This is a relatively personal post and I’m a little nervous about posting it, but everyone is really pushing talking about things and getting it all out there so I’ve decided to tell you a little bit about how I deal with my anxiety. You never know, it might help someone, which would be amazing.
There’s been a huge surge of posts about all aspects of mental health recently and I honestly think it’s so great that it’s starting to become something that is actually talked about, so I thought I’d join the party and have a go it at. I’ve wanted to post something like this for a while but I’ve been putting it off, so here goes … (aahhh)!
Anxiety is a tricky thing because everyone experiences it differently and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. Another important thing to note is that there doesn’t have to be a trigger, it has a nasty habit of catching you unawares and knocking you temporarily off your feet – this is especially important if you are with someone when they get overcome with anxiety.
- Breathe. This sounds so obvious and silly, but when you’re being completely enveloped by panicky thoughts you sometimes find that you have override your inner workings and remind yourself to breathe and bring yourself back to reality. Try and make sure that your breath out is longer than your breath in. Sometimes, focusing and really concentrating on your breathing can be enough to calm you down, especially if you’re in the early stages of a panic attack.
- Distract yourself by picking up a book or doing some colouring. This one is obviously circumstantial, if you’re stood in the middle of a crowded shopping center sweating and trembling, you can’t really just plonk yourself on the floor and whip out your colouring book. But if you’re anything like me, you get panicky in even the seemingly most simple situations like cooking tea or not even doing anything at all and it just comes over you like a wave whilst you’re watching telly, then this would be the perfect time to immerse yourself into something else to take your mind of it. Run yourself a bath, or play a mindless match three game on your phone – anything to just distract you long enough for you to catch your breath and rationalise the situation.
- Call your best friend or your SO or your Mum or anyone that you’re comfortable enough to just vent to. You can either talk to them about it and they may be help calm you down or you can just start a random conversation about what you had for lunch today or what you did at the weekend. In no time at all, you’ll find yourself laughing or at least with a little smile on your face and you’ll start to feel a little better. I understand that this may not be the best option for some people, a lot people really don’t like talking on the phone.
- Take some time out. This is really useful if you’re feeling anxious at your workplace, school or around friends etc. Just step outside for 5 minutes, take some deep breaths and take some time to collect your thoughts.
- Light a candle. I use this all the time. When I’m at home and can feel myself starting to feel a little panicky, I light one of my many candles and just stare at it. This might sound a little weird, but we can all admit that there is something really mesmerizing about a flickering flame. I don’t know what it is about it, but I can sit and stare at a candle flickering away for ages, I get so caught up in watching it dance about that I almost forget about feeling panicky and feel instantly more relaxed.
5. Have you ever heard of a calm jar? I haven’t used this in such a long time and I don’t know why because it helped me immensely and also the process of making is such fun. Find an empty jam jar and make sure it’s clean. Then all you need is some colourful glitter (lots of it) and water. Sprinkle the glitter in the jar, don’t be sparing either – you can never have enough glitter in your life! Then fill the jar with water, leaving about a 2cm gap and screw the lid on super tight. You make it look a little prettier if you want by getting a square of fabric and covering the lid, securing it with a ribbon or piece of string and tie it with bow. Once you’ve made your calm jar, when you start to feel panicky then grab the jar and shake it, put it down and watch the glitter float around and wait for it settle. By the time the glitter the settles, you should find you’ve calmed down a little.
So these are few techniques and tricks that I use, but they don’t always work. Sometimes, you kind of just have to embrace it and ride it through. It sucks, I know – but as long as you know that this panic attack won’t last forever then you’ll get through it.
I really hope that at least one person found this useful – let me know in the comments of anything that you find helpful?