How to deal with anxiety

Hey everyone,

Okay so as some of you might know, I suffer from a pretty severe case of General Anxiety Disorder.
I have had to work really hard throughout my entire life to keep this under control and to deal with it.
I also have a pretty thorough understanding and experience with anxiety in general as I volunteer on a helpline at a place called the Anxiety Recovery Centre. (I'll put a link to their website at the end of this post, and also various helpline numbers for those who might need some support).

Now, not everyone has a diagnosable anxiety disorder during their lifetime.
But EVERYONE does at some point in their life experience anxiety in some form or another and most people that I have found and come across find it pretty hard to handle at points and just don't know exactly how to handle it.

So I thought I would make a bit of a list of the things that I have found that work for me and for others when it comes to dealing with and handling anxiety in day to day life.
Whether that's a diagnosable disorder like mine, or just basic every day anxiety that anyone may be experiencing.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: 
All of these things may not work for everyone. Anxiety and mental health in general is very varied between people and if these things do not work for you, it doesn't mean that there is no hope. It just means that these techniques don't work for you. Don't stop looking for ones that do! Because they do exist. 


1. Support and a strong social support system. 

Sadly, this is the one thing on this list that most people lack.
But having a strong system of people around you is crucial. And people that understand, or try to and know what you're going through!
It's not nearly as helpful to have heaps of family and friends around you if they don't know what you're experiencing or how you are feeling.

In my experience, the best thing I ever did was speak up and tell people about my anxiety and my depression as well.
It grew all of the relationships in my life closer. And yes, some people felt very overwhelmed and kept their distance, but that's okay. You need to be accepting that not everyone can deal with that and those aren't the people you need close to you in your life anyway.
There's nothing more comforting,to me at least as having someone to cry to and vent to.
(and as I said, if you don't feel as though you can do that with anyone in your life, try some of the helplines I will put below).


2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something that in my experience seems to either really work wonders or not do anything at all for each person.
It's almost like the anxiety release version of Lord of the Rings, you either become obsessed and fall in love with it, or you hate it and feel like you've just wasted 9 hours of your life.

Anyway, for those that don't know, mindfulness is a meditation state that focuses on being consciously aware of what is going on around you in that one moment.
There are heaps of different names for this mental state, 'living in the moment' is probably one of the more popular ones.
Anyway, mindfulness meditation is basically just being aware of not only everything that is happening right now in the outside, physical world, but also inside your head.
One of the main aims of mindfulness is to just accept the thoughts and feelings that are happening to you, acknowledge them and learn how to combat them.

As this is quite an in-depth idea and meditation strategy, and I am certainly not an expert, in the links section at the end of this post I will include some youtube videos and helpful websites so that those that are interested can go and check it out.

For me, mindfulness works very well and I find heaps of activities I can do to achieve this state, the main one for me being driving.
But as I said before, it doesn't work for everyone and it certainly doesn't work for me every time. But definitely worth looking into I think.

Side Note:
The other day I bought a spinning ring, which is exactly what it sounds, some of you may have heard of them. I've found this really good for mindfulness stuff when I'm feeling anxious in day to day life. So I totally think these would be amazing for someone who is trying to start out some mindfulness stuff.



3. Question your anxiety and use your logic

This is probably one of the hardest things not only on this list but just in life in general. It's really crucial that you attempt to challenge your anxiety.

Most of the time, your anxiety, whilst not wrong or weird, can be really over the top or very illogical.
It is incredibly important to be able to sit with that thought of yours, that anxiety that might be spilling over the top of your mind over whatever it may be (or nothing even at all) and be able to think about it logically.
Is what you're thinking about likely to happen?
Is what you're anxious about really worth all of this emotional pain that it's causing?
Is it worth worrying about?
Does it even make sense?

As soon as you find the ability to be able to question your brain in this way, it will be a lot easier for you to be able to talk yourself down from your anxiety, before it gets in the way of your day to day life too much!

I find this extremely helpful and it is the way I deal with all of my anxiety regardless o what it's about or how strong it is. But it's not easy. I have been perfecting and practicing this skill for the last 18 years, so please don't feel bad about yourself if you find this hard to do at the start.
Just don't give up, because it really does work wonders.


4. Test your anxiety

So, I know as all of you read this, the very idea of it will probably bring on the sweats, or butterflies. That awful constricting and tense feeling of anxiety itself.
But something that has really helped me is testing my anxiety, taking little steps to do some of the things that make me the most anxious.

Doing stuff like this will be hard, it will be absolutely terrifying and it might take a few attempts.
But one of the best things you can do is to just go out there, and do the things that make you anxious.

I'm not saying to jump out of a plane or to go diving to the bottom of the ocean, or hold a spider (the thought of that makes me feel sick). I'm just saying that if you're anxious about social situations and meeting new people, take a deep breath and start a conversation with a nice looking girl or guy at uni, or smile at someone walking past you in the shops.

Because the more you do these things and realise that nothing bad is going to come from it, most of the time a lot of good can come from stuff like that, the easier it will be to face the day and the more at ease you will feel in that situation the next time.

Challenge yourself, don't give in. Don't let the anxiety win!


Let me know if any of this stuff has helped you in the past, or if you do go and try it PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if it helped!
I love hearing from you guys so much!

Have an amazing and safe new year <3

Love you all,
xxxxxxxxxx T



HELPLINE NUMBERS: Australia 

Anxiety Recovery Centre:
03 9830 0533

Beyond Blue:
1300 22 4636

Headspace:
1800 650 890

Lifeline:
13 11 14



LINKS: 

MINDFULNESS WEBSITES

http://www.thehappinesstrap.com/mindfulness
http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/10.MindfulnessinEverydayLife.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p_yaNFSYao
http://mrsmindfulness.com/9-mindfulness-videos/

MY STUFF
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Tumblr: ottenere-scopata.tumblr.com
Twitter: twitter.com/TaylorBekkers




Comments

Sophie W said…
Hi Taylor!

I think this was a very well written post. It's very helpful and more comforting knowing the person writing understands and has similar experiences. I think I mentioned it in one of my comments about my anxiety, and even though I've never met you I feel better just reading your blog. Like you said a good support system is very important and for me personally the hardest one to find. Thanks for sharing!

Sophie xx
cherriesandperfume.blogspot.com
Anonymous said…
Hi Taylor,
I've read all of your blog posts so far and I'm loving them! You give such good advice and I love that even though you're going through a tough time, you're still thinking about other people and how you can help them. It's very admirable. I do hope you're feeling a little better with time after the break up but I've known you for a few years now and even though I don't know you very well, I can tell you're a tough girl who can push through anything.
I would love to ask for some advice from you because I don't know who else to talk to but I don't want to bother you or interrupt you while you're busy with life. If you ever have time for a chat with me, please comment back and hopefully you can help me. I'd love to help you too if you needed anything :)
Love your work x
Taylor Bekkers said…
Hey darl,
That's actually so sweet and has made me so happy reading that!
Thank-you so much for saying that, it really means the world to me and I feel as though, as much as I know that I am strong, I could never do it without the amazing people that are around me!

Yeah I'd be more than happy to give you some advice and have a chat :) I'm assuming from the fact that you say that you've known me for a few years that you have me on facebook? Chuck me a message whenever you want and I'd love to have a talk and I'd be more than happy to offer anything I can to help out! xx

Thanks so much for reading and for commenting xxxxxx
Taylor Bekkers said…
Hey Sophie!

Aw thank you so much! You're legit so adorable! Means so much that you read my posts all of the time!
I'm so happy that I can offer you some of that support system and you know you can email me whenever if you need xxxx

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