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Survival Guide to Anxious Thoughts

In today’s rushed age of technology, media and endless distraction, many more people are going through stressed and anxious experiences. Not to say that everyone has clinically-diagnosed anxiety, but anxiety is much more present in our society due to these non-stop demands and requirements we place upon ourselves. We’re all trying to work on our education, businesses, relationships and health while attempting to find downtime and entertainment in between – it is no wonder we’re all a bit on edge.

Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, people often overlook their anxious states and fail to properly deal with them. But mental health is linked to every other aspect of your life, and letting it decline can cause an array of consequences that you would never see coming.

There are many things that you may not realise stem from anxiety. Being able to identify these issues is the first step in overcoming them, and knowing that you are not alone in this healing process.

Here are a few overlooked things that stem from anxiety:

  • Being afraid to speak up
  • Needing to achieve high to be seen as intelligent
  • Believing everyone is silently judging you
  • Criticising your own actions
  • Thinking people are only pretending to like you
  • Overthinking
  • Procrastinating or avoiding social situations
  • Wanting to be in control

I, for one, experience all of these quite regularly, but didn’t know they stemmed from anxiety until recently. Knowing this means that now when I feel this way and start to use these behaviours, I can acknowledge there is a bigger issue at play – my anxiety.

I have a few things I do when feeling particularly anxious, that help me calm down and take a step back from the whirlwind of thoughts inside my head. Keep in mind I’m not a psychologist of any kind, these are simply things that work for me, and might help you the next time you feel overwhelmed:

  • Get Outside – As much as I don’t want to at stressful times, going outside into the fresh air and sun does wonder to my mental health. It allows me to focus on other things in life that are outside of my head, letting me decompress for a while.
  • Journal – Writing down my feelings – as silly as it may sound – helps me identify the jumble of thoughts inside my head, giving me more clarity as to what I’m genuinely worried about.
  • Do Something Fun – When feeling very stressed, I like to distract myself with something mindless and relaxing, like drinking tea and watching Netflix. Watching old movies from my childhood makes me feel at peace, which is helpful during a stressful time. It may be avoiding the deeper issues at hand, but sometimes it is better to take a step back until you’re in a better mindset to deal with what is going wrong.
  • Push Yourself – A more proactive approach, I find that when I’m overthinking particular things such as going to social events, pushing past my fears and embracing the discomfort is the only solution. My thoughts tend to spiral and try to convince me to stay at home, where I am safe and comfortable. However, more often than not, I actually enjoyed the event, and all the thoughts and scenarios I’d made up were just that – made-up. I am proving each time that I am bigger than my thoughts. This is the only way to overcome them.
  • Talk About it – Now this may not sound appealing, but talking to someone who understands, such as a close friend or therapist, works absolute wonders. Being able to openly express yourself makes you feel validated and heard, and helps identify what you are truly feeling. Friends are also able to lend a shoulder to cry on, or a much-needed hug. Opening up is hard, but it is worth it.

So to everyone who deals with anxious and stressful thoughts, know that you’re not alone. Remember when you’re down, that it is a bad day, not a bad life. Take deep breaths and think of all the good that is still coming your way.

A 20-year-old writer, environment enthusiast and spreader of self love!
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