I was twenty-two when anxiety first hit me. It felt like the world had come down collapsing and there’s nothing left that is worth living for. I was standing in the corridor of the company I was interning with and was trying hard to hide my face – I obviously didn’t want to come across as someone ‘weak’. A friend of mine, who was standing right beside me, kept asking the reason behind this emotional breakdown and I simply answered that I was going through some ‘personal issues’. It took me over a week to get over that bout of anxiety and I’d be lying if I said that I was strong enough to overcome it. I’m as good as any of you, and I managed to pull through with a bit of help and a lot of family support.
Today, as a twenty-six year old, the only thing that I do regret is thinking then that I was ‘weak’ to be getting an anxiety attack. Anxiety, of course, is terrible but it can’t define who I am. It has taught me to talk more about my emotions with people around me which is why I feel much happier now. I talk about it more because it certainly helps people understand that anxiety doesn’t define who they are and that they can be happy too.
Anxiety can come to the happiest of us and if there’s anything that can help you get through it, it’s the acceptance and acknowledgement of what is happening inside you. Accept the fact that being able to show your emotions is a mark of strength and that you don’t have to keep suffering within only to appear strong on the outside. Anxiety is a real thing and is definitely not something to be ashamed of.
While anxiety is not something you can control, here are a few things you can do to feel relaxed when it is at its peak:
1. Talk About It: You must know that you don’t have to suffer it all alone when you can make the best use of your social support. Talk to people you feel comfortable around and discuss about your anxiety issues with an open mind. Speak up about your problems and everything that has been troubling you. Even if that doesn’t make you feel absolutely fine, you will surely feel a lot better knowing that you are at least being heard.
2. Be with those who you love: Anxiety can leave you with worries that often don’t even exist. When anxiety hits hard, seek solace in the people you love and those who love you. Sometimes, a mere realization that you are not alone in your sufferings can do wonders for your mental health issues. Not only can they be your emotional support in your mental health problems, your loved ones can help you get professional support too.
3. Seek Nature’s Therapy: Go out and spend time in nature to get some instant anxiety relief. Sometimes, breathing in some fresh air can make you feel rejuvenated besides helping you take your mind off the anxious thoughts. Even if you have a busy schedule, keep looking for reasons to spend time in nature. Go out for an early morning walk, take your pet out for a stroll or simply sit and relax at the park bench for some relief when anxiety seems to be reaching its peak.
4. Journaling is a must: Journaling is often the most important remedy therapists suggest for anxiety relief. Maintain a journal wherein you scribble down every anxious thought that might have been troubling you. Write down how you are feeling and what is it that you want from life. Make this journal your friend who is there to take in everything that you have to share.
5. Get busy with your hobby: Anxiety, every time it hits me, takes away my interest from the hobbies that I absolutely love. I have to push myself to keep pursuing my hobbies to take my mind off the anxious thoughts. I know that it is easier said than done but try not to leave your hobbies when you are feeling anxious. Be it dancing, painting, gardening, or stitching, your hobbies can give you something to look forward to besides making you feel happy.
6. Counselling: Don’t avoid seeking professional help if you need to. Not every natural remedy is bound to work with mental health issues, which is why it’s important that you get proper counselling if the anxiety prolongs.
7. Do yoga/meditation: During an anxiety attack, your mind is bound to be all over the place getting all kinds of negative thoughts and making you feel pessimistic about every little thing. Yoga, meditation or any type of exercises can do wonders in calming down the racing thoughts. If possible, make yoga/meditation an important part of your routine to keep your mind relaxed and happy.
8. Eat properly: Skipping meals and not having the urge to pay attention to your health is quite common during an anxiety attack. What’s most important here is to realize that eating properly and on time is a ‘must’ to calm your anxious mind. An empty stomach can do no good in making you feel better. Eat what’s good for your health and can keep you going during times of anxiety.
9. Self-care: Don’t get so engrossed in your daily life that you stop prioritising your mental health. Practicing self-care for a healthy mind is as important as going to work, doing household chores and taking care of your kids. In order to practice proper self-care, understand what is it that your mind and body need to be happy and healthy.
Have you been hustling too much lately? It’s time you take a break to just sit and relax for a while. Read a good book, start exercising, listen to some nice music and do what can possible charge you up. You can also read this post to learn about some budget friendly ways to practice self-care.
Anxiety issues can often make you feel under-confident and uninterested in everything happening around you. It’s important that you keep reminding yourself that ‘you are more than your anxiety’. However, it’s important that you realize when you have had enough and that it’s time to seek professional help. You don’t have to keep suffering thinking that it will get okay with time and that things will get back to normal eventually. Pay attention to what’s going inside your mind and address your mental health issues with as much concern as any physical health issue.
Reach out. Always.