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Feeling Anxious? Try These Tips to Decompress

Anxiety is the worst, but it’s also important to remember that it’s totally normal. Whether you have an anxiety disorder or just have moments of panic in certain situations, these tips might help.

I’ll be the first to admit that I often stress myself out over the most tedious things. Seriously, the other day I worked myself up to a small panic because I had to use the photo booth in a supermarket – completely random, and completely irrational. I couldn’t pinpoint the reasoning behind my angst in that moment if I tried. That’s the thing with anxiety: it’s not rational. Unfortunately, being told that fact over and over again doesn’t really help – let’s face it, if it did, then none of us would be anxious any more.

I’ve compiled a little list of tips and tricks that have helped me, in the hope that they could help you, too!

1. People are people too

Now, you’re either thinking one of two things: ‘duh?’ or ‘huh?’ It sounds so simple but this is probably the easiest thing to forget. Have you ever gotten really worked up about saying something to someone or making an idiot of yourself in front of them? I know I have, too many times to count. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in a higher position than you career wise, whether they’re older than you or that you’re simply just a bit intimidated by them – they function exactly the same way as you do. They aren’t special or almighty and I bet at least a few of them have some really embarrassing PJ’s at home. When I first realised this ridiculously simple fact, it’s as if a light bulb flickered on above my head like you see in the cartoons. Besides, most people are far too preoccupied with themselves to pay much attention to anyone else, anyway.

2. Everything is temporary

Every single thing in life is temporary. Ask yourself if the thing you’re stressing yourself out over will even really matter in a few days/weeks/months or even years to come. Chances are the answer is a big fat NOPE! So, is it worth this much overthinking? NOPE!

3. Talk about it

I am the worst at this. No matter how much I’m freaking out over something, I always feel like talking will make it worse or make it more ‘real.’ Yet, every time I do reach out to someone about how I’m feeling, it always, always helps, at least a little bit. Just knowing that someone is willing to listen is uplifting in itself. Honestly, try talking to someone about how you’re feeling. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as you’re comfortable with them. Getting a different perspective on things can really make things seem clearer.

4. Remember that you are normal

Everybody, at some point in their life, has felt anxious about something. Although irrational and riddled with stigma, anxiety is a part of every single person. Whether it’s a long-term anxiety disorder or temporary spikes in anxiousness dependent on situation, everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. The way you’re feeling is more than valid. You’re not a weirdo or a letdown, and you certainly don’t need to explain or justify your feelings to other people.

5. Distract yourself

When feeling anxious, try to think about literally anything else. Think about what your friends are up to; think about what you’ll be up to once all of this is over and done with; think about what you had for dinner last night. Thinking about other things when your mind only wants to focus on being worried is incredibly hard, but so rewarding if you can manage it.

I hope at least one of these points helps and if nothing else, remember: ‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think’ – Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh.

Images via Nan Lawson illustration / Edward Munch / Gabby Abou-Zeid

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