Sunday, 28 January 2018

10 Simple Ways I Deal With My Anxiety

Although I've tried to hide from it in the past I do struggle with anxiety and it's taken a while for me to own it and learn my own ways to cope with it. I hope these 10 simple ways to deal with anxiety might help you too.

1. Get Appy

Although smartphones and the internet in general can play a big role in increasing my anxiety, they can actually help with calming and clearing my mind. There are a few apps and tools I use to help myself meditate, (kind of), and be mindful, still and calm. Here are a few of my favourites :

Headspace - I love this app, you can get a free version where you can do 3, 5 and 10 minute quick sessions to clear your mind. You can have a guided walkthroughs or you can go your own way, but personally I love the guy's voice and it gives me just 5 whole minutes of focusing on my breathing, getting away from my thoughts and helping me deal with my day.

Spotify - I know right, usually more associated with party tunes and your favourite road trip/gym sesh/bedroom dance routines than anxiety busting meditations but there are plenty of playlists and tracks dedicated to bringing you to peace. Sometimes I like to put on a guided hypnosis before bed and let it relax me into a deep sleep. If you already have Spotify, this is a great way to really get your moneys worth by using it for the biggest and best girl power anthems to get you feeling fizzy when you need it, or relax you and help you escape your thoughts when it's all becoming a little too much.

Calm - Another great app is Calm. You do have to pay but you can get a free trial and various free meditations and they even have things like bed time stories for adults read by people such as Stephen Fry - I mean seriously what more can you ask for in life? - It's all down to personal preference but there's so much to try on there it's worth taking a look.

Youtube - I know it's not technically an app but sometimes I listen to guided meditations for free on Youtube, there's a world of knowledge and help on there. Sometimes I prefer to go to bed at night listening to self hypnosis - I really like Joe Treacy - look him up -  I literally completely go under listening to him and always feel refreshed afterwards.

2.  Get reading

Now there's two types of books I use to help me deal with my anxiety. I do like to read some self help books but also I like a lot of fiction. So lets break it down.

The top books at the moment, self help wise, that are really speaking to me are :
  • The Universe Has Your Back
  • How To Heal Your Life
  • Recovery
All three of them talk about going into your past to bring up what is causing repeat behavioural problems and patterns and how to free yourself from them. I could write a whole post about just these books and the themes within them alone, but the basis of what they discuss is learning about yourself and why you feel and think the way you do, freeing yourself of those patterns and trusting in something higher than yourself to help make your life amazing. I think this last part is important, you don't have to feel alone with your thoughts and feelings, you can put your faith in something, (of your choice), to take the weight off you and give you hope.

I also rely a lot on taking time to read a good fiction book. You can become quite self obsessed when dealing with anxiety and when you only read books about helping yourself you are dwelling on your feelings a lot. Getting lost in a great book can really help take your mind from your current mood and shift it into a twisty, turny world of adventure. My favourite books to read are Terry Pratchett, I read them over and over again each year (and that's no mean feat there are about 40 of them!). For me it feels like going home, or meeting up with an old friend, I just find the Discworld books hilarious completely on my wavelength. Find something you love just as much and you've always got a happy place to go to.

I also love to read essays and poems from inspirational people. Ralph Waldo Emmerson was my fave long before all the cute Pinterest quotes with his words on existed.

It's also good to keep up to date with some of the great books of the moment, it's a great way to find something new and connect with others who are also reading the flavour of the month.

3. TV is ok too!

For exactly the same reasons as your favourite books, having a few TV shows where you can just switch off and feel good can really help with anxiety and altering your mood. Now let us be clear, I'm not talking about that gripping new Netflix boxset, you know the one that's got everyone on the edge of their seat.. no, no, this is not the time for that. When I feel down, uneasy or anxious I like to watch an easy breezy comedy, something where I know nothing bad is going to happen, I'm not going to be shocked, or shook or devastated and crying at the end of the programme! I want something where the characters feel like my friends, (sad I know!), and I can laugh along and feel good.

My current three 'go to' shows are - Friends, (of course, I doubt this will ever leave my top three), New Girl, (an easy 20 min show, I get them on my phone if I've not got long, and I just switch off for a little time), and How I Met Your Mother, (I literally love the characters in this, I feel like I could easily watch it over and over again and it always makes me laugh).

Get nostalgic for old shows you used to love, or find a new comedy to get lost in and to make you smile and I swear it will lift you up.

4. Essential Oils

It might be a cliche but essential oils are proven to help with anxiety and they really work for me. I bought an inexpensive diffuser on Amazon, I just plug it in and pop my favourite scent in.

