I often get asked ‘how have you overcome your anxiety?’. And the answer is simple – I haven’t. And I probably never will. Mental health conditions tend to stay with us, they like long term relationships. But it doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be the same as it is now, it will get a bit easier to live with. Overtime I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to manage it better. There’s still a long way to go, but in general my situation seems to be improving.
So I guess the question really is ‘how do I manage my anxiety?’. And I’m still working out the answer, but I’ve found some ways along my journey that help me to manage it. I’ll list them below and hopefully one or two of them may be helpful for you too. And by all means, if you have suggestions for managing anxiety/depression, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
How do I manage my anxiety?
1) By pushing myself into the deep-end.
There are a lot of situations that scare me and make me feel really anxious. Sometimes to the point where I’d rather not go or put myself in that position. For example, social gatherings, public transport, shopping on my own etc. But ultimately I find that once I’m there, I have a great time and am so glad that I did what I set out to do. It makes me feel proud and it makes it easier for me to do the same thing next time. Overtime I find that I begin to feel less anxious about it. Public transport is a great example of this for me. Initially I would be incredibly anxious about travelling by myself. But I made myself go on train journeys and on buses etc and overtime I became less anxious about it in general. Since then, I’ve travelled on my own in many places I’m not used to and have also been on many plane journeys by myself. I still get anxious a lot of the time, but I’m less anxious than I used to be and I’m sure it will continue to become more manageable overtime.
2) By taking time to relax.
It’s not possible to push myself into the deep-end all of the time. Sometimes I need to relax and have a break – we all do. If I didn’t, I’d be more prone to anxiety attacks or more likely to feel depressed. It’s important to get the balance right. Take time for yourself when you need to, there’s nothing wrong with that.
3) By listening to music.
Anxious on public transport? Worried about something? Need to relax? Trying to do something productive? Listen to music. I love listening to music on my way to work because it sets me up for the day. It can also distract me from my anxiety. For example, if I’m getting really anxious on the train or in a shop, listening to music can work wonders. I find that it also helps me to be more productive when I’m trying to complete a task.
4) By completing simple breathing exercises.
This helps me to calm down if I begin to get quite anxious. I like to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 and breathe out for 4. After doing this for a little while, I can then reflect on what’s making me feel anxious and work on managing the situation productively.
5) By reflecting on my day.
I keep a reflection diary where I write about my day and also about how I feel. I also use it to develop and work towards goals that I may have. I started doing this as I love recording memories and looking back on them, but I also find it really helpful from a mental health perspective.
6) By talking to family, partners and friends.
I find that talking to someone about how you’re feeling really helps. It helps me to reflect on my mental health and also recognise the progress I’ve made so far. It’s also great to know that someone else supports you and cares for you. Their advice or support during a particularly worrying time can mean so much and can be really helpful. Often others think of great suggestions that you hadn’t even thought of or tried before.
Remember that it’s okay to have difficult days. You’re not going to wake up one day and suddenly not have any symptoms of anxiety and/or depression ever again. That’s not the way it works. But, it will get more manageable over time and it will make you stronger. Anxiety and depression itself are pretty negative, but they’ve given me so many positives – to the point where I’m sometimes quite thankful for it. And I hope that you’ll experience that too.
Please feel free to comment below and tell me how you manage your mental health condition/s or to simply say hi. I hope you’re all doing okay!