Those of you who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks know that it is not the greatest feeling. We are sometimes left feeling unsure of ourselves and fear the unknown and lack of control in our lives. Myself included, we experience moments of intense emotions that feel completely uncontrollable and sometimes unavoidable. If you are struggling with frequent panic attacks and/or severe anxiety, this post contains 9 ways to cope with anxiety so that you can start living your life.
My anxiety has gotten worse over the past year and at first I had no idea what was happening to my mind. After several severe panic attacks over the past few months, I decided to do more research on anxiety and how to cope with it.
If you have anxiety, you know that it can stem from something that may seem miniscule to others. My first panic attack was brought on by being asked to take my grandparents to a doctor’s appointment. It sounds silly, right? After months of anxiety building up around social outings, I finally broke. It was a last minute request and I felt like I was under a time crunch. My mind instantly went to a place of panic. Every single thought of worry came rushing in. I started shaking, crying, hyperventilating, a rash on my chest appeared, my blood pressure was climbing. The more I cried, the more I wondered why the heck I was crying.
It felt like it wasn’t even about the whole time crunch of taking my grandparents to their appointment. My husband stared at me in utter confusion as he asked what was wrong. I had no idea what to say to him as I just couldn’t understand why I was freaking out.
This event brought me back to when my friends, who dealt with anxiety, experienced their panic attacks. I remember being so confused. I had no idea why they were having a meltdown. Now, I completely understand what they were going through. Now, that I understand just how many people go through anxiety and panic attacks, I understand how challenging it can be to cope with or over come it.
After “going through it” for about a year, I have found a few things that help me cope with anxiety. Below are 9 tips to cope with your anxiety so you can start living the way you want. Please keep in mind that I am not a licensed therapist and these are just tips that have helped me.
1.Don’t be so hard on yourself
Often times, when we are experiencing intense anxiety we blame ourselves for things we can’t control. We think we are going crazy or that we’re weird. We think we are different and weak. But, know that you are not alone. You are not weird or crazy or weak. You are going through something and if no one understands that, it’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself when dealing with your anxiety.
2. Get out of the house
It’s hard to face the world with an anxious mind. Trust me, I get it. When I was having panic attacks, going out to get groceries or to see a friend felt impossible. I felt more anxious when I tried to mend my social life. What would they think of me? What if they judge me? Those are a few thoughts that went through my mind on an hourly basis. So, I decided to shut the world out. I spent days at home not wanting to face the outside world. However, I found that made me more anxious. I was going stir crazy. When I finally decided to venture out, it wasn’t so bad. When it did feel impossible and scary, I did it anyway. Face your fears, right? It will get better.
My challenge for you? When you are feeling this way, say yes to everything. Once you get back to your normal life and seeing the people you love, you will start to ease your mind again.
3. Practice yoga or meditation
I have to admit, when I heard people say Yoga or meditation is the only thing that got them through their anxiety, I thought they were completely full of shit. But, I tried it anyway. At first, I found that meditation didn’t help. However, I wasn’t trying it consistently. Same with practicing yoga. Once I committed myself to practicing both daily, I saw an improvement. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your mind and body. Any form of exercise is great when you are feeling anxious. Your body releases endorphins which make you feel happy.
If you are interested in trying yoga and meditation I recommend downloading the Headspace App. Especially if you’re a beginner. If you are on a budget and don’t want to spring for the yoga bill, Adriene is a great Yoga YouTuber and the perfect way to learn at home.
4. Start writing in a gratitude journal
Anxiety has a way of making us feel like the world is out to get us and like we are doomed. I promise you, we have a lot to be grateful for. Once I started writing in my journal daily, I began to see all of the positive things in my life. In a way, writing in a gratitude journal cleared my head and made me feel calm. This is a great way to work through anxiety and feel happier.
5. Surround yourself with furry friends
Animals have a way of calming you down. They have a way of making you feel like everything will be okay. I have two fur kids and they have been there for me during each one of my panic attacks. They would come up to me and lick the tears from my face. In those moments, I knew it was going to work out. They make me feel safe. That is why they make great therapy animals.
If you don’t have pets, I recommend visiting your local animal shelter and volunteering your time. Or, of course, you can adopt a pet. Either way, make furry friends a priority in your life to help you through your anxiety attacks.
6. Take your vitamins
In the past, I have been told I have low iron levels. I never took anything to help it. When I started researching about why I could have high anxiety, I found that low iron can be a cause. So, I started taking B-12 vitamins. This, in conjunction with practicing yoga, has had a huge change in my anxiety.
B-12 also boosts your energy levels. So, I’ve been feeling way more productive which in turn has helped with my anxiety. A lot of my anxiety stems from my procrastination habits, so having more energy and being productive helps alleviate that issue.
7. Open up to your support system
My husband has been so great through my panic attacks. He didn’t understand them at first, just like I didn’t. After my research, I was afraid people wouldn’t understand and they would feel like I was just making excuses. So, I kept quiet. Not telling them what was going on left them thinking I just didn’t want to spend time with them. It wasn’t until I opened up to them that they truly started to see what had been going on.
It’s important to open up to your support system so that they can help you through these difficult times and understand that you are going through something. Talking about your anxiety will also lift a huge weight off your shoulders.
8. Make self care a priority
You deserve some extra love while you are battling anxiety. After all, it can take up all of your energy. Book a massage. This is a great way to release negative toxins from your body and relax your mind. You can also create your own at home spa night. I love using some Epsom salts in my bath, lighting candles, and applying a face mask. Play your favorite soothing Spotify playlist. Take deep breaths. Read your favorite book. Relax your mind.
9. Seek professional help
This is something I have not done yet. However, I am recommending it because my friends who’ve gone through the same thing found this to be very helpful. Like I said, we are not alone. Get help. If things seem unbearable, find a local therapist to help you through it. I have also been researching online therapists and think I will give it a try in the upcoming months.
Coping with anxiety can sometimes seem impossible. But, try out some or all of those 9 tips, and you will be well on your way to a worry free life.
When did you start experiencing anxiety?