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From a young age, I have struggled with anxiety. Like many others my age, anxiety affects the choices I make and how I feel every day. Thankfully, I am at a point in my life now that I feel that I have control. However, I know that a lot of people struggle with this. Here are some tips that have helped me over the years to overcome my anxiety and be able to live my life to the fullest.

Breathe.

I understand that this is incredibly cliché, and you may have heard this word before. It really is important though and a great reminder. Breathe. It is so easy to get overwhelmed or stressed when you are put in situations that bring forward your anxious tendencies. Remember though, tomorrow will always come. This event that you are allowing to make you feel like this anxious mess, will not even matter to you a month from now. Personally, I look back at situations where I felt so stressed and anxious, and I laugh. Not because my feelings then were invalid, but because I know now that I had nothing to fear. So, breathe. I promise you it will all be okay.

Live in the moment!

I know too well how easy it is to get caught up in the “what-ifs.” “What if this happens?” “What if they don’t like me?” “What if I fail?” I have asked myself these questions too. So many times, in fact, that worrying about the what-ifs has caused me to miss out. Sometimes, it was easier just to avoid the situation instead of dealing with what the actual problem was. I remember times when I had plans to go out with my friends, and I was so scared that I cancelled and spent the night laying in bed. Because that was easier than telling them going out and being surrounded by other people worried me. These fears don’t go away overnight, but what you need to remember is that if you let them hold you back now, you will regret it later. I know it will not be easy but say yes! You might be surprised at how much fun you have.

Be vocal.

I spent so many years wishing that the people around me understood the reason for how I acted. How could they though? I never explained to them that anxiety is something that rules my life. I never had that conversation and explained that there are everyday tasks that are considered “normal” that I find to be completely overwhelming. It is very important to start that conversation. Find someone that you trust and talk to them. It is amazing how much your relationships will grow once the people around you understand who you are. If you ever need someone to talk to, please reach out to me! I would love to be a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on.

Anxiety is scary. It is a scary word and a scary feeling. Time is up though. We must take back our lives and stop letting that 7-letter word define us. Even though I still have a way to go, I have started taking back my life. You can do it too!

Andi Baker is a Campus Correspondent and Senior at Purdue University, majoring in Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics with minors in Management and Art and Studio Design. Originally from Manila, Arkansas, Andi loves to drink sweet tea, read, and make art. You can follow her on Instagram @andibaker
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