Thursday, 6 August 2015

Advice For Controlling Anxiety

As some of you may know I suffer with anxiety and have done now for about 3 years. As you can probably imagine, during this time I have learnt a lot about what calms me and what triggers my anxiety. I know this will change for each individual and what makes me anxious may not make someone else feel the same way, but if I can help anyone it would make me feel amazing.


Find out what triggers your anxiety:
For me personally this is mainly long journeys, where I am trapped in my seat such as in a car or on a bus or even on a plane when I don't have an aisle seat. Or working long hours whether this is on my blog or for school.

Find ways of working around them or taking gradual steps to conquer them:
In the previous examples this was through taking the train to places instead of driving so I can walk up and down the aisles if I need to or pop into the loo if I need to calm myself down a bit. And during my revision or working of any sort I had a cut off time of 8pm so I had a few hours before bed to watch a TV show, read a book or take a bath to calm down before going to sleep. 

Meditation:


I cannot emphasise this enough for anyone who suffers from stress or anxiety. If you told me about this three years ago I would have laughed and pictured crossing my legs on the floor and saying 'ommmmmm' but this isn't what meditation is. There are lots of apps and videos on YouTube which guide you through meditation and if you get the hang of it you can practice it yourself but I always prefer listening to someone else's voice instead of my own, particularly if I am in a very anxious frame of mind. The main app I use is called 'Calm.com' and I have used it for over a year now, unfortunately they have introduced a really hefty subscription fee which I don't think I can afford to pay but they have a free 'lite' version where you can still get access to some of their recordings. Or if you want to search YouTube just type in meditation and thousands of results will come up with very specific benefits, for example I used one the night before my driving test to 'Calm Driving Anxiety' and it really helped. I meditate at least once a day, usually before bed.
    Have a pamper evening:


    This might just be me but I love to set aside a whole evening before a day that I know may make me anxious just to pamper myself. I usually put on a face mask, run a bath, and paint my nails so in the morning I feel confident enough to face whatever is worrying me that day.

    Get a 'Worry Book':


    I keep a notebook beside my bed that I use whenever I am worrying about anything or just feeling particularly anxious and I write down literally anything that comes into my head that I am worrying about usually during the early evening then put it away and go to do something else like watching TV or being with my family, then when I am in a calmer state of mind I draw a line under all my worries and try to fix them in my mind. This could be planning a way around it, or just positive sentences to make the worry seem less scary. This is a particularly useful tip if you are worried other people will think your worries are small and silly, you are ultimately comforting yourself. 

    Talk to someone:

    If your anxiety gets really out of control and starts to ruin your every day life then it is really important to talk to someone about it. Whether this is a parent or a friend, you need to find to courage to share this worry with somebody else. I know that sounds so simple written down like that, I know it isn't but for me it was really the first step towards dealing with anxiety. Then if you feel you can, have a chat with your GP about it. The NHS were so helpful with me and sent me on a course which taught me so much about what anxiety actually is and how to deal with it and although I don't advocate taking pills, they prescribed me with some beta blockers which I rarely use (probably not even once a month) but they just help to slow my heart rate down and help me out a bit if the anxiety gets too much. 

    Keep talking:
    It is just as important to maintain communication with someone as it is to start it. Luckily I have people who are really supportive around me so I feel I can always have a little cry to my Boyfriend or my Mum when things are really getting to me. Getting another perspective on a worry is always really helpful for you to see it in a different way, or even just so they know you're worried about something so they can help you through that day or leave you a little note to give you a confidence boost (my Mum is amazing for that).

    That, in a nutshell, is what has helped me to deal with my anxiety over the years. I can't say I have 'overcome' it as I still have days when I want to crawl back into bed and never go outside again, but I have learnt how to deal with anxious thoughts and how to prevent them from manifesting in the first place. I really hope this has helped somebody, let me know if it has in the comments and add your own tips if you have any! 

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    2 comments

    1. Oh oh these are such fabulous tips. I particularly agree with the "keep talking"...it does exactly NO GOOD TO ANYONE when we shut down and just don't talk about the problem...and talking kind of relieves a bit of the anxiety too, right?! I always feel a little lighter afterwards. Super glad I've got close family to talk to. :') I love your list!!
      Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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      1. Thanks, you know what they say: a problem shared is a problem halved :)

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