So I was thinking about all the ways I deal with anxiety and figured I would share some of my go-to coping mechanisms for anxiety.
Here are the simpler coping mechanisms that work for me:
Going for a walk, or doing some other physical activity
Not just the distraction, but the endorphins really help. If you can regularly exercise, it can really help keeping anxiety at bay in general.
If you aren’t up for a walk (I live on the third floor of my building, so sometimes it feels a bit more daunting than others), and you have a balcony or other outdoor space, if you can, go sit outside. Sometimes the fresh air alone can do wonders. Or if you’re able to be in nature, that REALLY helps me. Especially being near water.
If I can escape into another world, or learn something new, that distraction really helps me. I find it more engrossing than staring at a screen, and it more easily relaxes me.
This blog has definitely helped me with my anxiety. Sometimes just writing things out, especially if you can do it by hand, can really help get your thoughts down and give you some perspective.
I can go down these spirals where I feel like I am alone, and that people don’t really like me, and all number of other thoughts typical to anxious people. Nothing rational about them. So what helps me, is talking those bad thoughts down and reminding myself how ridiculous and unlikely the thoughts are to be true.
Talking to a friend or family member
I am lucky, I have a few friends who suffer from anxiety to varying degrees, so they can relate to me and my irrational thoughts. I always joke that sometimes all I need is for them to roll their eyes at me so I know that what i’m thinking is ridiculous and that everything is fine
Okay, I am a big animal lover. When my cat passed away in March I was devastated with reason. Sometimes all I need is a purring cat to calm my nerves. I am glad that I have my two cats around for that and they are both lovebugs! And nothing beats a big dog to cuddle with! I miss living with my parents and our family dog for that.
Water or unsweetened tea
This one might sound silly, but sometimes just drinking water or tea, and the purity of it, calms me down.
Okay, one thing I will recommend everyone does, is make their bed in the morning. There is NOTHING more soothing to me than coming home to a made bed and come bedtime, it is so comforting! And they say that starting the day accomplishing a task sets you up for a better more productive day.
Those are small things that I do when I need to relax and calm myself down.
My own technique for centering/calming myself
For when it gets a bit worse than the norm and none of these coping mechanisms work, I have this technique I do that really helps me. I am not good at meditating. It’s something i’d really love to get better at actually. But I guess this might sound like a kind of meditation.
Basically, I lie down with my eyes closed. Preferably in my bed. In a pinch you can do this in a bathroom stall if for some reason you’re not home. I’ve had to do it before lol, no judgment.
From here you take deep breaths. I usually think to myself “breathe in….” “breathe out…” and after i’ve done that a few times, I tell myself (or think if you can’t say it out loud) “everything is okay and will be okay”. I repeat that as many times as needed and from there, and this might sound a bit weird, but I visualize myself connecting to the universe, just opening myself up to the powers that be.
I say universe, you can say God, spirit, earth mother, whatever you feel like, i’m just not religious myself. And then when I feel that connection, I tell myself (or again, think) “I am a magnet for all good things”. And I repeat that over and over as long as I feel like it. And that’s it. I guess it’s kind of a combination of meditation, visualization and affirmations.
Affirmations are great coping mechanisms for anything, they can be very powerful. I try to use them regularly for whatever I need them for. I’ll do a post about them this weekend.
I feel amazing after doing this. And if you didn’t know from my other blog, I am into the law of attraction. Really, to simplify it, I believe that positive attracts positive, and vice versa. So I just try, when i’m having a hard time, to pivot my thoughts to more positive ones. The best way for me to do that is gratitude! Sometimes you just need to remember what you have to be thankful for in order to put things into perspective. Let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog, you’re luckier than many people. Having a roof over your head, access to the internet, and probably all that comes with that. Food, clean water, etc. etc. etc. It is ALL about perspective. And that helps a lot with anxiety in and of itself.
A well-known technique for full-blown panic attacks
I don’t often have full-blown anxiety/panic attacks, it’s pretty rare for me actually. My anxiety is more related to the thoughts I have than physical symptoms that impede my daily life. One technique I did find very useful that I heard about originally on a TV show, it’s called the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. You can read about it here. It helps you use all of your senses to detract from whatever is causing your anxiety.
So I hope this article helps! If I forgot any coping mechanisms from the original list or find any more useful, I will add them. What are some techniques that help you? Let me know in the comments!