The word “anxiety” gets thrown around a lot in day-to-day conversation, and I think the casual use of the word undermines how truly crippling anxiety can be. I have good days, and I have bad days. On good days, I only feel anxious for a few minutes out of the whole day. When my anxiety gets bad, I feel completely paralyzed. It’s as if I physically can’t move. I’ve had more good days recently, but I still have a bad day every once in a while.
My struggles with anxiety inspired me to write this article and share some coping methods that help me. I mostly focus on two strategies: distraction and rationalization. When I start feeling anxious, I either try to distract myself from the feeling or encourage rational thinking to separate the anxious thoughts from what’s really happening.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not claiming that I have a cure for anxiety. The info below is based entirely on my personal experience and research.
Above all, it’s important that you follow the instructions of your doctor if you have prescribed medication or anything that is part of a treatment plan.
I am currently on medication for anxiety. If you are taking medication that works for you, I encourage you to take it, but only as prescribed by your doctor.
OK… Now that I have my little disclaimer out of the way, I’ll share my tips.
Here are 14 ways to deal with anxiety in the moment:
1. Just breathe.
When you feel like the room is spinning and your heart is about to jump out of your chest, the best thing to do is just focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale. By bringing attention to your breath, you will feel more grounded. Your breath is the link between your body and mind. Paying attention to it will help you come back to the present moment.
2. Wait it out.
I remind myself that anxiety is often temporary (or it will at least get better over time), and I find ways to deal with it until it goes away. If you’re in a state of anxious paralysis and you can’t do anything except wait it out, tell yourself it’s going to be OK and that you will eventually feel better.
3. Turn on some music.
I love listening to music no matter what I’m doing, and sometimes it’s exactly what I need when I’m feeling anxious. Try turning on your favorite song or band when you’re feeling down. It might lift your mood a little, or at least provide a distraction from the anxiety.
4. Watch a funny TV show or movie.
Oftentimes, laughter is the best medicine. Like listening to music, watching something on TV is a good way to distract yourself from your anxious thoughts.
5. Listen to an uplifting podcast.
I enjoy listening to personal development and motivational podcasts. You should try to find one that interests or inspires you. It will bring positive energy into your day, which can soothe your feelings of anxiety.
6. Do something productive to distract yourself.
Productive activities serve as distractions, and they will also make you feel like you accomplished something. Personally, quite a bit of my anxiety is caused by unfinished tasks that are looming over me and stressing me out. If you’re the same way, try tackling the smaller tasks on your to-do list. When you have fewer things left to do, you will feel less anxious.
7. Get creative.
Creative hobbies work wonders for anxiety (or at least for me, they do). Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, you could try writing, crafting, dancing, or doing anything that brings you joy. My passion project is this blog, and I enjoy working on my content when I’m feeling anxious or depressed. I encourage you to find a creative hobby if you don’t have one already. You will have something fulfilling to do when anxiety strikes.
8. Take a nap.
This could be difficult if your anxiety prevents you from sleeping, but napping can be a great solution because it passes time.
9. Seek support from loved ones.
I understand not feeling comfortable opening up to others, but sometimes that’s just what you need. Talking to someone you trust will make you feel less alone in the world, and you will probably feel better after venting. I’m a pretty independent person, but even I can’t do everything all by myself. I lean on my support system when I feel like I can’t do it alone.
10. Write in a journal.
If you don’t want to talk about your feelings to anyone, you could write them down in a journal instead. Journaling can be therapeutic, and it will create a record of your thoughts for you to reflect upon later.
11. Recite or write down some positive affirmations.
Affirmations are positive statements that change your mindset and help you overcome negative thoughts. They are good for dealing with anxiety because they help you reduce stress and increase feelings of personal power. Affirmations will make you feel more grounded in reality, and you will realize that everything is going to be OK.
12. Focus on things you can control.
A lot of my anxiety is about things that are out of my control. Worry is a wasted emotion, especially if you’re worrying about things that you have no control over. If there is something you CAN do to improve a situation, focus on that instead of letting anxiety manifest over things you can’t change.
13. Take time for self-care.
I feel anxious about my busy schedule all the time. One way I calm my anxiety is simply by taking a break. A little extra time for self=care can go a long, long way. Whatever self-care means to you, try to incorporate more of it into your life. It will improve your mental health overall.
14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If things are really getting tough, and you feel like you have no idea what to do next, do not be afraid to ask for professional help. Everyone who struggles with anxiety has a different experience with it, and some people can’t manage it on their own.
Getting help could be the best decision you ever make. I’ve been in and out of therapy over the years, but I got something good out of it every time I went. It’s a personal decision, and I’m not trying to be pushy about it. But it’s definitely something to think about if you feel like your anxiety has backed you into a corner.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this helps. If you have questions or comments, you can leave me a message below or send me an email at ellestoj.gmail.com . If you’d like to read more posts like this, leave your email in the box below to subscribe.
I wish you many calm days to come!