Something I don't talk much about on the blog, but is a huge part of my identity, is anxiety. I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks in many different forms from as early as junior high and have experienced a variety of symptoms and tried lots of different things to treat it. If you suffer from anxiety issues you know what I mean when I say it can rule your life and make it very difficult to go about normal daily activities.
Today was a horribly bad anxiety day for me...one of the worst in recent memory when I honestly felt trapped in my own mind. It is a scary and hopeless feeling. And so I turned to some of my loyal anxiety remedies, which got me thinking what others with similar problems do when their anxiety flares up.
First let me say that this post is about simple things you can do to help alleviate mild anxiety. I'm no doctor friends, and in many cases, medication and therapy are needed to get it under control.
These are simply activities that I've found to help me shut off or at least turn down my anxiety. Sometimes clearing your mind and focusing on something else can work wonders. Here are five of my go-to anxiety helpers...
Of course this is my #1. The best part about doodling is anyone can do it. All you need is a pen and paper. And it is such a great way to relieve stress. I find repetitive shapes or patterns like the one above can be very calming. My focus goes entirely into the doodle and after a few minutes I find myself quite a bit calmer. I've also found it helpful to relieve a tension headache.
This one isn't for everyone, but knitting for me was a hobby that truly saved my sanity during a really difficult time. I took up loom knitting a few years ago, which is super simple to learn, and I found the repetitive motion super calming. I've heard crochet and other needle crafts are similarly relaxing.
Writing down your fears, worries and anxieties is a wonderful way to get them off of your mind. It legitimizes them and is also a tangible way of letting them go. If it helps, write on loose paper and rip it up and throw it away afterward as a way of saying...OK...I'm done with that now, on to happier things! Art journaling is also a fabulous way to de-stress, using magazine clippings, paint, washi tape and other pretties along with writing.
4. Deep breathing & meditation
I'm a novice to this whole realm, but I've listened to a few calming meditations when I'm having panic attacks, as well as practicing simple deep breathing, both of which have helped calm my mind. Liz Lamoreux has some good meditations. And here is a deep breathing exercise to try.
This isn't always something easily accessible, but if you are able to get outside into the fresh air, do it! It is amazing what a few deep breaths of sweet, clean air can do for your soul. Exercise is also tremendously helpful, so double your benefit and take a walk! Add some calming music and you are so set. Right now I have the Greg Laswell station on Pandora playing on repeat.
So there you go! 5 of my go-to ways to curb anxiety. Remember friends...these aren't cures but can certainly help when you are getting overwhelmed. Do you have any tips for keeping anxiety in check?