Throughout my teenage years, I experienced random spurts of anxiety. They usually correlated with exam seasons, or due dates for assignments. During my first year of university, I developed severe anxiety. I would wake up every morning nauseous, nervous, and dreading school.
At university, I experienced what it meant to fail and it terrified me. I experienced what it meant to study, study and study, but still not do well. The thought of constantly being a failure and be unable to recover from it, prompted my anxiety. Anxiety also lead to depressive thoughts, which lead to suicidal ideation, which lead to my hospitalizations.
During the second term of second year, I finally started putting into practice proper coping strategies. Rather than curling up into a ball on my bed full of desperation, I was actively battling my anxiety, and most of the time, learning to work with it! My anxiety usually correlates with stress, so my stress fighting tips are very similar to my anxiety fighting tips.
Here are my quick tips:
- Exercise! – when I’m full of stress, pumping my body full of endorphins is the best way to manage it. I would recommend lifting weights rather than cardio because lifting weights has more long-term benefits than just cardio. But no matter what you do, just sweat and get your heart-rate up!
- Make to-do lists! – big tasks can seem so scary if you don’t have your action steps planned out. Even if you don’t execute your project/assignment/task based exactly on your planning, just knowing that you’ve planned, can make you feel calmer.
- Cold showers! – it’s difficult to think about anything when you’re being blasted by ice-cold water. You’ll get out of your shower feeling like a superhero, and ready to conquer your day!
- CBD! – CBD is a compound in cannabis that does not make you high. In fact, it counteracts THC (the compound that makes you high)! Although this isn’t for everyone, it’s proven to lower anxiety and control your body’s stress response. (There are many ways to go about CBD use – vapes, capsules, oils, edibles, etc.) Please be safe!
- Meditate! – focus on the present. Realize that you cannot control your past, nor your future. All you can do is do your best now, and guide your path.
- Breathe! – take deep breathes. Increasing the oxygen to your brain will make you feel calm and relaxed.
- Journal! – get your thoughts out. Why are you feeling this way? What would you tell a friend who is feeling this way? You are your own best friend!
- Talk to someone! – share. Don’t keep your thoughts, emotions, and feelings bottled up. Sometimes, sharing them is the best way to let them go.
- Relax! – allow yourself to take a time-out. Recharge, and face your challenges refreshed! Yoga, a hot bath, whatever you need!
- Frontload your pain – avoiding is the worst thing you can do. Oftentimes, avoiding your problems makes them grow even bigger. Tackle them while they’re smaller and more manageable!
- Get enough sleep! – self-explanatory.
- Eat good food! – foods can either help your anxiety, or make it so much worse! Being addicted to processed foods and sugar lowers your energy level, and makes cutting them out of your diet so much harder.
- Calming Affirmations! – repeat mantras in your mind to help realize that this moment of stress/anxiety will pass.
- Imagine a safe place! – visualize a safe place in your mind that you can go to recharge, if physically recharging is not possible at that exact moment.
These are just a few tips of things I do in my daily life. I really hope they were helpful!
A little while ago, I watched a TedTalk called “How to Make Stress Your Friend”. The number one thing I took from it is that our stress response is really just our body preparing ourselves for battle! When I thought about it that way, I became much more comfortable with the feeling.
And of course, a quote.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie ten Boom