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How To Deal With Anxiety When Worrying Is Ruining Your Life

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How To Deal With Anxiety Symptoms & Worry To Stay Calm When You’re Anxious

There is no "one size fits all" treatment for anxiety.

Learning how to deal with anxiety symptoms and worry is different for everyone.

There's no one-size-fits-all anxiety treatment. But, when we feel anxious, having some coping mechanisms to calm down is essential.

Especially when our anxious thoughts make us feel alone. 

The other day, a woman in my office said to me, "I thought I was the only one. I thought no one else in the world had ever felt so anxious that their body was physically unable to do the things that their brain wanted to do. I thought I was crazy. I thought I was broken and no one could fix me. I felt hopeless."

This is a common belief. That we are alone. That we are broken. That our anxiety is worse than anyone else's and no one will ever understand. 

Dealing with anxiety is normal and natural. It is a bodily response to new and uncomfortable situations or major life changes.

The first day of school. Graduating. A new job. Getting fired. Meeting someone new. Breaking up. Going on a date.

These are all things we face as humans all the time. And, often, they induce panic, fear, and, yes, even an anxiety attack. 

RELATED: 12 Struggles Only People With Anxiety Will Understand

Anxiety becomes debilitating when the fear begins to take over your whole life. It migrates from your brain into your body and never leaves.

Every situation feels new and uncomfortable — even when they are not. You are unable to deal with any changes to your norm. 

The signs of anxiety will show up in a number of ways:

  • Excessive worry
  • Unfounded fears
  • Muscle tension, particularly in one part of your body with no 'known' cause
  • Flashbacks
  • Indigestion (stomachs hold emotions and stress)
  • Stage fright 
  • Self-consciousness
  • Perfectionism
  • Sleep problems

The list goes on. And these things can exist without it being an "anxiety disorder".

However, if you find that these anxiety symptoms are causing panic attacks or interfering with your daily life, you may have chronic anxiety. 

Don't worry. There is good news! Anxiety disorders are manageable, even curable.

But, often, people keep it to themselves and try to self-medicate or cope on their own. 

It is common to try to cope with the symptoms of anxiety in "quick fix" ways:

  • Self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
  • Exercising to the point of exhaustion
  • Never letting yourself be alone
  • Isolating. Overeating
  • Controlling your eating
  • Scrolling social media
  • Too much sex
  • Too much work
  • Too much sleep.

You name it, it has been tried. 

The problem is that none of these things will work in the long run for anxiety relief.

They may make you feel better for a minute, an hour, maybe even a day.

But eventually, the chaos, panic, and worry in your head are going to rip through the band-aids that you are piling on top of each other.

And, at this point, the ways that you've been coping with the anxiety symptoms might be taking a toll on your body. 

There is no "one size fits all" treatment for high anxiety. It is not cured overnight or with a magic pill, though there is medication.

There are tons of natural ways to help calm your mind and decrease the chaos.

Here are 7 ways to calm down when you're anxious and dealing with anxiety.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Deal With Anxiety Symptoms Because Your Mental Health Matters

1. Slow down

It is common to get overwhelmed with life sometimes. There may seem to be an endless list of to-do's, appointments, meetings, assignments, and relationships enough to induce a panic attack.

Stop for a minute. Break things down into baby steps. Do one step at a time. Take breaks. And remember to breathe. 

2. Get into your body

Anxiety exists in our head, so when we can breathe into our bodies, focusing on experiencing sensations, and gentle movements, we begin to shift the focus downwards.

Go for a walk. Have a dance party. Do a workout. Get upside down. Breathe into your belly. Do some stretches. Work a muscle other than your head.

Try to do it for at least 20 minutes — this is the amount of time that studies show helps reduce anxiety in both the short term and the long term. 

3. Get into nature

Being outside almost forces us to be mindful, with so many nature noises to hear, smells to smell, sunshine, wind, and textures to touch and see — it's just all colors, birds, and magic.

Take a minute to go outside, and exist for a second. Notice what is around you. Breathe it in. This works a kind of magic that is simply inexplicable. 

RELATED: How To Cope With Anxiety, By Zodiac Sign

4. Write it down

For some, journaling is a godsend. For others, it merely acts as a visual representation of all the things that are causing the anxiety in the first place.

Remember: what works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. Try it out and if it helps, continue. If not, try something else. 

5. Celebrate little wins

We generally do not accomplish big goals every day. But I guarantee you accomplish something to be celebrated everyday.

Even if it is simply getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, going to the store, going to work, not having a panic attack, walking your dog, talking to a loved one, or creating a boundary.

Celebrate these things in a way that feels warm and fuzzy to you. 

6. Practice gratitude

We are able to shift our thoughts from negative to positive, but not all the time.

It is not that simple, but turning our focus from the things that are going wrong, to the things that we are grateful for on a daily basis, truly can help.

During my worst moments, this is the one thing that has always kept me sane, safe, and coming back.

Take 5 minutes out of your day to think about or write down 5 things that you're grateful for.

Simple is good — your legs that helped you move, your sibling, your dog, your bed, your eyes, a good song, or the trees. Anything that made your day a little bit easier. 

7. Talk to someone 

Like the woman in my office the other day, many people with anxiety feel like they are all alone.

Talking about anxiety issues helps because it reminds us that we are not, in fact, alone.

It can also gently nudge us to get the help we need. Maybe medication is needed, either for now or forever, to make life livable again. And that is okay.

There is no shame in medication for mental health. Ever. The end. Talk to people and it will become a little bit lighter. 

RELATED: 12 Life Skills Only People With Anxiety Can Teach You

Celeste, BSW, and is a counselor, sex educator, and relationship coach. She is currently studying dance/movement therapy, coaching gymnastics, and working as an addiction counselor. You can find more about her work on her website, and on her Instagram!

This article was originally published at celesteseiferling.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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