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Tips for Dealing With Anxiety…

by Samantha Bentley 5 years ago in anxiety
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WARNING: This is not a cure.

It strikes me as sad that so many people suffer from anxiety and yet there doesn’t seem to be any real cure. Those that don’t suffer often think it is an exaggeration. We are told to "get over it" or "calm down" or "cheer up," the most patronising and senseless responses to someone in the depths of an anxiety or panic attack.

I have written about this before, offering advice for those of you that DON’T suffer but that have loved ones that suffer, giving you an insight into the mind of someone that has anxiety so intense it frequently cripples their day to day activities.

Now I am going to write to try and sooth my fellow sufferers. I am not a doctor, or an expert. I only know how I feel and how I cope. So you guys know you are not alone, the feeling of endless worry, a panic so intense it weighs down on your brow and almost gives you a headache. A dizzying sense of nausea that you can’t shake, a restlessness to your mind that is filled with worry and panic for NO reason. You don’t know why you feel like this, you don’t know how to stop it. You shift uncomfortably in your seat, you try different ways of distracting yourself, nothing works. You cannot shake this crippling fear and panic, there is no end in sight and you have no clue where it began. Maybe you’re shaking or sweating, maybe you want to cry… sound familiar?

I know how you feel. I feel it too. I have a few ways that I TAME the feeling. I don’t stop it entirely, I don’t fix it permanently, but I do manage to control it (sometimes).

Breathing

Okay. I know. EVERYONE says breathe… everyone. My first thought when I’m told to breathe is to tell that person to shut the fuck up and try feeling like this. The problem with being told to breathe is that it is a throw away comment. I am breathing. Otherwise I would not be alive. I trained as a yoga instructor three years ago; there, I learnt what it meant to be told to breathe. Yogic breath is a form of meditation. It is used to calm and control the breath and the mind, it corrects poor breathing techniques, and it aids in relaxation… and best of all? You can do it anywhere, anytime.

Take a deep inhale through your nose, fill your lungs from the bottom all the way to the top, visual them as a glass being filled with air. When you reach the top, hold your breath for one second long, then reverse your breath, breathing out through your nose, drawing you navel to your spine and making sure every last bit of air is gone from your lungs. Repeat. Do this between four to eight times to notice a calming sensation. Focusing your mind on the visuals will also distract from your worry.

Positive Thoughts

This one only works for me when my anxiety is mild. When I’m on a full blown "everything is shit including me and life is pointless so why was I even born the universe is huge we are dots what's the point in anything might as well die now I hate myself" type vibe… these don’t really work. But if you are having slight worries or you’re feeling down and like everything is shitty, try and think of at least three things you are thankful for. They can be anything from your/your family's health, you have a job you love, you have a loving partner, you have great friends, and you have a home. Things can always be worse. I have to remind myself of that frequently. I hate sounding like a spoilt brat. Yes, everyone's problems are relative to their own life and we all need a moment to feel sorry for ourselves and have a moan but then we must pick ourselves up and remind ourselves that life could always be worse. Like I said, these are for the minor panics not the major ones and also don’t really work that well when when something horrific has happened, but can help those around you if you try and seem slightly positive.

Physical Activity

This is my absolute favourite for getting rid of anxiety. Physical activities and exercise release endorphins and can aid in making you feel happier. I realised exercising was my favourite way to shake the fear around six years ago when I was going through some pretty intense relationship issues. I use to throw on some music and go running. I’d run for miles, around the streets, through parks. I particularly liked running in the evenings as it got dark. I live in central London and always felt weirdly calm running through empty residential streets at night. I then discovered Yoga, and this became my go to for calming, an hour of listening to someone tell me how to breathe and how to pose my body, with a short guided relaxation at the end. No phone, no internet, no social media, no other people. Just me. When we got our English Bull Terrier puppy, my boyfriend used to drive me to Yoga every evening to give me an hour of calm (He was a nightmare puppy that I didn’t particularly want and we were living in my one bed, gradualness flat that I had just bought for me and my little pug… so suddenly having my boyfriend and a new puppy moving in made my anxiety 73892748923 times worse). Yoga always helped. I would leave feeling calmer and happier and ready to take on the poo/pee machine that was currently chewing holes in all my possessions.

Sex is another great physical activity for getting rid of anxiety. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a partner on hand and the time to do it, have a little session. Trust me, you will feel all the better for it.

You haven’t died yet.

This is probably the most obvious, but weirdly the one we forget when we are in a downward spiral, a seemingly never ending turmoil of worry and misery. You are actually fine. You have been through this many times and always come out the other end. Yes. It is horrible, and yes it may last a few more hours, or even a day, but it will subside eventually and you can breath a sigh of relief until the next torment begins. But until that time, just remember, you are here, this has not killed you, and it won’t. You will be fine. You've got this.

anxiety

About the author

Samantha Bentley

Born and Bred Londoner, Mother to baby Roman and my two pooches, Plant Eater, Yoga and Aerial Teacher + Learner, Music Maker... was once in Game Of Thrones, was once a Penthouse Pet, used to win awards for getting naked.

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