Or, 15 things to help you cope in a pinch
Are you a naturally nervous person? Well, great! I am, too! Let’s hold hands and skip through the tulips together.
But seriously. Like depression, any other personality disorder mildly buzzing near the back of your neck — or some idiot cousin persuing you at every breath — anxiety is a real thing. Whether you believe in the possibility that a person can live with a chemical imbalance and still function — mostly — like a normal human being diagnosed or not it can be quite stifling to simply, well, be.
So, I’ve put together a short list of a few things you can try to alleviate your anxiety… if only for a short while.
1. Put on Your Favorite Shirt/Dress
If you start your day stressed, I find putting a favorite shirt, dress, or pair of shoes can help give you a little extra confidence boost. Even if you end up with a little pool of sweat under the pits by the end of the day, at least the rest of you looks good.
Lavender, essential oils, flowers… science shows taking a whiff of something nice can boost your mood. So, stop and smell the roses!
Do something with your hands. Something that makes you think. What can you concentrate on right now to distract yourself from worrying?
Along the same lines, reading can pull you out of yourself. I’m a fan of fiction, but sometimes the plotlines can be a little too excitable for the fragile bean, so pick up a book about herbs or birds instead! Now, would’ja look’it that? You’re educating yourself about something new, and getting a little R&R in…
You won’t always have someone to saddle all your troubles onto, so writing is a nice alternative to really digging into your feelings, to find the root of the problem, and suss it out yourself.
6. Airplane mode
Put your phone on airplane mode, but don’t turn it all the way off… sometimes it takes an eternity to turn back on… but this will alleviate your need to check it every two seconds to see if that person texted you back.
7. Music = Love
Eluvium is nice and droaning, wordless like Ludovico. But if you want something a little more meandering, might I recommend Radiohead’s new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Especially for those who’s anxiety attacks devolve into self-loathing. Then again, you can’t lose with Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, and Explosions in the Sky. I could go on, but let’s move on shall we?
Give yourself a little treat. Engendered from birth, this says, “You’re on the right track. You’re worth it. You’re doing the right thing. There’s nothing to worry about.”
9. Take a Lap
Make your way around the office for a quick little jaunt. Maybe you’ll bump into someone who asks you what you’re doing this weekend? Then you can sigh and shift gears, “Ahh, the weekend!” Legend has it, you’ll feel a little relief from knowledge that the work week is this much closer. Better yet, you get lost in someone else’s story for a spell. That’s nice.
10. Take a Nap
If you’re in between classes, feeling a little peckish after lunch, or just stewing in boredom sitting around the apartment, take a nap. Bam. Just like that, you’re no longer a person. Worries be gone! (Or at least stifled down deep in a dark place until you start reminiscing about money, or whatever, again.)
11. Take a bath
This way you’ll feel clean, sexy, and hopefully a little tipsy from the bottle of wine you brought in with you to add to the overall cozy weightlessness currently pervading every fiber of your being.
Are you all alone in your anxiety, without a hot body to curl up into to make things feel all right? (I try not to delve too deep into the nitty gritty on this blog–I’m pretty sure my bosses may spy upon it from time to time, but this is serious). Take time for privacy. The only repercussion is that you’ll ultimately end up feeling relieved… It’s precious to say the least.
13. Rearrange the Furniture
Not into exercise? How about a little redecoration therapy? When you do this, it’ll totally change your perspective on your living space. This is important, in my opinion, to do every once in a while. Pin back the curtains. Let a little sunshine in. Then you’ll notice that dark spot on the wall that’s slowly been driving you mad is actually a little home for a mouse who’s taken refuge in your humble abode. Take out the camera, shoot some photos of your new friend, and start a blog. Now, everyone will use your photos in mouse memes without giving you credit! Achievement unlocked.
14. Rubber Bands
Some people have the urge to scratch, and that’s fine, but this leads to cuts, and can cause pimples in weird places too, which will only further stress you out, if you make a habit of touching your skin absentmindedly.”Oh, what the balls? Another one!?” So, if you get nervous talking to people, you can pull on a little rubber band instead of like, scratching yourself inappropriately. If all else fails, launch that sucker and see where it lands!
Becoming conscious of your breath is the first step in taking back control of your bodily functions, and in turn calming your mind. When anxious people feel in control, they feel confident.