4 Ways to Cope With Anxiety
We’ve all been there—the sharp pain attacking your chest, the inability to take a deep breath, unwanted thoughts zooming in and out and back in again. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States affecting 40 million adults young and old each year. If you’re not already coping with it from time to time, odds are one day you may fall into that statistic. What can you do when that time comes?
1. Acknowledge What You’re Feeling
What’s most important right away is to acknowledge what’s going on, so you can get a grip on your emotional state. Notice the signs: an excessive amount of fear, restlessness, sweating, irritability, etc. Then, focus on your breathing. Knowing is half the battle when dealing with anxiety, and realizing what’s going on can create an immediate calming affect. When you do this, you immediately take away the upper hand anxiety tends to hold over you.
2. Find an Open Ear—Fast.
Find someone who will give you his or her undivided attention, and really let loose about how you are feeling. If a friend or family member is unavailable, Moravian College offers 24/7 support during the school year at the Counseling Center. Appointments are made daily for those who need an outlet to talk about how they feel—and it’s not weird. Laying out all of your issues without holding back can give a big dose of perspective and put you in the right direction for solving your problems.
3. Find a Positive Outlet to Relieve Some of Your Feelings
Whether it is going to the gym, reading your favorite book, doing yoga, lighting a candle, or taking a bath, find a constructive outlet that brings you much needed relief. It is important to get active, whether mind or body. For me, the mere thought of a mental and physical channel to release some stress creates a calming affect. Find your go-to outlet, and stick to it when anxiety kicks in.
4. Face Your Fears
If you have done all you can do and can’t seem to shake the awful feelings you’re having, it’s time to go directly to the cause and make a change. There’s a pretty big stigma surrounding asking for help when it comes to mental health-related sickness—and that needs to change. Facing your fear and asking for help directly from the cause is not something to be ashamed of.
Whether it’s school, work, sport, or family related anxiety, reach out to the source. The superiors in your life were, at one point, twenty-year-old college students, too. They understand the pressure that comes with being a student, employee, athlete, and overall young adult. At the end of the day, they want to see you succeed. Your mental health shouldn’t take a backseat to your obligations. Go directly to the source of your issues, and accommodations will follow.
The bottom line: you can’t always predict when anxiety will hit, whether small and annoying or totally crippling. What’s most important is not being afraid to take charge of the way you feel, and make your anxiety more manageable. Your mental health is the foundation of all things you do, and in order to continue living a happy life, it needs to be in check at all times.
Moravian College Conseling Center: (610) 861-1510