I was always the quiet, shy kid. I could spend hours playing by myself, crafting, drawing, going on 'adventures'. It wasn't considered as much of a big deal. As I grew older though, I felt more and more strange about me being so completely fine by myself and not feeling the need to talk and interact much. I felt an increasing pressure to be more outgoing which I think eventually really triggered my anxiety issues. In short: growing up sucks. As a little kid you can be as strange and unusual as you want and it's generally no big deal, but as an 'adult' things are expected of you, you have to act 'mature' and start caring more and more about what others think of you and your decisions.
But I digress.. this post is all about tips and tricks on how to tackle anxiety that I've learned over the years through reading articles, watching youtubers with similar problems and personal experience. I hope they can be useful to some of you beautiful peopel!
1. Look around you!
Whenever an anxiety attack strikes me, I have the tendency to look down and turn into myself, but this will only make things worse! Instead, try to look up and just observe everything around you. Are your surroundings really that threatening? Listen to the music that is playing, look at the people that are really not looking at/judging you (trust me!) or feel the delightful sun on your face and just breathe. Maybe take a second to sit down and obeserve and then carry on.
2. Pilates, Yoga and Meditation
Ever since I started doing these, I have definitely become more calm and aware of myself and my body. I've never been big on exercise, because it was always about competition and being better than someone else. With these practises however, it's all about your own journey and setting your own goals. Pilates and Yoga helped me better my posture and feel more confident and meditation helped me tackle anxiety attacks and stress in general. It can be as simple as just focusing on your breathing for a few minutes. Whenever everything gets a little too much for me, I just excuse myself and do some meditating in the washroom or whatever quiet place I can find.
Tea cleanses the body and the warmth relaxes it. There are a gazillion types of tea, each with their own special benefits. My favorite is plain green tea, but other great relaxing teas are chamomile, lavender, valerian or passionflower and if you have the luxury of a bath, then take a bath with your favorite bubbles while sipping your tea. Double the warmth! ♥
4. Know your patterns
Sometimes anxiety can just hit you out of nowhere, but you can probably also think of scenarios where an attack will be inevitable. Me for example, I get huge anxiety when I have to go out by myself, and usually spend about half an hour looking into the mirror to check if I look good enough for the outside world and saying encouraging things to myself. I also get anxiety when I have to make a phonecall or I have to pick up the phone, or when I'm suddenly around a lot of people.
The trick is to find out these anxiety scenarios for yourself, think of what your brains does at that time, and turn those thoughts around. JUST DO IT is my 'mantra' right now, which includes not thinking too much and just jumping into whatever 'danger' is ahead. You will (most likely) survive ;)
I've never been a big talker, especially not when it comes to all the thoughts swirling through my mind. I would just seclude myself and deal with it on my own. Since about a year though, I've been opening up more and told people about my anxiety issues and other troubles on my mind, and it's such a relief! Everyone is always very understanding and some even share their anxiety experiences with me which in turn makes me feel less alone and weird (and anyone who doesn't understand or thinks it's stupid doesn't deserve your time anyway). So whenever you're having an attack and whoever you're with looks at you questionly, just tell them what's up! Or go to a therapist, they're here to help you!
6. Alter Ego
Think of your favorite kick ass lady from that one movie, or that awesome girl from youtube you watch every day, or the protagonist of the comic you just read and BE HER.Coming up with 'famous' alter ego's has helped me immensely. In case of emergency, I can just be a classy Dita von Teese, Caroline Wexler from Daydream Nation or Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop. Be anyone you want to be!
7. Just live through it
Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do. That's just how it works. Those moments seem to last FOREVER, but really, it's only a few hours (if not less) of your entire lifetime (and what's a few hours in 100 years, right?). Good days are soon to come again, no worries :)
Do you have any tips for me? Please share!