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Have you ever found yourself sitting at a desk doing work, when suddenly you start to lose focus as your heart pounds fiercely against your chest making you dizzy, shake, or even want to throw up? Then you may be showing symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Often an anxiety attack starts with just a simple thought such as, what you want to have for dinner, which spirals into a series of thoughts you’re unable to follow even if asked to repeat it. This frenzied path of thinking can sometimes lead to your greatest fears, such as being alone forever, without you even realizing it.
Now anxiety disorder is not sweating before a big interview, or your heart racing when you want to ask someone on a date. That is called everyday anxiety, and it can actually be very healthy when you are aware of when and why you feel it. With that said, Over 40 million American adults are feeling this fear or worry in even the most calming environment. Even more shocking is only 1/3 of them seek help. This is a devastating number and shows how willing humans can be to suffer when they don’t understand all the facts. Now, not everyone has the resources to go to a counselor every time they feel anxious, so here are a few coping tips to push you’re through the tough times when you can’t seek immediate help.
1. Slam (Letting It Out)
Let your feelings out. This release can include crying into a pillow, hitting something that’s soft, or just going for a run. These examples may seem simple but are a vital part of the healing process. Even if you are in a restricting setting such as school or work when the feelings of dread hit, it’s entirely acceptable to take 5 min break or go to the restroom to escape to a more private space. Nothing is more important than your mental health, and as such you owe it to yourself to take those moments you need. Not to mention the productivity is often influenced by your mental state. In the end, allowing yourself to leave and let go may save you more time then if you stayed and stressed silently.
2. Slump (Deflate A Little Bit)
Now that you released some of the more raw emotions that come with anxiety physically, it’s time to just let yourself sink down. Many may be confused by this idea, but anxiety comes with a lot of very high emotions, and it’s important to bring yourself to a lower level. Physically sit or lay down and focus on your breathing no matter how fast it may be. Don’t panic over where you should be, or what needs to be done. Just as I mentioned before, this time is necessary and will lead to better results when its over.
3. Stress (Let Yourself Feel It)
Once you’ve reached a proper low, it’s time to embrace the deeper feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, and regret. It may seem like regression, but allowing yourself to stress after you’ve physically brought yourself down can help in two ways. Building up your emotions mentally will give you a sense of control over yourself. A feeling of lacking control over one’s life is often a common symptom of many mental disorders. So being able to choose how your stress builds up, may allow you to feel more in control of the moment. Also, allowing yourself to think about the fear, will help you understand it more. Yes, it can be terrifying to let yourself to embrace your anxiety, but even if it’s just a moment, allowing yourself to completely stress can do more good than harm in the long run.
4. Stare (Meditative States)
When you feel like you can not take the stress building any longer, its time to attempt to zone out. Find a point on the wall and just stare at it as if it is the most beautiful piece of art. This part of coping is all about distracting yourself and relaxing mentally after all the physical and mental stimulation. Even watching something mindless on television, meditating, or listening to loud music can help drown out the anxiety. If the staring at a wall doesn’t do it for you, and a TV isn’t in sight, there are a few other on the go options for diverting your attention and lowering those feelings.
5. Stabilize (Change Your Thinking)
Now is the point where you can finally just think about the good things. Take this moment to consider all the things you enjoy in life. Close your eyes and image someone you genuinely care about is right beside you. Take a breath, and image the sweetest scents from your memory are surrounding you to the point you could almost be in the place you first encountered them. cover your ears and listen to the beating of your own heart as it matches the beat to your favorite melody. With a little imagination, you can anywhere, and feel anything you want.
6. Stand (Rejoin The World)
The time it took you to go through those first five steps may vary, but whenever you feel even slightly strong enough, you must stand up once more. You have actively felt your pain, and thought about it too; it’s time to embrace the world once more. This is where you will push yourself to new heights. As you walk again, remember that everything that happens, happens with just one step at a time.
These steps are not a cure-all, but they can truly make a difference in a pinch. Embracing, releasing, and resting both physically and mentally followed by pushing yourself to take that small step forward are the keys to its success. My final and most significant recommendation I hope those with anxiety take from this is never to be ashamed of what you feel. Rejecting your feelings will only eat at you until you are forced into a place you do not want to go. Sometimes awareness of anxiety is the most prominent cause of anxiety, but trying to reject your feelings will only make things worse. So always note these two things; you are never alone, and this feeling most certainly will pass.