My top oils are Peppermint, Eucalyptus, May Chang, Geranium and Grapefruit. I use the fresher minty scents to clear my mind and pep me up and the more spa-like scents to relax me and help me unwind. Candles also work just as well I love the IT Works candle, it lasts forever too!

5. Getting into a night time routine

Getting into a relaxing night time routine really helps me switch off and gets me ready for a goodnight's sleep. I've had problems with bouts of insomnia since my teens and every now and then I get scared it's going to happen to me again, (which is especially sad for me because man I really love sleep!). A hot, long bubble bath is the answer to most of my problems, especially when filled with my favourite smells and products.

Even if I've had the busiest day I love just setting aside half an hour to turn off electricals, wash my face, (Liz Earle's Hot Polish is the best for helping me feel relaxed), moisturise, rub a little of Lush's Sleepy into my body, drink some water, maybe read a book and be quiet, calm and chill before I turn out the light.

6. Getting some shut eye

Getting a decent amount of sleep is so important for my mental health. When I'm tired it's easier to not want to face things or feel that things are getting on top of me. It can be hard when you have an over active mind to try to settle down on a night and this can mean you lose out on sleep. If you know this is happening then start a routine to wind down to sleep earlier so you are totally settled by bedtime. Make sure you aim for 8 hours, I know we are all busy people and have lots to fit into a day but you'll find all your jobs a lot easier if you prioritise sleep in your to do list!

7. Tidy room Tidy mind

I know it seems daft but I feel much more anxious if I know my things are unorganised or my bedroom is messy. There's something just so amazing about having everything in it's place and a neat, tidy room to be in. The same goes for the whole house but if you are spending time in your bedroom this needs to be a place of sanctuary and calm. For me it's worth spending a day tidying and sorting and finding a home for things because I know it will help me feel more positive going forward.

8. Avoiding the negativity

This one is important. It's hard because you can't just shut out the whole world forever but it's good to work out where the source of your anxiety is coming from. This is where point 1. is helpful because by shutting off and clearing your mind things do come to you that you might never have thought of before.

If you know a certain friend is dragging you down or making you feel bad make a point of stepping back from them for a while, if some one on Facebook is a source of negativity, you don't have to unfriend them, just unfollow them, take little steps to stop people being in your consciousness so much.

If you are worrying about an event or something at work, take steps to be as prepared as possible and then distract yourself with other things and stop dwelling on it. It can even be a family member or someone you care about who is affecting you, whatever it is, avoid the subject, don't put yourself in a situation where you will be exposed to something that is bringing you down. Even if it's just a temporary measure while you start to feel better again.

9. Write it down

Even if you never read it again, writing down what is making you feel unhappy or anxious can be a great way of getting it off your mind. Sometimes I don't want to talk to people about what's on my mind, (mostly because I think they'll think I'm crazy, or it just isn't worth involving someone else).

Writing down what is on my mind helps me put it in perspective, gets it all out, instead of just me tying myself up in knots in my head. A lot of the time I'll write everything out on a piece of paper, read it, then screw it up and throw it away, just letting go of all the irrational worries.

Other times I'll write down exactly what I want to happen, the best case scenario, and visualise what I want actually happening, this is a powerful way of gaining control over your thoughts and changing the thought patterns. You can choose to keep a journal, or if you prefer sit at your computer and type it all out and then delete it! Either way you'll feel better.

10. Do something nice for someone else

This one always makes me feel better, and sometimes I forget how powerful it can be. It can be a tiny thing such as getting someone their favourite Starbucks on the way to work, or as big as planning a surprise party or trip for a loved one. Even visiting a relative you don't see very often, sending a message to a friend you haven't spoken to for a while letting them know they are thought about, but don't stop there, you be as creative as you like.

Making someone else happy is the best feeling in the world and even though it's not a long term fix to your problems the best part is you can do it as many times as you like, every single day of your life! Anxiety can be a very selfish thing, even though it doesn't feel good it invites you to stay locked in your mind and focusing on your thoughts and your feelings, by changing the programme and thinking about what you can do for someone else you are free for a time, and it helps you to focus on others, and takes you out of your own head.

Kindness never feels bad.

So there ends the 10 ways I deal with my anxiety, I hope these were helpful and gave you something to think about. I'm always looking for ways to be happier and healthier so if you've got any top tips please share them with me, I'd love to know! 

For anyone who is really struggling with their mental health, please talk to someone, there are so many charities and support groups out there, search for something local and get some real help. Everyone is at a different place in life so never compare yourself and know that it's ok not to be ok right now. 

Visit for more on dealing with your mental health.

1 comment

  1. Candles and TV times is my go-to when trying to calm down and enjoy some down time from anxiety, it helps keep me calm.

    Tarnya xx


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