Do's and Don'ts: Dealing with Anxiety (17)
I thought it would be helpful to create a series of "do's and don'ts" for different circumstances in regards to mental health, because I personally can find it hard to maneuver through certain situations whether it be helping myself or others. Since anxiety is such a complex topic that I know I myself and so many others struggle to deal with, I hope you find it to be a great start to this series. I am in no way a professional credited with giving medical advice on mental illnesses, but these are simply things I myself have found helpful to stay away from or integrate into my daily life! I hope it helps, and if you have any additional ideas, I encourage you to share them down below!
Focus on a certain task or hobby that you know will help take your mind off of hyperfixating on what is making you anxious.
Try to limit the extent to which the things that are making you anxious make their way into your daily conversations.
Engage yourself in a new, long term project that you will be able to work on during times that you want to calm intrusive thoughts. Painting and writing are some of my favorites!
Take care of your personal hygiene! Although some days it can be hard, I find it motivating to always keep myself clean. This also helps me feel a lot less overwhelmed on days where I feel especially anxious.
Surround yourself with people who contribute to a lighthearted and peaceful environment.
Try to open up! I know firsthand how hard it can be to confront anxiety, but whether it's talking to someone you trust or writing it down in a journal, opening up about what's making you anxious can help break down anxious thoughts so that you can understand them more.
Meditate! Even if it's just a simple breathing exercise, meditation helps me so much in grounding myself.
It can be hard to find people who make you feel at peace, but it's important not to let this get you down and isolate yourself. Isolating myself has been one of the main things that can cause setbacks in my own mental health, because it puts me in a situation where I'm essentially alone with my own thoughts.
Don't obsess over what is out of your control, whether it's trying to figure out what others are thinking, trying to understand the future, or trying to change the past. Coming to terms with the fact that I don't have all the control in the world has actually helped me appreciate life for how it is, because it helps me understand that I don't need to be worrying about most things.
Don't blame yourself. Having anxiety is not your fault by any means, and understanding this will make it easier to overcome any emotions you are feeling/
Don't engage in harmful habits, which can be a wide range of things. Engaging yourself in habits that you know are self destructive and don't make you feel good will only worsen any negative emotions you are feeling, including anxiety. Try distracting yourself with simple things, such as walks or reading, to help you avoid these harmful habits.
Don't ignore/avoid the things that trigger you. If you feel an anxiety attack coming, don't try to fight it. Instead, try to identify what triggered you once you have calmed down, and even try writing it down. Once you have identified the things that tend to trigger you, your anxiety attacks will feel more familiar and easier to face.
Don't avoid getting help. Although seeking help can feel scary for a number of reasons, trying to treat anxiety on your own without knowing exactly how to help yourself will only set you back. This is why it's important to seek medical attention, even if it's just to see if you need extra help. Yes, anxiety can be suppressed on its own, but it's necessary to get professional help for some extra guidance that can help you feel less overwhelmed.