Hey lovelies, it's Umi! Back again to guide you with the things we struggle with most in life. This time its anxiety, yup I can feel you cringe already, but it doesn't all have to be hurricanes and rainy days. Overtime you can learn to overcome it and grow from each difficulty you face in those anxiety ridden days.
Let's face it, we all want the key to a blissful mind. Some of us think there's some magical potion or epiphany we'll have and boom! We're all at peace with life. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that, it takes effort, consistency and a lot of days where you feel like completely giving up and if you're like me, most of those giving up days will be due to anxiety and the ever going war you have with yourself daily.
When I was younger it was a lot worse. I would cry weeks in advance over having to present something in class, having to perform on stage would cause a breakdown and weeks of calming down from my lovely mother (who somehow put up with this for how many years). It's safe to say it effected me a lot as a child which slowly grew into being a teenager and added to the insecurities I had in the past. I'm happy to say it doesn't effect me to that extent anymore but will never be something that goes away which is why you should learn to cope in a calm way. This is the cause to a lot of peoples issues and I feel more awareness should be brought to this as it effects everyday life!
A very common symptom of people with anxiety is over worrying, and boy where do I even start with this one! Meet the biggest worrier in the world :) Don't get me wrong, we all worry but when it comes to the point of making you physically sick or your heart sinks for hours on end, its not healthy. You might worry over little things, but to you its a big deal which is a huge problem that comes with anxiety, I've been there so many times before and because you know it's not a big deal to others, then comes the anxious thoughts of what other people will think...Oh the joy!
This still happens to me quite a lot, we're all guilty of overthinking about things but to cope, I sit back and try to look at things from an outside perspective. One of my favourite coping mechanisms is to lay down somewhere quiet and breathe, tell myself it's not as big as a deal and try to continue the day with a logical mindset instead of letting my feelings over run me.
Personally I've never suffered with major agitation but I know some people do, it's super irritating and can make you feel really self conscious. Restlessness and agitation together don't go well. I'm talking about sweaty palms, not being able to sleep, feeling on edge, racing pulse, and shaky hands. It could be a lot of things that irritate you or make you feel anxious but never the less there are ways to deal with this. This symptom can also knock into trouble with concentrating which makes a big impact on life especially if you're working or studying. I've experienced this and it is quite difficult to explain to people so having difficulty concentrating at School or when you're supposed to be working is quite displeasing in a lot of different ways. It triggers a lot more worrying and paranoia over what people in the workplace are thinking.
An easy and efficient way to avoid or help coping in these situations are removing yourself from the situation to calm down. Reminding yourself before you go somewhere that a situation won't last and that you can remove yourself at any point, should put your mind at ease, I try to do this as nothing bad lasts forever. It's not always easy when you go into overdrive and become agitated but if it gets to the point where you're becoming panicky, don't hesitate to remove yourself from the place you're in at any time.
Trouble falling asleep or restless nights
This is probably my least favourite symptom. When you have an important meeting or an early morning the next day but you're stressing over other things and can't fall asleep, it's not the best thing to happen. It rolls over to the next day, effecting your mood, overall day and mental health which is contributing nothing good to coping with your social anxiety.
Meditation is an amazing way to calm your mind and body before you sleep, it's important to wind down slowly on the night to train your body into relaxing for bedtime. Meditation is good for your peace of mind and the best part is anyone can do it, you can find videos on youtube or anywhere online, whatever is best for you! I also find reading every night before sleeping is a good way as it makes you focus on something else interesting and a lot more peaceful. A trigger to a lot of peoples anxiety is social media and being on their phones just before they go to sleep. It's so important to make time for real life and my favourite way to do that alone is to find a place I feel is serene and comfortable and get myself stuck into a wonderful book!
You could also do exercise a couple of hours before sleeping which will tire you out and release those endorphins! This could help to calm those racing thoughts that are keeping you up all night.
Avoiding social situations/Panic attacks
Feeling fearful or worried about upcoming situations can really restrict your social life. Your friends might not understand how a simple meet up could be so scary but to you it's the end of the world, I get it! There's the fear of being judged, embarrassed, and scrutinised by your peers, its never ending but your friends are your friends and if you explain to them well enough i'm more than sure they will understand. I have friends who struggle with anxiety and struggle to come out into big groups, but it's crucial to understand and sacrifice things for them to find it a bit easier to cope. You could go somewhere more quiet or change the hangout to one of your homes!
Panic attacks may be as bad as they come, they're certainly not pleasant which you'll know if you've ever experienced one! A panic attack consists of intense fear and discomfort that reaches a high level and includes palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate and sweating or trembling. Some coping mechanisms for this are using deep breathing, you can't necessarily go wrong with this as it calms and soothes perfectly, you're less likely to go through hyperventilation if you master this correctly. You can also close your eyes and find an object to focus on, as well as recognising you're having a panic attack. Recognising what's happening gives you more control over the situation.
Quick & natural tips to reduce anxiety
- Eating a healthy diet
- Limiting caffeine
- Abstaining from alcohol
- No smoking
- Exercising often
- Practicing yoga
You can find a lot more information on these tips on lots of different websites. You can even ask me, if you have any questions! Remember you're not alone in this and there are millions of other people who suffer the same, we all have anxiety at some points in our lives and there are always ways to help each other and cope.
Much love, Umi ♡