3 Healthy and Inexpensive Ways to Cope with Anxiety
Anxiety has been a huge part of my life. As someone who suffers from social anxiety, I struggle with feelings of anxiousness on almost a daily basis. These feelings of anxiety are often accompanied stress, feeling overwhelmed, and occasionally depression.
After struggling with an anxiety disorder for years, I have learned some effective ways of coping with my anxiety. As a college student, I don’t really have the money to invest in therapy or medication,but I have found ways to cope with my anxiety that are both effective and inexpensive.
One of my favorite ways to cope with anxiety is to write in my journal. It is an effective way to vent your feelings out and let go of them at the same time.
Journaling will also help you get to know yourself better. Writing in your journal will help you learn more about your thought patterns and can even help you change negative ways of thinking.
What should you write in your journal? You should write about situations that make you feel anxious. You should also write about how you feel about these situations. You can rank how you are feeling on a scale from 1-10 if you find that helpful.
Writing down these things about your anxiety will help you identify why certain situations make you anxious and help you realize which patterns of thought trigger your anxiety.
If a journal sounds like too much work, check out Dr. Gazipura’s awareness log. It’s basically everything we’ve been talking about in one convenient place. It is a worksheet that makes it easy to describe situations that make you anxious and figure out your negative thought patterns in these situations. Keep in mind that this worksheet if for people who specifically have social anxiety, so it may not work as well for you as it has for me. But I think it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
While journaling, you can also give yourself positive self-talk in written form. This is a great way to reinforce positive feelings toward yourself.
For example, if I am having trouble accepting myself I might write something like “although I am not perfect, I completely accept myself. I know that I am worthy of acceptance and love.”
I find it easier to give myself positive self-talk in the form of writing because it is easier to grasp when I see it written down. After you finish writing our your positive self-talk, it would be even more helpful if you read it out loud to yourself.
For more about how journaling can help with anxiety, check out this helpful article on Psychology Today’s website.
Another way you can cope with anxiety is through meditation. I started practicing meditation a few months ago, and it has worked wonders for me.
It has helped me change the way I think and has helped me with some of the physical symptoms of my anxiety. For example, I often feel jittery or my heart will pound before entering a social situation, but if I meditate my jitters tend to disappear and my heart rate usually slows down.
Most of our anxiety is drawn from future worries. We are scared about the speech we are about to give or the plane we are about to board. Meditation helps us refocus our minds on the present moment, therefore relieving us of our anxious feelings.
Meditation helps us pull our attention away from our anxious thoughts and brings us back into the present.
3. Talking it Out
The best way to cope with anxiety is to simply talk it out with a close friend or family member. (If you are in lockdown, do it with a housemate or reach out virtually via Face Time or a virtual call.)
This has proven to be most effective in my life. When I am feeling overwhelmed I like to call or text friends that understand what I’m going through and will listen to me.
Talking to a close friend or family member is a lot like journaling, just with a person on the other end. The people closest to you are deeply about you and their words of encouragement are often all you need to get out of an anxiety funk.
Being vulnerable is a huge risk and is extremely scary. But making yourself vulnerable is often the biggest step towards relieving your anxiety. You have to be able to accept the way you feel before you are able to change it. Talking about your anxiety is arguably the best way to do this.
It is important to note that you should not be simply venting about your symptoms or how much anxiety sucks, you should be talking about the anxiety itself. Doing your best to flesh out why you might feel this way and what patterns of thinking are causing your anxiety.
Being open about your anxiety is terrifying, and it takes great courage. Remember that there is no reason to be ashamed of your anxiety, it does not define you as a person. You are so much more than your anxiety.
It’s time to have the courage to be vulnerable.