Humans feel a wide, wide, wide range of emotions. Some make us feel as if we're floating on a cloud, others make us feel like we''re tumbling through the air, and others make us feel as if we have smashed into the ground.
In this article, however, I will be talking about a specific emotion, and what happens when our brains seem to adore making us experience it. That's right, it's our good ol' friend anxiety!
Anxiety, along with depression, is the most experienced mental health disorder in the UK and affects around 16% of the population at any one time. It can cause peoples lives to be almost put on pause and is usually accompanied by other mental health problems.
Anxiety isn't just a devilish thing that exists only to be an irritant. Like everything else, we evolved to have this emotion so that we know when harm or danger is in front of us or even coming our way. It's almost a sixth sense. An annoying, bothersome, sixth sense...
Everybody experiences anxiety at least once in their life; it would be unnatural not to. Unfortunately, there can be times in your life where anxiety is one of the dominant feelings and can cause your existence to almost just be a frothing mess of dread and “what ifs”. This is when anxiety is no longer just an emotion and is - instead - a mental disorder that needs attention.
People who experience anxiety disorders can have a variety of symptoms. Every persons experience is different.
For example my symptoms included: tiredness, trembling/shaking, palpitations (panic attacks), muscle tension, shortness of breath, a strong sense of dread, feeling on edge, difficulty concentrating, feeling sick, and confusion.
Others might have experienced none of these and instead suffered from other symptoms such as dizziness or difficulty falling asleep.
Some days, the physical feelings might out way the emotional and vice versa. But how do you deal with it? How do you relieve the symptoms even slightly?
One of the things that greatly helped me was taking time to stretch. As someone who's around 6ft tall, my back aches after a while anyway. Add on to that the tension created from being anxious all day and you soon feel like metal bars have replaced the muscles and spine in your back.
Every hour or so (or when the tension is too much), I stand up and stretch my arms above my head, breathing in deeply as I do so. You might think it won't do much but, for me, it was what worked the best. My body felt more relaxed and that had a sort of knock on effect onto me mentally.
Stretching does not cure your anxiety but may lessen it (even if only by a little).
Another thing that greatly helped me was having a comfort item that I carried around with me. This might be a piece of fabric, or a small item that can distract you with happy memories. Speaking to someone when feeling anxious can be great, but sometimes that person talks back or acts in a way that only heightens the emotion. An object won't do these thing but can still give you the security and comfort you need in that stressful moment. It keeps you grounded; removes you from the craziness in your head and back to reality.
Music is such a brilliant thing. It can be a great way to distract you from your worries and to get back into a more calmer state of mind. A great band that makes beautiful music is Sleeping at Last, however everyone's styles are different. Maybe country music works better for you, or maybe screamo or heavy metal. Finding the right songs that help to ease anxiety can be really beneficial when it comes to stressful situations. Just knowing that I had a relaxing playlist that I could lie in bed listening to and just forget about my worries for a moment was enough to get me through a rather anxious day.
The most important thing to do is to find at least one method that can help your anxiety. I have mentioned a couple in this article, however there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of things you can do.
Make sure you tell people and get professional help if you can. Look after yourself.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.