3 M's for Managing Your Anxiety

In recent, I have found that the statement “everyone has anxiety” has graced my ears more often than usual. Perhaps it is because I am in college and surrounded by numerous busy students struggling to balance a social life and a rigorous course load on a diet of Yerba Mate and Starbucks frappuccinos. But, it's much more common outside of college than one would think with one in five people having generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is something we all grapple with at one point or another. Having battled four separate disorders myself, the nervous stomach pains and over-analysis are no stranger to my everyday life. In dealing with the many adversities presented by constant worry and knowing that I am no the only person facing these exhausting troubles, I can’t help but wonder why don’t we talk about it more. Why don’t we help each other cope rather than simply observing the 20% of people with anxiety disorders attempting to figure it out on their own?

Often times, anxiety feels very lonely and causes an individual to view the world through a highly individualized lens with their worry at the center of it all. Because of this, it takes an outside source of comfort and advice to kick start the journey along the road to recovery from constant worry. In the spirit of helping one another out, I thought it might be time to provide a voice of direction by sharing the three M's that another voice once presented to me in a moment of much-needed guidance.

1. Meditation

My first piece of advice is most likely something anyone with anxiety has heard countless times before. While the constant notion that sitting in a lotus position and humming three times a day will magically cure you of anxiety is annoying, it works. In fact, studies at Harvard have concluded that “meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety.” Despite this evidence, it still may be hard for people with anxiety, myself included, to imagine sitting alone and focusing on my thoughts. Instead, I've found my own method of meditation: music.

Meditation does not necessarily have to adhere to a set of rules or standard; you can mold it to fit your anxiety. Meditation can be anything from listening to music to running. Explore and find what works best for you. The more I focused on molding my meditation to my needs, the more control I felt over my worry. So next time your worries start poking and prodding, try searching for your unique method of meditation.

Image via meditateyomichira

2. Mediation

Sometimes, our anxiety can become too much for us alone to handle, and a voice of reason is needed. To many, therapy may seem daunting and surrounded by social stigma. But, it can often be the best solution to gaining control of your anxiety. Asking for help is completely okay. Another voice helps provide an unbiased perspective that helps us view our worries with a more rational lens. Not to mention, therapy is a great way to say everything you feel like you can’t in the “real world”: worries you think are silly, insecurities, fears, anger. 

One important thing to remember about seeking psychiatric help is that you have to be willing to work at it. A willingness and clear desire change the way you are living are necessary for therapy to impart its full benefit. I can honestly say that therapy is one of the hardest things I have done. Yet in persisting, it has transformed my life and my anxiety.

Image via anxietythings

3. Me

When you have anxiety you have to remember to take care of YOURSELF. This is possibly one of the hardest things for people with anxiety to do, but it is so necessary. Much of our worry is based in what other people think of us. But, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and let go of what matters to other people and focus on what matters to YOU. How are you feeling? What do you need? What will make you happy? Try doing something once a week that is just for you. The more you focus on your needs, the less you worry about the needs of others.

By no means have I mastered the intricacies of anxiety. I most definitely still struggle with worry frequently, but I have found that practicing these three M's has let me have some peace from my anxieties. From one anxious person to another, I hope this brings you some peace too.