Anxiety can interrupt your everyday life and take a hold of your mental health. The constant feeling of worry along with the physical symptoms of rapid heart rate, dry mouth and trembling are enough to distract you from normal tasks. It is easy to get wrapped up in anxiety and for it to handle you, instead of you handling it. With that, I understand that most of the articles I write are easier said than done because when you're stuck in an anxiety attack it's easy for your rational thoughts to fly out of the window. Hopefully, something I say in this article will resonate with you and help you discover a way to control it.
I think deep down I have always had anxiety, but it was not until I moved away from home for College that I recognized it as an actual problem. Couple that with the crippling depression I acquired my freshman year and it was a one way street to disaster. The beneficial thing about my anxiety in college though was that it was based on external factors, things and events that I could control easier than the internal anxiety that I have now. For example; I hated the major I was in, the stress of Nursing was too much for me to handle and with that came a horrible first semester, skip to next semester and my anxiety lessened because I simply switched majors. Another example was that the people I was surrounding myself with were giving me legit anxiety, so I simply put my energy into different people and it lessened.
Unfortunately, the anxiety didn't go away fully because anxiety and depression go hand in hand sometimes. Insert dropping out of college (THANK GOD) and moving back home to then realize I wanted to pursue my dreams. This led to me moving across the country to California and even though it was by far the best decision I have ever made it came with a lot of stress and gave me an extreme amount of anxiety. Anxiety can be triggered by life changing events and moving out on your own is a pretty huge task. Not only are you dependent on yourself, in my case I moved to California not knowing a single person, which was extremely lonely. I was lucky to find my best friend out here very quickly (shout out MY BBBB), however most people do not have that luxury and especially in the entertainment industry it can be lonely.
As time has gone on my anxiety has worsened, especially due to COVID-19. I walk out my house to go to the grocery store and I'm fine but right when I get home I feel a cough coming on and go into full blown panic mode. Even without COVID I have anxiety when it comes to my health since I have asthma, so when I do get anxious my mind automatically thinks "I can't breathe" which then pushes my anxiety into an even deeper disaster. My anxiety is also prevalent at night since I do not have the distractions of the day to keep my mind off of it. This leads me to our next section which includes some sure fire ways to possibly nip your anxiety in the butt.
Tips N Tricks For Surviving Your Anxiety
Tip # 1: Your Anxiety is Lying to You
Shout out WNRS for this great life advice that I will forever hold sacred to my heart. In the grand scheme of things, anxiety is a myth. All of the worry you are feeling is based on external and future events that you have the control over and not the other way around. It is easy when dealing with anxiety to feel overwhelmed (snowball effect) because once you worry about one event it is easy to nitpick and worry over the time leading up to event, that may or may not even be real. Anxiety includes but is not limited too: 1. Feeling nervous, restless or tense 2. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom , among many others, which means that sometimes the anxiety is internalized. A great way to cope with this feeling is to firstly understand why you are feeling it at all. Did something trigger you? Are you stressed? Is said stress arising over something that has not even occurred yet? If so then look no further because the anxiety you are feeling is not real. How is it possible to have an emotion on something that has not even happened yet? It's not, you can not worry over things that have not occurred because if you do you will live your life in a constant state of fear and turmoil. While having the anxiety remember to think about that, to understand that this anxiety is not controlling you since the anxiety itself is based off of something that is made up in your own mind. It is easier to calm down from this point, but YOU have to believe it.
Tip # 2: Distraction = Satisfaction
Before doing any of the tips make sure to always try to find the source of your anxiety because without it you are only enabling your anxiety instead of eliminating it. Now once you have tried to do that, make sure you clear your mind. It's easier said than done but clearing your mind of all thoughts is an easy way to eliminate some of the anxiety because you are no longer thinking about it. My favorite way to clear my mind is to countdown from 1000, I never make it far because by the time I get to 800 I've usually calmed down. Another easy way to calm down and clear your head is listening to music, put on your favorite feel good playlist (mine is my 2000s r and b playlist) and blast it as loud as you can, drown out all of your thoughts. By distracting your mind you are making it easy for your body to eliminate the anxiety because you are not digging yourself deeper into a whole of worry. A pro tip for the distraction method is to use this grounding method that is used by hundreds of people worldwide;
Locate 5 things you can see
4 things you can physically touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Tip # 3: Just Keep Breathing
Anxiety can feel overwhelming to the point of no return but the main concern should always be to keep yourself calm, because it is very easy to produce more physical harm during an anxiety attack. You don't want to push yourself into a panic attack with manic breathing, you want to make sure to stay focused on breathing in and out in tempo. An easy method is to breathe in and out while counting to 7, this will make sure you are getting good deep breathes which will result in your heart rate going down, eliminating some of the anxiety.
Tip # 4: Good Smells, Good Vibes
Aromatherapy refers to the range of therapies that use essential oils and other aromatic plant extracts. Apart from providing a pleasant smell, they can also provide psychological benefits. They affect the limbic system, which is linked to emotions, your heart rate, breathing, memory, stress and hormone balance. Essential oils can have a subtle, yet holistic effect on the body. I personally use Luck 7 which I got from AIE Holistic in LA. I use it when I have anxiety before I go to bed and I spray it on both of my wrists, instantly easing some of my anxiety. Whatever essential oils or aromatherapy you use make sure you get one that will benefit you, anxiety comes in all different forms so the ones I use might not be what's best for you. The good news is that if you can find the source of your anxiety it will be easier to find which ones will benefit you!
Whether it is distraction, breathing deeply or doing the grounding method make sure you do it with your goal in mind, eliminating your anxiety. I also want to put out there that my Instagram inbox is always open! Never be ashamed of your anxiety because more people deal with it then you would think, I hope after reading my story you understand that even the most extroverted people sometimes suffer in silence! You are never alone!