Updated: Oct 14, 2021
If you have been aware of what’s going on in the world over the last year, chances are that you have had to deal with anxiety at some point. You may have even done a quick search for “counselling services near me” to see if you should talk to a professional about it.
You then may begin to second-guess yourself and worry that it will be too hard to speak to someone about how you feel. Remember, anxiety is a natural emotion and is not something to be ashamed of – not when it can help you make better decisions.
For instance, we know some teens who experience anxiety when a big exam is coming up. Most of the time, this anxiety pushes them to pay extra attention to their lessons and study harder, resulting in higher grades in their tests. This is a good example of knowing how to ‘co-exist’ with anxiety.
You might be wondering if it’s really possible to simply “get along” with anxiety. In this article, we will share several ways you can get along with anxiety:
Take Deep Breaths
Anxiety essentially affects the way you breathe, which is why so many people dread the feeling of anxiety. What you can do to prevent this is to try breathing in through your stomach (not your chest) and slowly breathe in and out. Try extending your exhale because this relaxes your body and mind even more.
Throughout the day, remind yourself to take slow, deep breaths. It can be helpful to set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget, but over time, it will become second nature.
Face Your Feelings
It’s natural to want to avoid anxious feelings, but unfortunately, the more you avoid anxiety, the stronger the feelings come back. It’s helpful to sit with the feelings of anxiety rather than push them away.
When you’re sitting with anxiety, begin to notice where you’re feeling the emotion in your body. The stomach, chest, neck and shoulders are common areas where we tend to carry anxious feelings. Do the best that you can to release the tension and stress in these areas as you breathe and face your feeling of anxiety.
Focus on Healthy Activities
After you’ve faced anxious feelings, it can be helpful to distract yourself with healthy activity. Doing the laundry and cleaning your kitchen may not be on the top of your list of things you want to do when you are experiencing anxiety, but it can really help. It doesn’t have to be some household chore, as anything that will keep you busy and distracted will help.
One thing that I find helps many people is doing arts and crafts. The idea of focusing on creating something that requires your focus on attention is undoubtedly good.
Exercising can be relaxing, and it doesn’t have to be intense. Even something as easy as a 20 or 30-minute walk around the neighbourhood or dancing to a few songs can be a big help. Doing it day to day can help keep anxiety at bay, and setting some long-term goals like finishing challenges can also give you something to focus on.
The idea of meditating in the morning might sound strange to you until you try it yourself and realize how well it works. It will only take a few minutes, and it can be a great help. You need that time alone to reset before things get too busy and chaotic again.
You can listen to nature sounds when you meditate or light some scented candles. There are even some free guided meditation apps and videos that can help you get started if you’re unsure how to start. Calm and Headspace are two great apps to try.
Talk to Others
Whether it’s with your good friend, a family member, or a trusted mental health counsellor, talking can help ease some emotional and mental burdens. You can also benefit from getting other people’s insight into the situation. And sometimes even just talking can already relieve you of stress!
Remember that people deal with anxiety in different ways. And we understand that to say “deal with it” is often easier said than done. But hopefully, the tips shared in this article will help you handle anxiety better the next time you experience it. Of course, you can always speak with a professional who can help you manage your anxiety and other issues you might have trouble handling on your own.
Ward & Associates Psychological Services offers anxiety counselling in Sherwood Park and therapy for anxiety disorders, PTSD treatment, and more. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation!