Lets face it, Life is stressful. We go to school, work, etc. everyday and many of us have very busy schedules. For sufferers of Anxiety, day-to-day activities can already feel overwhelming and can even cause procrastination due to feelings of dread and fear being associated with being in public or even going to work or school. Personally, the worst part of anxiety for me is having anxiety about my anxiety. I know, I probably sound crazy. But true sufferers of anxiety may understand my struggle, I used to be so terrified every day before heading to school that I would have a panic attack at school, I think we all know what happened a lot to me at school. Yep, lots of panic attacks in the bathroom or sometimes with my head down on a desk. Today, I would like to share some techniques I have learned over many years of dealing with my own anxiety, and hopefully may help you effectively deal with your anxiety in public or, wherever you may be.
Acknowledge your Anxiety: This is probably the most important tip I have. All anxiety and stress is, is our brains becoming overwhelmed and that feeling of being overwhelmed translates to danger in our brains. Anxiety cannot hurt you (physically), Anxiety cannot kill you. Recognize you are anxious. Remind yourself what is happening with affirmations, say things to yourself like “im just overwhelmed”, “this cannot actually hurt me”, “im going to be ok”
Distract yourself: We get stressed or anxious when we feel we have no solution or no way out. This comes from blowing our problems or the situation out of proportion. Take a second, look around, there are other people, all of those people also have problems, most of them probably don’t even know or care about whatever is causing you stress (this is not meant to sound insensitive.) However, when you look at the situation from a different perspective, sometimes it can make a huge difference. Everyone gets stressed, there is a whole world out there, completely independent from you and the situation causing you stress. Anxiety is just chemical processes taking over our brains, there is not much we can do about these processes happening, however we can control how we react to them and control them.
Essential Oils: Obviously not everyone has the access or ability to use essential oils while in school or work, however if you do have a spare moment to go to the bathroom or take a break, a small drop of a lavender or any scent you find calming can help you breathe and relax for a few moments. You can just put a drop or two on the back of your wrists, for a quick ahhhh moment. This however, is sometimes not enough in a truly anxiety filled or panic moment, this method may be more suitable for a scenario when you need a minute to calm down and relax.
Use Breathing Techniques: There are many different types of breathing techniques for all sorts of things such as nausea, headaches, and even anxiety. Breathing patterns can help stabilize your heart rate (increased heart rate contributes to panicking.) A pattern I tend to follow is as follows:
- Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
- Hold your breath to the count of “three.”
- Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
Repeat this until you feel calmer and have a slower heart rate.
Overall, Anxiety can come to us in the worst possible moments. It can come when we are in public, even at work or school, the places where we want to appear to be calm and collected. Anxiety can be a very overwhelming feeling, it can trigger panic, nausea, headaches, and many other physical side effects. Once anxiety takes a hold, it can be very hard to control, which can only make sufferers feel even more powerless. However, the key to anxiety is to acknowledge and accept that you are feeling it, and then practice cultivating your tools that can help you in times of panic.
Remember: Anxiety is not embarrassing, it is very common, many people experience it everyday. Do not feel embarrassed for what you are feeling, Listen to what your mind and body needs and let it pass.