Living with anxiety is probably one of the hardest mental health hurdles I’ve personally had to face. I suffered from it as a young child but didn’t know that the thoughts I was having weren’t as normal as I thought. As an teenager I suffered even more from the plaguing thoughts; I think teenage years are hard for everyone, with or without mental illnesses to worry about. However recently I managed to overcome to worst of my anxiety and I wanted to share some tips that helped me deal with it. Of course, these tips won’t work for everyone, some may work for you or none of them will, but I think it’s best to try everything before it gets to a point where you’re no longer willing to try.
- Try to regularly do things out of your comfort zone. People always say this and it sounds cliche so I hope my interpretation is a little less cringey than the other entitled self-help posts. You need to do things to make you anxious, because from a science point of view the only way you can re-program a behavior (anxiety in certain situations) is to desensitize yourself. Think about what in the situation makes you anxious and work with it, some people work better doing it in small steps and letting themselves get used to it slowly but I find my anxiety is much more noticeable when I take things slow so as a personal preferences I have to just do it all in one. I think sometimes scaring yourself in a situation often overrides the anxiety and you’re more focused on just getting it over with. Obviously though, don’t rush yourself, take it at your own pace, you’ll see results slowly but surely.
- Celebrate the small successes. It’s easy to feel bad about a failed attempt or getting annoyed at yourself for feeling anxious, especially in situations that others don’t struggle in. But try not to focus too much on the big picture, those little things you’ve been doing leading up to the situation should certainly be counted as a win. Even if you only felt slightly anxious, celebrate, you still felt anxious but you managed to push through and eventually you’ll be able to push through the harder situation because you’ve been cheering yourself on.
- support yourself and others will follow. A lot of the time, especially in anxious people, other peoples’ support and recognition means more than your own. But you won’t always have someone around to cheer you on. Learn to be your own cheerleader and celebrate your own success, you’ll feel much better knowing you did your best with your own power. But you can always enjoy people’s support and don’t feel bad or unaccomplished to ask for help, asking for help is sometimes worth more in success.
- Keep your mind busy. If you’re focused on other things it’s harder to feel nervous, instead of overthinking a situation sometimes it’s best to just go for it and trust yourself. Try to be more positive in difficult situations or, if it’s hard to get your thoughts together, take a moment to breathe, relax and think through your next move.
- Stay healthy. It’s cliche, you don’t have to tell me twice, I must have read tens of magazines claiming that ‘health is the only way to happiness’ and sure, they’re right for the most part. But diets and sit ups aren’t going to make you happy or healthy. Look after yourself, all of yourself from you mental health, general health and physical health. Find a regime that works for you that doesn’t make you dread your next meal or heading to the gym. A bit of exercise and good food is always a good place to start, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some form of exercise to enjoy and you can always do it at home or with a friend, just find out what works. I found a healthier lifestyle did me the world of good and just knowing I was getting fit and healthy helped me get rid a lot of my anxieties.
But even if nothing works know you’re never alone and there are always ways to find help.
Stay happy, healthy and hopeful! ❤