Today I thought I would do something a little bit different and make it where others can participate and share there own helpful anxiety tips on what has really helped them. I would say educating myself was by far the most important thing that helped me, understanding why I felt the way I did, helped take all the fear and worry out of it and opened up the door for me to begin my recovery. I no longer spent each day worrying and trying to fix how I felt, this, in turn, helped my mind and body have the breaks it needed to heal. But there were a few things along the way that helped me and without going into loads of detail on each one here are just a few.
Exercise, food and keeping busy – I have mentioned it before but I took up exercise and it really helped. It burnt off all the excess adrenalin for a while and when I came back from a workout I felt great. The anxious energy would eventually build back up, as my body was stored with this energy, due to years of over worrying. But exercise helped give me a new focus, boosted my self-esteem, helped reduce feelings of stress and increased overall well being. Also eating a good diet can help with anxiety and cutting down on alcohol can be very helpful. Many people do turn to junk food and alcohol when suffering from anxiety to try and suppress how they feel, as a way of trying to make themselves feel better. But all this does is make them feel more down and lethargic, they may put on weight and their self-esteem goes down even further. Changing my diet and cutting down on alcohol made me feel much better in general, gave me far more energy and motivated me to get out more and engage with the world.
Getting out of bed when I woke – I used to feel a little spaced out when I woke and would start to go monitor how I felt, sort of go through the day in my head, feel that ‘Oh here we go again’ start to the day. I found just waking and getting out of bed and being active in other simple things made a difference. Just going down and making breakfast, living my life how I should do and not sitting around moping and feeling sorry for myself.
Moving towards my feelings of anticipation – An anxious mind will have us believe all sorts of things that never actually happen. I would be one minute avoiding a situation in case I felt bad and the next, I was not going to let anxiety to win and say I was going. I learnt that when I felt this way, it was far better to just go without thinking about it, just move right into the middle of whatever was having me question it. This attitude probably saved me from a life of avoidance. When I just went, I can honestly say sometimes I still felt apprehensive and at other times nothing and I have never felt so happy and proud of myself afterwards. Each time just unmasked a little more of the truth behind how I felt and my confidence just grew and grew, I could do anything and go anywhere, it was just my anxious mind that was trying to trick me into believing otherwise. You begin to no longer question or worry about places and situations, as you have been there many times before, there is no ‘unknown’ left. This is not to say I run around doing this and that, I just continued to build it up slowly.
Never being impressed by how I felt at any particular time – Too many people use the word setback when really they are just going through the usual up and down stages that anxiety brings. Just as someone with depression can have good and bad days, so can someone from suffering from anxiety, it’s all part and parcel of it. A lot will come on here and say ‘I have cracked it, I have not felt anxious for a few days now, I am free’. I always worry about these posts, as when they do have the next anxious moment, they will let it throw them into total despair and feel sorry for themselves, wonder and question why, try to scramble their way back to how they felt the week before. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time to build an attitude of being positive however I felt. Reacting to how you feel day by day or week by week just has you monitoring and fighting how you feel. Good or bad try and smile and get on, the good days will be back as night is day, but don’t try to force them.
Accepting all the oddness as part of me – I suffered pretty badly with D.P and feelings of detachment. One of the hardest things I learnt to do was accept these feelings as part of me, but in time I did. At one time I was trapped in this hell, because I spent every waking minute monitoring how I felt, trying everything to fix it, make it better, I became more and more locked in my own mind. I then began to live with it, accept the strangeness as part of me, be it, in a conversation or just walking down the road, I no longer let it impress me so much. I almost thought of it as being drunk, I accepted the feelings of drunkenness without a second thought because I understood them. Once I began to understand these feelings of detachment, it became easier to learn to accept them, even though it was tough at times. But again this is what saved me, I began to monitor myself less and less, the world around me began to again take my attention and little by little I felt more and more normal. Seeing someone who was grieving is the same thing, when you get that vacant stare out of them like they are not really there. This is because they have not been able to think of anything else but the person they have lost, they have had no time for the outside world and have become trapped in themselves and can’t seem to properly connect, but in time they begin to come to terms with it and they take more and more interest in other things and the world around them and normality returns, that is exactly what I had to learn to do.
There are a few more that I will share with you later, but these were my own top 5.
Please feel free to share anything that has helped you, it would be good to list a few from others. I also have a list of helpful anxiety quotes on my main site that people may find helpful.