let’s start with the basics. What is anxiety? According to a quick Google search, this pulls up.
Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.
Sounds pretty basic right? It sounds like something that the everyday kind of person will experience at some point in their life. But where does it draw the line that it is more of a serious problem than you would like to admit?
In today’s age, you can have your anxiety diagnosed in multiple ways. You could be diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, certain phobias, separation anxiety, and more. Common symptoms that can help you figure out if you even have an anxiety disorder would be:
- Panicky feeling, or a feeling of impending doom
- Trouble breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Having trouble with eating or sleeping
- Finding mundane tasks very difficult
- And experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
If you feel like you experience these symptoms often, you can talk to a professional about treatments to help. With a professional’s help, you can look into more detail about what anxiety disorder you might have. Some common ones are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder – an excessive feeling of panic or stress with normal, day-to-day activities. Often this feeling of anxiety is wildly out of proportion to what is called for. Often this is diagnosed with another type of anxiety disorder or depression.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) – with this disorder you often have high levels of anxiety in social settings and try to avoid a social situation due to feeling self-conscious and feel like you would be judged or viewed negatively by others.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder – feeling intense anxiety or panic because of the misuse of drugs or withdrawal from drugs. This is a rising problem in the US due to the high numbers of drug-users.
Let me say this first. I am not a doctor, nor do I know how to diagnose or treat someone. If you feel like you might fall under one or more of these categories, please go to a trusted and certified doctor to get treatment.
So you have an anxiety disorder. Now what?
Medication and professional treatment do wonders, but you can’t always be in the doctor’s office. You do have a life to live, a job to work at, and family and friends to be with. If you think you are having a panic attack or just a rough day in general, I would love to share with you the tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years. I hope that at least one of these tricks will help you.
- Celebrate the big (or small) accomplishments – I have a great example of this one. I used to hate driving on the Interstate/highway/freeway. It used to not bother me so much, as it was part of my driving school requirements. I used to even drive down the Interstate to go to school every morning. After graduation, I travel less often on these big roads, and my anxiety peaked. After moving to Idaho with my husband, I would make him drive everywhere we went because I would get so panicky on the busier roads. However, I have been traveling more for work, and it has slowly eased up. Every time I get to my destination, I take a moment for myself to tell myself how well I did and I try to commit it to my memory so that if my anxiety strikes up again, I can remember the good times. Whatever your accomplishment is, don’t brush it off like it is nothing. Celebrate your wins!
- Self-care, self-love – If you know me, you know I love my self-care, particularly with hot baths. I think it is pretty normal nowadays for self-care to be apart of your routine, but I remember not to long ago for me personally, from the ages of 18-20 that I really didn’t think about myself and my needs. Admittedly, this was one of my lowest points in life. I often say that it was in more of a “survival mode” than actually living. The day that changed for me was when I went on a two-week-long vacation with my boyfriend (now husband) and it really opened my eyes that there is more to life than just surviving from one day to another. After moving out, I finally went back to reading more books, picking up a paintbrush, and taking long hot baths. I started to dedicate time for every day and goals for the week of what I want to accomplish. Disconnect from your stresses and worries, your mind will thank you!
- Get outside – This is a great exercise to do for many types of situations, especially if you are stuck at work or another function. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I have a panic attack coming up, I HATE being inside during it. It makes me feel claustrophobic, which doesn’t help at all. Often though, my husband will remind me to take a few breaths and separate myself from the problem. If we are in a store, I can leave my things with him and take a moment to go outside. Often I will pull my phone out and find a quiet spot away from others, so people won’t be pressured to ask me questions. If you would like to apply this to more situations, take a daily walk, even if it is just around your block. Leave your worries at the door and enjoy some sunshine. This is also great for keeping you in shape.
- Music – Probably one of the most obvious ones on this list, but really guys, music has saved me multiple times during my lifetime. Depending on my mood, I’ll throw something on and dance my problems away. No, you really don’t want to see me dance my problems away. Use your imagination. 😂Here are some of my favorites:Shinedown – Get Up
Shinedown will always be a favorite for me, they have pulled me back from the edge. This song was specifically made Barry, their drummer, who suffers from depression. Enough said.P. Diddy [feat. Nelly & Murphy Lee] – Shake Ya Tailfeather
Don’t lie to yourself, sometimes you just want to get up and shake your ass around. No shame to it, I do it probably once or twice a week nowadays. Something about the late 90s or early 2000s music will do that to you. This is my recommendation. You’re welcome.Audioslave – I Am The Highway
Sometimes you want something slower and maybe a little sadder. Chris Cornell gives me all of the feels. I absolutely adore is music and the passion that he puts into his music. Rest in peace Chris, thank you so much for your music.
If you ever need it, the Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Don’t feel like you are alone, you have friends who want to help.
Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King
Last but not least, sometimes you want to scream, be angry, and kick something around. No judgment here, let it out! I tend to go for some rock music that has heavy bass and a quick pace. Avenged Sevenfold is great for that. If you choose to headbang, keep it to a minimum and don’t get crazy for your first time!
- Have a friend – Everyone needs someone because you can’t go through life alone. I owe so much to my best friend and my husband, who has helped guide me through this crazy thing called life more times than I can count. Confide into someone who is close to you, it could be a family member, friend, or if you have the ability, a counselor. Trust me, talking will help.
Anxiety probably won’t go away, but you can do things to help.
No matter what your technique is, focus on just you and what works best for you. Please do not do anything illegal or dangerous. My comments section is always open if you would like someone to chat with you with no judgment. I’m more than happy to answer your questions, or listen to your tips and tricks on how you deal with your anxiety! Together we have this!
The Library Lady ♡