How I manage anxiety (or at least try to manage anxiety)

Posted on September 5, 2016

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Anxiety’s a bitch, we all know that. But sometimes, she hates some people more than others. That’s when she gets crippling. But you don’t have to let her win – you mustn’t let her win. Here’s how I fight anxiety.

  1. Smoke. I know, I know, it’s a bad habit. But for some reason it really does calm me down. I try to limit my cigarette breaks to two sticks, though – lung cancer is still worse than a panic attack.
  2. Meds. When you start to think that maybe they’re not really that effective, stop. That’s your anxiety talking. Force yourself to believe that they’re there to make you better. Follow your doctor.
  3. Uplifting music. Listen to happy and calming tunes! It really works wonders. I’m thinking of making another playlist for this purpose, but who knows.
  4. Put down your tasks in a planner, rely on it, and stop worrying about it endlessly. It’s tough, I know. You just have this unshakable feeling that everything will go wrong, but chances are they won’t. Put it all down in a planner and leave it at that. Learn how to let go and trust yourself.
  5. Break down small tasks, do not ruminate too much on bigger plans and ideals. Doing so will DESTROY you, I am telling you. Small steps. Slowly but surely. Do not think about anything else, you’ll get there little by little.
  6. Distract yourself. I know getting distracted is tough for us perpetually anxious people, but you really have to force yourself. Read adventure books. Watch movies. YouTube things. The important thing is to keep your mind occupied enough to stop worrying about unnecessary things.
  7. Write it all down. All the good and bad. Let it out. Thoughts can be like poison – keeping it in will kill you.
  8. Drink lots of water. I don’t know, it calms me down for some reason. Also, avoid caffeine and opt for water.
  9. Clean, cook, whatever. It really takes your mind off things.
  10. Run. Ditto.
  11. Do not watch the news and dwell on it. Keep the TV on for background noise or something, but focusing too much on current events will fuck you up. That’s why I stopped.
  12. When the place you live in gets too toxic, move back a few steps. Travel. Go someplace calming like the ocean, or something. The important thing is you have enough space to breathe.
  13. Do yoga. Or even just basic stretching. A simple inhale-exhale exercise can keep you calm.
  14. Embark on an artistic endeavor. Painting, playing music, etc. It’s really rewarding to make something beautiful.
  15. Don’t stay too long on social media. Hell, as they say, is other people.
  16. Pet therapy. It’s real.
  17. If you have to work on something, do not do it on your bed. There is such a thing as sleep hygiene, wherein you must associate the bed with sleeping (and other activities wink wink). If you have to be productive, do it on the floor or on the table.
  18. Don’t put your entire identity on your chosen career. You need to have a life outside your career. As much as you want to start it or put 100% into it (for me it’s law school), you need to remind yourself that you are not a machine.
  19. Watch cartoons or kid shows. Doing so will take your mind into simpler times when worry is not yet part of your vocabulary. It will remind you that you do not have to be so stressed.
  20. Remember to forgive yourself and be your own person. You do not have to owe anyone anything (unless it’s money, but whatever). Stop thinking so much about what others think and whether you’re being left behind. Chances are you are not. Focus on your own pace and start thinking positive. Remind yourself that you are capable of moving yourself forward and you are not your anxiety. You can do this. You’re not alone.
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