It’s Saturday night and you’re out with your friends, music’s blaring and people are surrounding you, you have a drink in your hand and you’re laughing with your friends but moments later, your mind trails off. Music becomes quieter as you feel the bass booming through your chest, your heart rate starts picking up speed, all while your face morphed into a concerned expression. Suddenly, worrisome thoughts come tumbling through your brain: your plans for tomorrow that were poorly planned, a project that’s due, and even thoughts about an embarrassing conversation you had the day before makes a special appearance. You’re in deep now and it appears that nobody has noticed your derailment but yourself. “1, 2, 3, breathe”, you say to yourself and just like that you’re back in the conversation, for now.
Anxiety; the dish best served cold and the extremely large pink elephant in the room that nobody wants to invite to the party. This forbidden elephant has stomped all over your perfectly curated life and has decided to make your space his nesting area. Work, school, social life, personal life, family… heck you name it and there “IT” is staring at you directly in the face.
Ever since high school I have dealt with anxiety and used to believe that if I ignored how I felt that it would simply disappear. But here is what I didn’t know, I was oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t just “go away”, in fact it only gets worse the more I bottled in my stress. Fast forward to my college years and though I have gotten stronger, the elephant is still here in the room and now he brought some roommates to split the rent.
Over 40 million adults, 18 or older, suffer from anxiety and that is about 18% of the population. Can you believe that ugly pink elephant has that many credible friends? As it turns out, anxiety is HIGHLY treatable and though some of you may feel at a loss, there is reassurance. Below, I have provided a short (but effective) list of ways that have helped me with my anxiety and ultimately, have helped me take down this evil bitch.
- Close your eyes and BREATHE: Most likely, this is a solution you have tried many times and seems obvious but if done right, it helps. Close your eyes and inhale slowly, then exhale at the same pace. Do this 5 times and let yourself focus on what is going on in front of you.
- Grab a close friend, and vent: This can be your mom, sister, dad, brother, friend, significant other, whoever is close to you. Speak about what is giving you anxiety and theoretically, lay it out on the table. Once you speak about what is causing you internal uproar, the big things don’t seem so little anymore.
- Get off your couch and go outside: On the hardest days, everything around you is telling you to stay inside. But that’s exactly what you DO NOT want to do. Grab your gym bag and head to the gym, listen to some kickass music and sweat that baby out. Working out releases endorphins which will entirely put you in a new state of mind. No gym? That’s okay, take a step outside and do a quick jog around your neighborhood. The fresh air, open surroundings and new scenery will open up your mind and freshen things up.
- Have a pen and paper? Good, now write: Now before you totally dismiss this, HEAR ME OUT. I mentioned above that venting helps wonders but what about writing? You are creatively dishing your stress out onto paper and once you get started, it’s hard to stop. Next? Burn that sheet of paper. I am not kidding you, putting your words on paper and burning your stress works in ways that are almost laughable. This method is cleansing and motivating.
I am no doctor, I am no therapist, but what I can tell you is that I am human. I am someone who has dealt with anxiety disorder and have grown way too familiar with this rodeo. I am someone who has tried these methods and they have truly helped me. Give them a chance, try them out and say sayonara to that elephant and his malicious roommates.
Photo Credits: The Awkward Yeti
Photo Credits: Jarred Brown