Everyone deals with stress, it’s just a part of life that people go through. We’ve often heard people talk about how anxious they are for upcoming projects, exams and whatnot, but when does this normal everyday thing stop being just stress and become anxiety?
Anxiety is officially classified as, “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.” [source: nhs.uk] Most people experience something like this in their life (and that’s completely normal, you’re just stressed), but it’s when these worries start to interfere with your everyday life that it becomes a mental health disorder. There are many different types of anxiety, but I will be focusing on Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), as it is one I have experience dealing with myself.
When you have GAD, you tend to feel anxious for no reason in particular. This can be outwardly presented by: feeling irritable, becoming dizzy and seeing spots, having headaches, feeling overwhelmed, not being able to sleep and having panic attacks. Some people might not even realise that some of the things they do or feel are because of anxiety.
So how can I manage my anxiety?
I’ve dealt with anxiety for a huge part of my life, and am still dealing with it now. These are all methods that have helped me cope with it, and can hopefully help you too!
1) Breathing exercises - Many of you have probably heard this one before, but it really does help! Try breathing slowly through your nose, then out your mouth. It also helps to count (I tend to count to four)
2) Rescue Remedy - This is probably less commonly heard of, and can go under other names, but it’s a herbal remedy that helps you relax. This can be really helpful as because most of them are herbal, they don’t calm you down for you, instead rather just helping the process along a bit.
3) Therapy - I’ve been to therapy multiple times in my life (each time for different things), and each time it helped me enormously. Even if you don’t stay in it for long, it definitely helps you find some coping mechanisms.
4) Talk to someone you trust - A lot of people will scoff at this, but it really does help. It lets you get things off your chest, because even if you don’t realise it, internalisation is super damaging and makes anxiety a lot worse.
There are tons of other techniques that can help, but personally, these tend to work the best. Remember that if your anxiety gets too bad to cope with, there are always people you can turn to, and you’re not alone.