An Open Letter to Anxious People
Whether you're consumed with anxiety or just can't get that one little worry out of your head, this is for you.
Hi. Let me start off by saying that I know how you feel. No matter what it is you're worried about, or whether or not it's a logical concern, I see you. Your emotions are valid and you deserve the ability to work through them.
It can be hard to take care of yourself when you're dealing with intense anxiety. It starts out as just a little "what if" and maybe it stays that way but never leaves, or maybe it grows and expands until all you can focus on is "WHAT IF WHAT IF WHAT IF?" Either way, it can get to be too much to handle, so let's make sure you're keeping your head above water...
- Have you been sleeping normally? You should get at least 6 hours of sleep per night. If your mind is racing, try reading a book you think will bore you. It'll force you to focus on something other than your thoughts. Try to make your sleeping environment as cool as possible without making you shiver. Turn as many lights off as possible, or use a sleep mask. The key here is cool, dark, and comfy.
- Have you been eating normally? Have you noticed any abnormalities in your appetite? Try your best to eat at least 2 full meals a day- you can skip lunch if you feel like it, but you don't have to, obviously. Food is delicious and eating can boost your mood! Don't be afraid to eat.
- Remember to drink water! If you have a water bottle to sip from throughout the day, take that opportunity. Plenty of physical and mood-related woes can be helped or even fixed by drinking more water, so make sure to get that H20 in your system!
- After taking care of your responsibilities, do some of what you love. It'll cheer you up, I promise. Just avoid interacting with people or things that might exacerbate the anxiety (triggers) and turn your attention to happy, calming things. Some suggestions: find someone you love and go on a quiet walk with them, no talking necessary. Listen to chill-out music on YouTube, Spotify or Pandora. Spend time with your pets!
Keep in mind that all of these things will help lessen physical issues that come from anxiety, such as a higher chance of headache/migraine or an upset stomach.
Talk to someone if you can, and get them to remind you that you are safe and loved and will be okay. This anxiety, this worry? It won't be the end of you. Sometimes you just need someone else to reinforce that for you.
In case you're experiencing a panic attack, or think you might have one soon, here are some calming and distracting techniques:
- Name five things you can see around you. Next, name five different shapes. Then name something you can smell, or if you can't smell anything, name a scent you like to smell. Finally, state where you are, who you're with (if you're with anyone), and say, "I am okay. I will be calm soon."
- Sit down on the floor and touch something solid. Feel it and focus on that sensation. Say out loud how it feels- cold or warm? Rough or smooth?
- Recite the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste) and with each one, touch the part of your body that controls that sense.
Another thing that can help is to visualize your worry. If it's big worry, visualize a big, huge blob. If it's small, visualize a smaller one. Slowly, in your mind, approach the blob, and repeat over and over, "you don't control me. I am okay. I'm in charge here." With every single word, the blob shrinks, and before you know it, it's gone. This is to remind you that your worry is just a worry. You are in control, not the anxiety.
I hope no matter what you're dealing with, you are able to use these tips to get past it. I believe in you. You are strong and capable. Keep fighting. <3