Anxiety is a silent, invisible condition that often shows little outward symptoms. You may appear fine to others while on the inside, you are struggling to keep it all together. Because it is so hard to explain to those who’ve never experienced it, people are quick to blame your symptoms on something else, instead of acknowledging that anxiety is a real, life altering ailment.
How to Cope When Anxiety Threatens to Overwhelm You
I am going to get very personal here. Many people do not know that I have dealt with anxiety since the birth of my children. I have kept it very private. I have episodes where it is difficult to breathe, and a weight settles on my chest. I struggle with being in social situations, and would rather hide from the world if I could. Some days are worse than others. It is physically and emotionally draining. Medication has helped quite a bit, but I still have days when I feel the effects of anxiety.
Anxiety is not something you can just will out of your life. Believe me, I’ve tried. It comes and goes as it pleases and you have no control over when it decides to show up. If you are experiencing anxiety, I urge you to discuss it with your doctor. There are many medications that can help you control those anxious feelings. Unfortunately, there will still be days that you struggle. I would like to share with you how to cope when anxiety threatens to overwhelm you. I have found these techniques helpful on those hard days, and I hope you do too.
When dealing with anxiety, it is easy to stay closed off and keep how you are feeling inside. I’ve tried that, and it will only get worse if you don’t discuss your emotion state with someone. Find someone you can be open and honest with. Ask them to be your support; to talk with you regularly, pray with you and for you. Talking it through and knowing you’ve got someone in your corner encouraging you can be helpful.
When those anxious thoughts become overwhelming, stop what you are doing, find a quiet place, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Taking just a couple of minutes to do this exercise can help calm you, and if needed, do this several times a day. I use my Fitbit to take relaxing breaths, and I find it very helpful, especially on days that are more stressful. If you don’t have a Fitbit, set a timer for 2 minutes, find a comfortable place to sit and just breathe.
Find Calming Activities
I love music, so it’s a natural outlet for dealing with anxiety. YouTube has music especially designed for anxiety relief that I use often. I’ve also created a playlist of my favorite worship songs that calm me. Coloring in the adult coloring books, writing, taking a walk, and reading a good book are other relaxing activities that I enjoy. Doing things that you love can help ease those exhausting anxious feelings.
Write Out Your Feelings
Keeping my thoughts written down in a journal has been very helpful in dealing with anxiety. I can freely express how I’m feeling, and getting those thoughts out is therapeutic for me. I also like to write down what I’m thankful for, to help me realign my perspective on the positive things in my life. I recently came across the idea of keeping track of my moods in a bullet journal. You label each day of the month with how you are feeling that day: happy, angry, sad, tired, worried/anxious. This is a great way to determine how many days you are feeling anxious, and you may discover some triggers that you can try to avoid.
Rely On God
Lastly, and most importantly, I’ve learned to let go of the things I cannot control, and put them in God’s hands. I do not have all the answers, but I know the One who does. When I’m feeling anxious, I pray, and I read my Bible. I find those scriptures that encourage me, and I repeat them over and over until I get the peace and the answers I need. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Psalm 91:1(AMPC) – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (whose power no foe can withstand)
Philippians 4:6-8 (AMPC) – Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
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If you are dealing with anxiety, you are NOT alone. Please feel free to connect with me below, by email, or on social media. We are in this together!
And if you have any other tips to help those of us dealing with this condition, please share them in the comments!
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