5 (Natural) Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Everyone gets anxious at some point in their lives. Whether it is from being late to work, forgetting to do a homework assignment or preparing to give a big speech, anxiety always finds its way into those situations. For people with high functioning anxiety, those feelings seldomly go away. Can you imagine being on-edge 24/7? For someone who personally deals with an anxiety disorder, I can personally vouch for those who say that it is really hard at times. Luckily, I have adopted some different ways that help me to cope with my anxious moments. Hopefully, some of these methods will work for readers who are going through the same struggles. 

  1. 1. Journaling

    2 journals spread out on a blank background with a pen and faux plant

    For those who like to write, this method is for you. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy writing, this doesn’t have to be an entire book. At the beginning of the year, I purchased a gratitude journal. Every night before I go to sleep, I pull it out and write a brief description about some of the good things that happened throughout the day and reflect on those things that I am grateful for. This not only helps to calm anxiety, but it also helps to go to sleep with a positive mindset. I know some people that do this in the morning too. Overall, writing of any kind is a great way to calm the mind and focus on the good.

  2. 2. Work Out

    Pink weights and workout gear

    One thing that has helped me tremendously with anxiety is working out. For me, it has always been really hard to pull myself away from my priorities and spare an hour, even if it is to better myself. It is also really hard to stay consistent. Although, since I have started working out about three times a week, I honestly see life from a completely different lens. Working out helps especially when you are anxious. You are able to leave all of the baggage at the door the second you walk into the gym. You are in your own element, with your own thoughts. When you workout, your body also releases hormones that ease tension from the body. So, quite literally, your body is releasing anxiety. 

  3. 3. Five Senses Exercise

    This next tactic is more for when anxiety attacks are actually happening, but this can also be used to prevent them. The five senses exercise works like this; you breathe slowly and think about five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This helps you to “ground” yourself. When someone is having a panic/anxiety attack, they start to feel like they are losing control of themselves and reality. This tactic helps to bring that reality back and essentially “ground” oneself by becoming in touch with their senses. 

     

  4. 4. Have someone you can talk to

    Students at table

    This tactic is something that I use quite often, and honestly might be the most important one to me. Obviously, everyone copes with situations differently. Some people prefer to be alone and some prefer to be around people. For me, it really helps to talk out my anxious feelings and hear it from a rational perspective. I am extremely lucky to have significant other, parents and friends who are willing/able to hear me out when I need it. Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you about these vulnerable topics, there will always be a teacher, coach or therapist there to listen. While you don’t want to abuse this one, it is very healthy to talk through things. 

  5. 5. Eat right

    "two sliced breads with avocado on top" on Unsplash

    Finally, the last recommendation that I have to cope with anxiety is to eat right. By “right”, I mean home cooked meals as much as possible, less junk food and less late night snacking. I know for a lot of college kids, this is not an easy thing to do. One major thing that will help would be not going out to eat as much during the week. If you have a meal plan at your university, choose a salad for lunch. There are healthy options there if you look hard enough. (I promise). By eating healthy, you are doing your body and your mind a huge favor. I know for me, when I eat bad for a few days, it definitely affects my mood. I feel sluggish, bloated and maybe even a little short tempered. (Just maybe). By eating healthier, you are fueling your brain. You will see yourself with more energy, liveliness and an overall more positive outlook. 

     

All in all, the message I want to get across from this article is that there ARE ways to cope with anxiety. It is not easy, and it does not happen overnight, but it can be done. Once you make the decision to not let anxiety rule your life, you are a huge step forward in the right direction. I am always available to talk to anyone who struggles with anxiety or any other mental health disorder for that matter. If you don’t personally struggle with a mental illness, be on the lookout to help those who do. Shoot, they could even be your best friend.