How To Deal With Anxiety – 9 Ways To Help You Cope

When you're an anxious person, even the smallest things in life can trigger an onslaught of frightening and overwhelming feelings. If your nerves are triggered by seemingly harmless everyday things like public speaking, meeting new people, taking tests or getting a haircut – then you have what's commonly known as social anxiety or general anxiety disorder.

Why does this happen?

These kinds of fears are called “social fears” because they tend to involve fear of judgment from others, in other words, fearing that others will find you weird or uninteresting. Even though it may seem like there’s no end to the various triggers that could potentially make your nerves go into overdrive again (and again), know that you’re not alone in this struggle. In fact, approximately one in five adults experiences some sort of anxiety disorder during their lifetime. If these problems are regularly interfering with your day-to-day life, we've got the best ways to cope with anxiety right here!

Let's talk coping mechanisms

Below are 9 ways to decrease your social anxiety, or you can use these tips to help others around you with social anxiety. All of these tips can be used whether you have mild or severe anxiety, but best practice is to try things like meditation, exercise and mindfulness daily.

1. Build a support network

One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to have a support system of people that you can reach out to during times of high anxiety. This could be a trusted family member, friend, or therapist that you can talk to about your fears and anxieties.

Why is this important?

Having a support system can help to reduce feelings of isolation and shame, which can often worsen anxiety. Someone who understands what you’re going through can also help you to brainstorm helpful strategies for managing your anxiety. Having people in your life who are empathetic and compassionate can help you to feel understood and not alone in your struggles.

A good support system can be there to help you to take deep breaths, to distract you from negative feelings and thoughts, and to help you to accept your feelings without shame or guilt.

2. Develop a Ritual That Helps You Calm Down

If you are an extrovert or an outgoing person, you might be able to “push through” your anxiety symptoms every day. But what if you're an introvert or someone who is easily overwhelmed? It's a good idea to develop a ritual that allows you to slow down when your anxiety is at its peak.

What kind of ritual do i mean?

Maybe this ritual involves getting away from the noise of your household, sitting in a quiet place, and focusing on your breath. Maybe it involves reading your favourite book, or taking a walk in nature. Whatever ritual you choose to help you calm down, try to do it every time you feel your anxiety peaking.

Having something consistent to rely on when you're feeling anxious can help you to cope better, and make your anxiety less likely to take control of you.

3. Meditate

When you're faced with anxiety and panic attacks, it's important to try and stay in the present moment. As you probably know all too well, anxiety often comes with a strong focus on your past experiences, or your “what if” scenarios for the future.

When you're feeling anxious, it can be helpful to try and go somewhere inside your head to take a break from your triggers and feelings of discomfort.

How does meditation work?

There are many different ways to meditate. You can try guided meditations online or in apps, (such as method 9, my personal favourite) or you can try the tried-and-true method of “just sitting there” and clearing your mind. Whichever method you try, it's important to give it your all and focus on the ‘here and now'

4. Find Meaning in Your Struggle

Everyone has their own triggers for anxiety, and everyone's experience of managing anxiety will be different. Examining the roots and causes of your anxiety can help you to come to terms with it. It can also be helpful to remember that not everyone has the same triggers as you do. Being mindful of this fact can help you to feel less alone in your struggles and more confident in your ability to cope.

But won't that make it worse?

Although you have to dig through your anxiety which sounds detrimental, trust the process. Figuring out why you get anxious allows you to control the anxiety, rather than letting it control you. Finding meaning in your struggle can help you to feel more empowered, less ashamed, and less likely to isolate yourself out of shame or embarrassment. If you can find meaning in your anxiety, you can also find meaning in your efforts to overcome it.

5. Exercise

Exercising releases endorphins in your body, which can help you to feel less anxious. Plus, working out is a great way to get your mind off of whatever it is that's making you anxious. Exercising is an excellent way to help you to cope with anxiety and other mental health issues. In fact, research shows that working out can be just as effective as antidepressant medication in treating anxiety.

Some little tips

To get the most out of your workouts when you're dealing with anxiety, try scheduling them for when you're feeling your worst. When your anxiety is at its peak, your self-esteem and confidence are likely to be low as well. Swimming, running, or doing yoga are great low-impact exercises that can help you to feel relaxed when you're feeling anxious.

I'm not feeling the benefits

Honestly, if this isn't me, I don't know what is. Unfortunately, my mind likes to focus on the exhaustion I feel in a workout rather than the good feeling, so instead I focus on my improvement. If I walked more than I did yesterday, I focus on that. If I lifted more weight or reps than I did last week, I focus on that, and just like that, I get that good feeling of improvement.

6. Get a Cozy Blanket & Turn Off the Lights

We don't recommend that you make a blanket and light-off ritual a regular part of your anxiety-coping plan. But, when you're feeling overwhelmed by your anxiety, it can be helpful to try and find a way to disconnect from your surroundings. If the lights in your room and the sounds of the outside world are triggering your anxiety, try to find a way to turn them off.

Alternatively, you could also try to find a way to wrap yourself in a blanket and block out the outside world. A cozy blanket is a great way to feel comforted, and it can help you to feel shielded from your anxiety triggers when you're feeling overwhelmed.

7. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves bringing your full and undivided attention to the present moment. When you're feeling anxious, your attention is likely to shift to what you're feeling, and your thoughts are probably going to follow suit. When this happens, you've left the present moment and are instead stuck in your head and caught up in your anxiety. When you're practicing mindfulness, you're not trying to “stop thinking” or “stop feeling” your anxiety. Instead, you're trying to bring your attention back to the present moment and to the sensations, sights, sounds, and smells around you.

8. Change the way you think

When you're dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, it's important to challenge your unhelpful thoughts. When you're feeling anxious, unhelpful thoughts like, “Everyone can tell that I'm anxious and upset,” and “I have got to get control of this anxiety,” can make your anxiety worsen.

Instead of letting your fears control you, try to challenge your unhelpful thoughts and come up with more helpful ways of thinking. When you're in the middle of an anxiety attack, it can be difficult to change the way you're thinking. In these situations, it can be helpful to have prepared ways of thinking, or “coping statements,” ready to use.

9. Use the app Smiling mind

Anxiety is a very real and very common experience that many people encounter in their lives. It can be extremely scary and feel like it's completely out of your control. The app Smiling Mind offers a number of helpful and calming anxiety reduction techniques that you can use whenever you feel overwhelmed or like your anxiety is getting the best of you.

In addition to these helpful techniques, Smiling Mind also offers a supportive online community where you can connect with other anxious people. These people can help you to feel less alone and more empowered in your struggle to fight anxiety and cope with your fears. Anxiety can feel like a never-ending battle, but it doesn't have to. By learning about the many different ways in which people have found success in coping with anxiety, you'll be well equipped to deal with your own anxieties and nervous feelings.

And to those wondering, no I am not in partnership with them, Smiling Mind is the biggest blessing I have ever found with my anxiety, and even better, it's a completely free app.

Time to put these methods to the test

Whatever method it is that you try first, remember that you are not alone, and that there are people all around you that can help, whether it be a therapist, your loved ones or someone on the other end of a podcast or video helping you get through your bought of anxiety.

Authors Note

Thanks for reading! I hope these tips help you to build confidence and love yourself. If you have any other tips that have helped you, please share them in the comments below

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