Trying to survive Anxiety on a daily basis is no picnic.
I’m sure we all have ways to get through the day. Something that works for you may not necessarily help another, but I am always willing to try something new.
Here I have compiled a few weird and whacky tips & tricks that help me manage my Anxiety.
Some of these may seem derivative or just plan strange, but I hope at least one of these tips helps you.
Obsessing Over Past Regrets
When you have an Anxiety disorder, it is easy for you to constantly stress yourself over every little mistake you have ever made.
I’m talking “I broke mum’s favourite tea cup when I was 8 yrs old and lied about it” type of stuff. Whilst you punish yourself over a long lost memory, your mum hasn’t thought about it for 20 years!
And yet, you will not forget it, as the guilt lingers in the back of your mind, ready to pounce on you at any moment of weakness.
My moments of regret usually bombard me when I am already in a vulnerable place, or just before I go to sleep.
The Box Method
One day, there was a particular memory that was absolutely crippling me, crushing me from the inside out, and I thought I would die from the shame.
I was so sick of this memory killing me, that I decided I wanted to get rid of it using The Box Method.
If you Google this, you may come across some genius mathematician explaining the use of such a model.
That is not what I am talking about.
I have in fact created the box method, although I’m sure I’m not the only one to have used it, and it may have a proper name – please let me know.
So, I visualised the memory. Although incredibly uncomfortable to handle, I grabbed the memory in my mind and started to compress it into a manageable form, like a ball.
Once I sure it was secure in the ball and couldn’t expand again, I put the ball into a box and closed the lid.
I always visualise a Christmas box with this, but any box will do.
Okay now, tie a long piece of ribbon around the box and into an intricate bow. In reality I can’t wrap for crap, but in my mind I am a true artiste.
At this point, your memory should be nicely tucked inside. It may be banging around, desperate to get out. But you will not let it.
If you’ve reached this point, you’re wondering what to do now? You could always store it in the attic at the back of the brain, which is what most humans do.
But I prefer a slightly more subtle approach.
I burn it.
I burn that box so good, chucking candles and lighters on that baby. Hell, lets pop a few sticks of dynamite on the pile. Followed by a nuclear bomb. And topped with a classic asteroid to really obliterate that sum bitch.
Or you could just throw it away, like a normal human being.
The point is, after I did this, I could not for the life of me remember the memory.
I got so frustrated that I even ventured into the deep pits of my mind to find it, just to know what it was!
Alas, it is gone.
Please note that you have to be extremely focused when performing this method, and you have to really want that regretful memory vanquished.
But user beware – you will never remember it again.
I’m sure you have all heard of the ancient insomnia cure known as “counting sheep”. Although I did not invent this, I have found a way to modify it to help me when I’m struggling to fall asleep.
I start by imagining a large open field, full of flowers of every colour, maybe a mud pit for the pigs, and trees swaying in the background. Directly in front of me is a bright red picket fence standing perpendicular (big word of the day!) to me. I see it run all the way to the trees in the distance.
Now here is the fun part.
I challenge myself to think of the craziest ways a sheep can get over a fence.
It could jump, fly, backflip, sneak under, burst through, float between like a ghost – there are so many ways.
Not only that, but try experimenting with all the colours. All the shapes. Any which way a sheep can look.
You can also turn your sheep into a character. A ninja, princess, super hero, body builder, robber – anyone!
My favourite is the Michael Jackson sheep who moonwalks right over that fence, finishing with a crotch grab and a “hee hee”.
I count each and every sheep that finds its way over the fence. After a while it is like my mind is exhausted from all the creative ideas that I find myself asleep before I reach 30.
For some, this may be over stimulating and have the opposite affect. For me, I find it has a calming effect because I’m not lying there thinking about life, regrets, issues, anything in my life that causes stress. My mind is cleared to enjoy the sheep parade before me.
Give it a go, and let me know if it works.
Feeling Over Emotional
Music is a huge part of my life. No matter what emotion I’m feeling, I will always turn to music to help me through.
Some days I just want to curl up into a ball and just cry it out. This is when my Cry It Out playlist comes in handy
If you’re like me, and bottle things up before exploding, it’s a good idea to release it before it takes its toll. There is something so therapeutic about a good cry. Team it up with looking at photos of your childhood pets and you’re set!
Actually, don’t do that. Next minute you’ll be watching Marley and Me, eating ice-cream, sobbing incessantly and cursing the heavens for its cruel ways.
You know when you’re feeling down in the dumps, or just want to perk your day up?
Look no further than my Feel Awesome playlist!
I am very much a child at heart, and appreciate anything with a catchy beat. Just a few of these songs and I’m dancing around like a swarm of bees are attacking every inch of me.
There is always that one person that makes you want to explode. You know exactly who I’m talking about. They do one thing that completely crosses the line, and you just crack.
Rather than shouting at them or challenging them to a joust to win the hand of the fair maiden, I simply get in my car and blast my Angry Anthems playlist.
