It’s one of the worst places to be.
It’s one part dark cellar, one part airless room, and another part bottomless pit with no end in sight. What’s even more terrible is that it’s all taking place in your mind.
Anxiety is the worst.
Some days are better than others of course, but other times, you find yourself in a bad spot where all the negative thoughts rush in and take a prolonged residence in your brain. Seeing a mental health professional is the first and most important step to finding effective coping mechanisms. Here are a few of my tips on how to get out of your head and fight anxiety.
No less than the folks at Hahhhrvard have extolled the benefits of deep breathing. They tell you to ignore the hesitation you might feel about expanding your tummy and ruining your flat stomach… and breathe in the benefits of increased oxygen intake, slowed heartbeat, and lowered or stabilized blood pressure.
- Find a quiet, comfy place.
- Sit or lie down.
- One normal breath.
- Deeper breath.
- Breathe in slowly through nose, let abdomen expand.
- Breathe out slowly through mouth or nose.
- 10-20 minutes a day.
- Make it a routine: same time, same place.
- Get into it!
Count Your Blessings
Stop and smell the roses. You can read this when you’re done.
Sometimes it helps to pause and focus on the little things that go right in your day. It averts the attention from whatever may currently be stressing you out. When you start a gratitude journal, the first thing you can jot down is appreciating the lovely scent of those flowers and the deep red of their petals. It won’t be a panacea to all your problems but it will serve as a little reminder that beautiful things happen to you too. (And it isn’t just plants — you can write about the stranger who was kind enough to keep the door open for you on the way into Starbucks, or the fact that the presentation you made at work wasn’t a total fiasco. Everything counts).
Talk it Out to Fight Anxiety
I mentioned it at the beginning of this post but I need to stress the importance of seeing a licensed mental health professional. If your anxiety or stress is causing so much pain to you that it’s hindering your quality of life, you should find someone to help you work through your issues. There is nothing to be ashamed of and you will be proud of yourself for taking that first step. Together, you and that person who has spent years and years learning how to deal with your very problems, will come up with a plan to address your concerns. Whether that means talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both, it will help to have options.