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Let me start this by telling you that I am not a medical or mental health professional. I’m just a girl who has struggled with anxiety and panic for as long as I can remember.
Over the years, I have learned and used the following coping skills to lessen the frequency and severity of my anxious episodes. I truly hope these tips will help you if you struggle as well.
Don’t fight it
When you feel an anxiety or panic coming on, your immediate reaction will be to fight the feeling. Don’t. Instead, accept it. If you allow yourself to “roll” with the feelings, they become less scary. You can also repeat a positive affirmation at this time – like, “It’s only anxiety. It can’t hurt me.”
This one can be easier said than done. It takes a lot of self-awareness and practice. A single negative thought can have a snowball effect. Be mindful of what you are saying to yourself throughout the day. If you catch yourself thinking negatively, turn it into a positive.
For example, if you wake up and think, “I don’t even want to get out of bed. I hate Mondays.” Change it to, “Mondays can be rough, but I will get through it. I am strong and in control.”
You will be surprised at how changing your thinking can have such a positive impact on your mental health.
Don’t lay in bed and dwell on your feelings. Get up and clean out a closet. Go for a walk. Anything you can do to distract yourself and occupy your mind will help to lessen your anxious feelings.
Listening to some upbeat music can also be a great distraction and get you moving as well.
Practice muscle tension and relaxation
This practice helps to calm your entire body and your mind. Lay down on your back in bed or another comfy spot. Make sure you are alone and the room is free of distractions.
Starting with your head and neck, and moving the whole way down to your feet, one-by-one tense your muscles for a few seconds and then relax them. Your mind will focus on the physical feelings and lessen your anxiety.
Try deep breathing
This is so helpful when you feel a panic attack coming on. Lying on your back, place one hand on your chest. Place your other hand on your abdomen right below your belly button. Inhale deeply for 2 seconds, then exhale slowly for 4 seconds. Repeat as needed.
Pay attention to your diet
You might notice that you feel more anxious on days when you consume a lot of caffeine or sugar. Or maybe you skipped breakfast and feel funny. Eating right and cutting down on caffeine and sugar will help to keep your nervous system running smoothly.
It is also super important to remember to drink lots of water. Dehydration can cause cause anxious feelings as well.
Talk to a friend or loved one
It can definitely help to discuss your feelings with someone you trust. Even if they do not totally understand what you’re going through, just knowing you are not alone can make all the difference. Love and support is what you need and deserve.
I hope these coping practices work for you. Some of them may come easier than others, but they are all worth a try. With practice, you can master them and gain control of your feelings.
Let me know if you’ve used any of these techniques before and please share any others that are not on my list.
Sending calm vibes,