I talk about my anxiety a lot on this blog, but only because it’s important to me to share what I am going through to help others relate to it. It’s a good to know that you’re not alone in what you’re suffering through, it can help you connect and find ways of coping.
After my last post I got inspired to write out ways that I ground myself when I’m panicking and ways that I cope every day so that other’s who may not have found their best way can take some ideas off of me. So get ready for a nice list!
- Make a playlist!
This is something I only very recently did but I am so glad I did it. Music has always been something I turn to when I’m feeling down, but trying to find what I want can be a struggle through teary eyes and before/during/after an attack so I made a playlist filled with the music that makes me feel better. It’s still a work in progress, most of it is Ingrid Michaelson, I am trying to add some kind of variety but her music is very special to me so she will always be what I listen to first. The lyrics of the song are what are key, for me at least, focusing on the words above the soft melodies focus my mind.
There’s a snippet of my playlist on the side there for inspiration, but find the genre or the artist that speaks to you the most. For me the artist is obviously Ingrid, but I find Sia really helpful too and others such as; A Great Big World, Gabrielle Aplin, James Bay. A lot of soft country music brings me down and there’s this song called Lost Boy by Ruth B and it’s all to do with Peter Pan and I really super recommend listening to that.
- Keep a Journal!
For years and years I tried keeping a journal, like since I was a kid and every time time after a while be it a few weeks or a months I would forget about it and stop. I would try and write in it everyday about what happened that day and so on, so eventually I gave up. But when I started first year of university and managed to reach my lowest in a long time on the anxiety scale I decided to try again, and I’ve managed to keep it going for almost a year now and god does it help.
The key difference is that I only write in it when I feel the need to, be it when I’m having an attack and need to get all my thoughts out on paper to organise them or when something really happy happens that I want to look back on in the future, like when I finally became official with my boyfriend. Rather than pressuring myself to keep it constantly updated, I keep it within reach just in case this is a day I need it but do force myself to write.
I really recommend heading to the nearest Paperchase, or going online on there, and getting a a nice notebook, a pattern or design that draws you in and getting it, mine cost me something like £8-10, I can’t really remember and even though I rarely spend that much on a notebook I decided to invest because this would be something very important to me and I wanted it to be something I enjoyed looking at, if that makes any sense.
- The Senses Technique
I don’t know how well-known this technique is but the basics of it is when you feel
like you’re emotions and your brain are running wildly to the point of an attack you focus your 5 main senses; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch, through finding like 3-5 slightly different things relating to each of them. While this works very well on it’s own for many people. I can struggle with trying to complete all 5 then that just stresses me out more and it becomes a circle so I edit it in my own way to suit me. I focus mainly on sight and hearing.
I like to give myself a theme based on where I am, so if I am in my room I could focus on my wall of photos and do a ‘Where’s Wally?’ scenario looking for different people or if I am having a cigarette outside I could count all the certain colour cars or doors I can see or listen for distinct sounds in the area, if I don’t have my earphones for my playlist with me and if I do I focus on each word being sang and each instrument being played.
- Play your Favourite Games!
When I’m feeling like down and lost and my head is fuzzy and I feel angry at everything sometimes play Witcher or Mortal Kombat or Assassins Creed can really bring me back down. There’s something therapeutic in killing video game bad guys, Mortal Kombat is especially good when your PMS is mixing itself up in your anxiety, even more especially in the latest release because dear Jesus is it brutal, those fatalities are so satisfying when you’re feeling agitated.
Even if you just want to play a few rounds of Gwent with Geralt of parkour around old timey Italy with Ezio, this is one my favourite ways to refocus my mind. Play immersive games gives you an escape into another world, away from the one you’re constantly worrying about. Of course it can get stressful when your assassin almost reaches the top of a very high viewpoint then decides to leap backwards to his untimely demise and you have to find the damn thing again but when you actually make it to top it’s just like daaamn, people made this in a computer and kinda makes it worth it.
If violent games aren’t your thing even playing something as basic as Candy Crush, Crosswords or Buzzfeed quizzes can help, it’s all about taking your mind away from it’s own thoughts.
- Talk to Someone!
This may seem like an obvious one, like it probably goes without saying but I’m gonna say it anyway because so many times I just don’t talk to anyone, I write a lot of it out and it does really help but there’s a difference between getting your thoughts out and actually talking about your thoughts. Sometimes that reassurance that you aren’t going “crazy” and that you are going to be okay and that you’re allowed to be overwhelmed, is what’s really and truly needed. I’m lucky I have such a great support system in my family, my best friend Vin, my boyfriend Callum, these people really know how to bring me down. Occasionally, nothing they say or do can bring me down and I just have to wait it out but it’s good to keep people updated on where your head is at because if you’re anything like me then the anxiety can make you lash out harshly at people when they may not deserve it.
Some may not have a lot of people around them that they can run over to, but there’s so many resources online to find that person, sites like Tumblr and Reddit have helped me connect with people anywhere and everywhere that will always happily talk me through something, and vice versa, when it feels like no one in the outside world is available. Just scrolling the r/Anxiety on Reddit can help because you can see so so so many people are going through the exact same thing as you right in that moment.
There are many other ways of coping and grounding yourself but I think if I went on any longer it would end up looking like one of my uni assignments. If only I could write this much this easily for my reports and proposals. Don’t take this as this is what you have to do and do it exactly this way, get inspired and edit whatever part of this long af post speaks to you the most.