‘You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be”- Marianne Williamson
It has been a while since I wrote a blog and a lot has happened since then. I have been on holiday, I’ve gone back to volunteering after the summer holidays- but most importantly, it has now been over a year since I started my blog. I genuinely cannot believe how fast time has gone and how much I have achieved in a short space of time. It feels like only yesterday when I made the decision to start my blog. I was incredibly apprehensive about how people would react to the fact I have Essential Tremor. It still makes me feel happy when I think about all the comments/ messages I received on the night I shared the blog for the first time.
In this blog, I wanted to speak about the different ways I cope with having anxiety. If you let it, anxiety can consume you and take over your life. It can manipulate your emotions and take complete control of your feelings altogether. It can ostracize you from your family and friends whilst also ruining your education/work life. It is a hard thing to cope with, but it is possible. There is a way around those intense feelings that anxiety brings and ways to diminish it completely. It will take a long time, after all anxiety takes its time building up inside of you and warping your mind- it won’t go down without a fight. You need to be able to create a resistance inside your mind, strong enough to overpower anything.
- Being able to control your breathing- this may seem too simple and rudimentary for some but honestly, this is something that has helped me the most. I was always incredibly sceptical when I was first told to practice my breathing to help my anxiety. I didn’t understand how it could help when it was something you already did naturally. However, when I was taught the proper way to breathe to calm my nerves and actually took the time to practice, I was shocked at the difference it makes. Slowing down your breath and really taking the time to think about what you’re doing as you’re breathing in and out makes such a difference. If I ever find that I am in a situation where I’m beginning to feel anxious, I make a point of stepping back from whatever is happening and taking 3 or 4 deep breathes in and out. It is very important to note that when you do these breathing exercises that you try to keep your mind from wandering. Half of the magic behind it is the fact that you are distracting yourself from whatever has made you anxious and are allowing your mind a moment to recover.
- Meditation- I have already covered this before on a previous blog post, but it is such a vital part of my weekly routine- it has to be talked about again! I first started meditating over a year ago now and it has honestly changed the way I view anxiety and even myself. I never thought I’d be one of those people who was in to meditating etc but when you take the time to learn the techniques behind it and practice regularly, it makes a huge difference. Meditating takes time; it is not a remedy that you can just decide to do last minute. Yes, it might help a little bit but to benefit fully, you need to practice on a regular basis and immerse yourself into it completely. At first, I found meditating scary- it was something I had never done properly before and I was genuinely shocked at what my brain was doing. I had gone 21 years without realising there was something my brain could do that I wasn’t aware of so initially I found the sensation a little bit terrifying. If you have never meditated properly before, the feeling is difficult to describe and I am sure it is different for everyone. For me, it almost feels as if my mind goes somewhere else; almost like you’re travelling through your subconscious. I see different colours, shapes, even people but it is all completely normal, it just takes a bit of time to get used to. I remember reading somewhere that the only time your brain gets a break is when you meditate as when you are awake or asleep your brain is constantly thinking and changing. It is weird to think that if this is true, I didn’t properly give my brain a rest for 21 years- no wonder my anxiety was so bad!
- Exercise- This is something that is so important for both anxiety and your overall mental health. I find that during and after exercise I feel so much calmer. Science obviously helps with this one- releasing endorphins whilst you exercise to make you feel better but to me, there seems to be something more. Perhaps it is the fact you are distracting yourself that allows you to become calmer. I also find the combination of exercising whilst listening to music or a pod cast incredibly therapeutic. There is something about the repetition of the exercise mixed with the familiarity of the music that soothes me.
- Getting things done- This, again, may seem very basic but it is incredibly necessary step if you want to keep your mind anxiety free. I often have found that a lot of my anxiety stems from the fact I put things off and therefore have a lot of things on my ‘to-do’ list. If I find the prospect of something too overwhelming, I would often put it off and think ‘I’ll do that tomorrow’ whilst simultaneously having no intention of doing such a thing. Instead, I would only make the situation worse by delaying it until it gets completely out of control. It is so hard but you have to try and do things as and when you learn about them otherwise the anxiety would just be crippling. I know it may seem like writing that essay, making that appointment or even talking to that person is such a big deal right now but will it even matter in a year from now? You have to be selfish and think about the impact on yourself; by completing things when you get them, you will ease the pressure off and allow yourself to relax. I also find it helps to reward yourself after you do something that you find hard- my favourite rewards are chocolate or a bubble bath!
If you have anxiety it is important to remember you are not alone. In this modern world we live in, it can be so easy to think that you have no one to turn to, but I think that you’ll find that if you take a look around there will be plenty of people willing to help you.
Thank you so much for reading this blog, I hope you found it useful!