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The most consistent thing about life is that is it unreliable. Plan A can turn into plan E in a blink of an eye. Without any explanation feelings can change, motivations can change, and situations can change. When life takes a turn sometimes it can be really hard to turn with it. Everyone has their own pressures and things in their lives that instill anxiety. As I’ve encountered my own pressures and anxieties, I’ve picked up ways of coping with these changes. Here are my top 8 favorite ways of lowering my anxiety in these situations:

  • Grounding technique 54321

The grounding technique that I use is when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control. I like to use it especially when multiple other types of coping don’t seem to be working. The grounding 54321 technique is a type of meditation. The purpose of this technique is to ground yourself in the environment. First you identify 5 things within your environment that you can see; this could be people, objects, or colors. Next, you identify 4 things that you can touch. Examples include items on you like your clothes, your hands, or things in the environment like a table. 3 is for identifying 3 things that make you happy. 2 is for identifying 2 things that you can do about your situation. Finally, 1 is for one compliment to yourself.

  • Breathing

Oftentimes, controlling your physical body can help calm and control your mental presence. Breathing in a controlled and conscious way often helps reset the body.

  • Distraction

Walking away can sometimes be the best thing for someone. For me, distraction is not ignoring the problem but allowing myself time to bring myself back into my body and approaching the situation in a different way or more controlled way.

  • Exercise

I noticed working out or raising my heart rate can physically release dopamine, or feel-good chemicals, that help me reduce the stress I may be feeling. It also allows me to focus on something that is solely physical and take a step back from my mental presence.

  • Cold water

Often you see this done in movies or shows but it actually works! Using cold water on the hands or the face can reset the parasympathetic system and return the body to a sense of calm.

  • Bigger picture mentality

I’m a chronic overthinker and sometimes stepping back from the details of my situation help me to justify myself which calms me. I often cycle back to the idea that everything happens for a reason. The big picture for me is that life is not life without setbacks and growing from experiences.

  • Love bubble

Feeling supported and heard is really important when trying to deal with something stressful. I will often create a love bubble for myself by surrounding myself with people that support me and love me for me. Most of the time, I’ve already thought of every course of action that I can take and the only thing I need from someone is to listen and support me rather than help me through reason.

  • Control

I found that I am the most anxious when I am not able to control something (a personal issue). As I stated previously, the most reliable thing about life is that it is unreliable. Identifying things in my life that I can control such as how I treat people and my own actions, helps me to regain a sense of control and lower my anxiety.

Every individual is different and certain things may work for one individual but not benefit another. The one thing that I have learned, is ignoring, or simply pushing through your emotions does not help you in anyway. Validating yourself by acknowledging that you don’t feel good and addressing it in a way that sets you up for success in the future, is incredibly important to building your emotional stability and perception.

Mari Adamson

Jefferson '24

Mari is a Sophomore at Jefferson University, majoring in health sciences and enrolled in the Pre-Physician's Assistant Program. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and finding new places to eat. She also has a passion for photography and self-care!
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