Some may say this seems a bit pop/goth style, and you’d probably be right. But these songs help me to release my inner demon by screaming every lyric as if all the angst in the world were upon my shoulders.
You can also view my Spotify playlists on my Social Media page
Having an Anxious Episode
Often when I find myself having an anxious episode, I feel as though my body is running a million miles a second. I can’t see or think straight. It’s as if my limbs have been electrocuted and I’m running around trying to shake the sparks off.
Burn Off the Energy
The big mistake I do is to try and calm myself down. I just get even more wired and uncontrollable.
Instead, I try to utilise this burst of nervous energy to complete my housework.
You would be amazed at what I can do in this time. I’ll be scrubbing at my shower recess corners, pulling my fridge out to collect the dust bunnies, and even cleaning the pantry shelves!
Once the anxious episode is passed, I am so exhausted that I can finally relax and recuperate from the stress.
The above tactic always works for me, unless my Anxiety activates a depressed mood.
Stay Calm and Retreat
Sometimes I just feel really gloomy, scared, and vulnerable. All I want to do is get some space, go home, roll into a ball, and ride it out. This works for me but you must always remember to pick yourself up again. Have a tea, a long hot bath, slowly get back into the swing of things.
One technique I have perfected recently is to lie on the ground in starfish formation and stare at the ceiling. I find this also feels great on my back and posture as I am a serial sloucher. I also take the time to acknowledge my feelings in that moment. Sometimes I may even nod off. I guess this could be seen as a lazy man’s meditation. Either way, I feel amazing after this timeout.
Also make sure to tell your family if you need this time for yourself, and ask that they respect this. They should understand this and allow you the time you need to heal.
Anxiety is Ruling Your Thoughts
When my Anxiety is over active and my brain just won’t shutup, I find that distracting myself with a hobby or activity helps.
I tend to get extremely obsessed over something that I even forget to eat because I’m so engrossed.
Paint By Numbers
Lately I’ve been loving paint by numbers. I don’t mean the pathetic children ones where it says “Colour the Dinosaur!” and literally has 3 numbers. I’m talking the big guns, the magnifique artistic masterpieces!
Here is a photo of one I am currently painting. Not quite finished yet, but not far to go!
Some of the spaces are so incredibly small. I started this painting trying to stay exactly in the lines because my perfectionist demon within me wouldn’t allow me to do otherwise.
Surprisingly, over time I have ditched this method and now accept that if I paint outside the lines, you can’t actually tell. Thus turning this activity from a pressurised job into a creative expression.
Learning Song Lyrics
Another hobby of mine is to finally learn the lyrics to that one song I love but never bothered to learn. Whether it’s listening to it on repeat, stopping and starting as I write the lyrics down (who did this before internet?) or searching the lyrics online. You too can become an absolute star.
The best thing about this is the next time you come across this song, you can amaze your friends with your rapping skills like it was nothing. Cool party trick**, if I do say so myself.
**Note: does not guarantee coolness
Can’t Face the Day
You know those times you just cannot face the day. Not gonna happen. My inner adult has left the building. No coping here.
When you’re feeling like this, you can try what I said earlier and take a time out and curl up into a ball and ignore it all.
Or, you can try the simplest of things to change your perspective.
Step By Step
Start with something small, like opening your curtains and windows. Yes, you may curse the sun for shining so positively upon the world, but eventually the light will ease its way into your soul.
Spray some nice room spray, or perfume, or anything that is pleasing to your olfactory system. If you can’t spray anything without sneezing your head off, try something natural like essential oils, a nice candle, or even fresh flowers.
Turn the TV on to a generic channel. Something mundane like a cooking show, chat show, travel show – anything that can fill up the space with some background noise. I find I feel less alone when I can hear people talking about cross stitch and how to bake the perfect scone.
By now you should be opening up to the idea of facing the day.
Cook yourself something scrumptious, even if it involves a packet of noodles and a half eaten chocolate bar. You do you, ain’t nobody there to judge you.
The point in all of this is to act like your mother came over, saw you wasting the day in bed, and began opening up your space with light, sounds, smells – all the senses. It’s as if she is forcing your teenage self out of bed on Saturday morning and back into reality.
Coping In General
Over time, we all develop coping strategies to help us through stressful times. For someone with Anxiety, I will try nearly everything to manage it. The important thing is to try different ways, and to also not be so hard on yourself.
Need some time to relax and get through it? do it!
Want to run around rearranging your house during an Anxious energy burst? Do it!
Feel like you will breakdown unless you scream sing a heavy metal anthem? Do it! (Works best in a soundproof room with pillows and padded walls).
Letting go of emotion and stress is so important. Nobody can go their whole lives holding it in. It’s all about finding appropriate and helpful ways to do so.
If you would like to read more blogs about Anxiety, please Subscribe to receive email notifications whenever a new blog is posted.
Have a lovely day,