10 Things to do While you are Anxious
I am going to get super personal – in 2013, I experienced my first panic attack in my university room, alone and away from my family.
I didn’t know what I was feeling and there was a sinking feeling that I was going crazy. It happened in the night and when I was back home for a weekend, I felt like I couldn’t breathe that my parents called the ambulance. It was only then that I realised that it had a name – panic attacks. Since then, I’ve been recognising signs of anxiety in my life and dealing with it before it becomes a full-blown panic attack.
The list below is what works for me. I totally know that different things work for different people, so you do you girlfriend. But if you are pretty new to this, let me tell you what I do to start you off:
I bring God into it. Sometimes, it’s hard but I realised it helps to bring God into it so I try harder. Every year, we visit India and for me, planes used to make me a little anxious. I realised in the middle of a flight that I was stuck in a metal tube many miles up in the air and it sounded illogical that we would ever survive. So I went to my phone and shuffle my playlist. Here Now was at the top of my playlist and I sang it as I explained to God how crazy it is that we are stuck in a metal tube for the next eight hours.
But somehow, worship elevated my eyes and I could see that God is here, now. All I knew then was that He was here, now. He was in that metal tube with me for the next eight hours while I watched movies, slept, ate and listened to worship.
2) Verbalise your thoughts
Something about saying it out loud brings my thoughts back to reality. I went on my first mission trip last month and I am terrified of lizards. The thoughts of having to see lizards again and not knowing what type of lizards I was going to see was making me a little anxious.
So I verbalised it to everyone who were going on the mission trip with me and also to everyone who wanted to pray for me. Telling my friends helped me process my thoughts and they were able to not only hold me in prayer but helped me rationally think about it – ‘other people in the group can shoo off the lizards, there is a possibility that lizards aren’t even there! Worst case scenario – they fall on you but that won’t happen if they are shooed away by your friends. So, you will be fine.’
Many studies point to the fact that exercise can help relieve anxiety and depression. A little while back, I used to do Mixed-Martial Arts and I had to stop because I couldn’t afford the money to have a personal trainer. But going back to MMA today, I noticed that my spirit was more at rest.
4) Distract yourself
When I first started getting panic attacks, I used to watch re-runs of Friends because that was the only thing I could watch without being anxious.
Soon you realise that anxiety and panic attacks can happen anywhere and you don’t always have Friends at hand so I sing out loud, I make up stories in my head, pretend I am a celebrity and stay in character.
5) Be kind to yourself
Oh girlfriend, I know that feeling when that wave of feeling hits you and you suddenly treat yourself a little harsher.
Let this be your reminder to not put yourself down for being back here again and do some self-care. Take a bath with a nice bath bomb, give yourself time to have a nap, take some time out to go for a walk, hug a dog. Do what you need to do to treat yourself with love.
Breathe. Breathe like a pregnant woman in labour. Slow, long breath. There is a lot of science that supports it. Long story short – the breathing techniques will help your body calm down and realise that it is not under attack.
7) Get creative
I have a lot of friends who do art when they are anxious. While I may not be an artist, I can see it. Sometimes doodling on a notepad, colouring can all help as a distraction and help with my anxiety. I think it lets my hands do something while my brain is slowly piecing information together and process everything.
8) Speak to someone you trust
It is important that someone knows when you are feeling anxious about a situation, so they can support you in any way that you need. I usually tell my close friends, my family or just someone I trust. Not everyone may be able to understand what you’re going through but they can be a silent support system, look out for you and cover you in prayer.
9) Speak to your soul
I started using this technique when I realised that words carry so much power. If David told the soul to praise the Lord, then I can tell my soul to praise the Lord in the middle of my anxiety. I can tell my soul to breath slowly. Speak to your soul and remind yourself that anxiety does not win because we serve the Prince of Peace.
10) Speak to God
Speaking about the Prince of Peace, bring God into it. Vent, rant and cry if you have to about what you are feeling and why you think you might be feeling it. Tell it all and ask Him to send help, ask Him to come in and help you. Speaking from experience, our Prince of Peace, always does.
I hope this helps you. If any of you guys experience anxiety, panic attacks or depression, we would love to pray for you:
Father, we thank you for all the beautiful hearts that are reading this post and we thank you that you have the final victory against anxiety. Lord, I pray that we are sensitive to Your Spirit as we battle with our anxiety and may you cloth and comfort us with your peace. Lord, may we speak a declaration of peace to reign in the hearts of Your daughters today and we ask this in Your mighty name. Amen.