Dealing With Anxiety
Originally written November 19, 2019
Dealing with anxiety is so hard. I know many of us have it and live with it every day and I commend everyone who does because it’s HARD! I want to preface this post by saying I am in no ways a certified doctor or therapist and what may work for myself definitely won’t work for everyone. These are just a few things that I have found help me cope when I am experiencing a bout of anxiety/depression. I also want to say that I have never been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, and I would say I am generally a very happy and positive person, I just happen to deal with feeling anxious or sad from time to time.
When I was having a horrible panic attack over the summer, I felt so alone, but I also didn’t want to burden anyone with my sadness. I knew I was the only one who could help myself. I pulled up a blank google doc and decided to write a letter to myself. In this letter I affirmed my feelings, but I reassured myself that everything was going to be okay and that I would be accomplishing great things. I listed out specific people who love me and would be willing to talk to me/help me feel better at the drop of a hat. I reminded myself that this feeling will not last forever. I basically just had a conversation with myself. I wrote what I would say to a close friend to comfort them, and it was the nicest thing I have ever read and really did reassure me and make me feel a lot better. It is empowering to know that I can comfort myself and don’t always need to rely on anyone else for reassurance. But I also recognize that it is okay to lean on friends and loved ones when you need too, so long as you are getting professional help when you need it (which I am a BIG advocate for, shoutout to my therapist).
I would highly recommend writing a letter of comfort to anyone during a bout of anxiety or depression, as it really helped me and it has been nice to reread it whenever I am feeling down now.
Incase you’re looking for other ideas to help with anxiety, here is a list of other things that help me when I’m feeling particularly anxious:
-making bucket lists
-being productive (paying credit card bills, working out, completing errands and/or annoying tasks)
-talking to someone I love
-going to a work out class (I classify these differently because classes have so much more of a social aspect that just make it a completely different experience)
-hug a stuffed animal and lay in bed
-watch tv or a movie
-read a good book
-take a walk outside
-go for a hike
-going for a drive
I also have three go-to breathing techniques I use when I am actively in distress and need to calm down. I make my friends do these if they’re ever having a moment of panic or just need to breathe.
As you draw a square in the air with your finger, match your breathing to each line you draw. Draw a line and breathe in for four seconds, draw the second line of the square and hold your breath for four seconds. Draw the third line of the square and breathe out for four seconds, then hold your breath for four seconds as you draw the last side of the square. Repeat for as long as you’d like to help slow down your breath. Here is a diagram explaining this technique a little more visually.
Place a hand on your stomach, and breathe in all the way so that you can feel your stomach go in as far as it can go and when you reach the max, hold your breath for a few seconds. Then exhale and push out as much as you can so that your stomach pushes forward as far as it can without hurting yourself.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
I believe this is also called Puraka Pranayama Breathing in yoga. Close one of your nostrils with your finger and breathe in deeply for 5 seconds. Hold your breath and switch your finger to cover the other nostril, and breathe out. Repeat as you much as you’d like until your breathing slows and your nasal passages feel clearer. I learned this breathing technique from a yoga instructor and she said it also works wonders when you have a stuffed up nose from a cold.