Whether it’s small everyday concerns or the burden of an anxiety disorder, life sometimes has a way of paralyzing you with worries. They keep you awake at night. They strain your friendships and relationships. They hold you back from reaching your true potential.
I am no stranger to worry. Anxiety is in my blood, passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. Sometimes my trains of thought can get reckless, irrational, and overwhelming. Here are some things I have done to overcome episodes of anxiety, or at least make them more bearable.
Remember to breathe
This is always a good place to start. Take a moment where you focus on nothing more than inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly. It will help you begin to calm down.
Drink a cup of tea
Or hot chocolate, or coffee, or vodka – whatever your beverage of choice, really. There are teas out there that have been proven to reduce anxiety or depression, but even the process of making tea can be soothing.
Listen to music
Put together a playlist that delights your senses. Fill it with your favorite songs that do just the trick at drowning out your thoughts. For some people, this may include sad music, but for others this only serves to make it worse, so if you are one of those people, you should NOT add that City and Colour song to your playlist.
About good things. Positive, enriching things. Daydream about plans you have coming up in the near future that you’re looking forward to. Daydream about participating in the activities that make you happy. Or just picture lots of cute kittens.
Play a game
Left 4 Dead 2 worked wonders in helping me get through a rough breakup, and League of Legends has kept me distracted while I wait for responses to sensitive texts or Facebook messages.
Read a book
Let yourself get lost in another world or another person’s poetic perspective. Swim through their colorful imagery and fall in love with their use of language. Only come up for air when you’re feeling better again.
Watch something on Netflix
I would personally recommend something that will make you smile – a sitcom or stand-up comedian, maybe. But it’s whatever you’d prefer, really. Try not to get sucked into marathoning an entire season of a show, though; one or two episodes should do the trick.
Talk to a friend
It can be about anything in the world – except for what’s got you anxious. Something funny they saw online the other day, if you’ve watched any good movies lately, random small talk. Anything at all to keep you preoccupied.
Take a nap
If you can’t stand to be awake and you can’t focus on anything else but your worries, lie down for a while. You may fall asleep, or it may just be a chance for your thoughts to settle, but either way you’ll probably feel better afterward.
Do small chores that need to get done – make your bed, wash the dishes, put away your clean clothes, take out the trash. Keeping busy focuses your mind on the task at hand and away from whatever is bothering you.
Think about what your flaws are and what you could be proactive about changing. Not in a horrible, self-deprecating way, but in a healthy and realistic way. Resolve to do better, to be better.
Remind yourself that you’re awesome
Why waste your time agonizing about that boy who hasn’t texted you back? If he wants you, he’ll make it perfectly clear, and if he doesn’t, it’s his loss because you’re fucking amazing. Remember that you’re only human and, while everyone has their negative traits, those things don’t make you any less lovely. Remember you’re doing the best you can. Remember that you deserve happiness, just like anyone else.