I found out I had anxiety while I was in my first year of college. It had been there since high school but I wasn’t aware what it was. My grades were dropping and everyone from teachers to my parents couldn’t understand why. There were other changes too like being moody, and the inability to complete tasks due to the crippling fear that I would fail. I remember feeling overwhelmed and out of control but I just couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was while in college that I read an online article about anxiety. The writer’s experiences were very similar to mine. And that’s how I discovered that all that fear, worry and the need for perfection could all be summed up in one word, anxiety. Never the less there are a few things I wish I knew back in high school when it all began.
1. Sleep and exercise make a big difference.
In my second year of college, I took up jogging with a couple of friends five times a week. All of a sudden I noticed that I was less moody, more energetic, confident and less prone to making anxiety fueled decisions. Sleep is also important. It allows the brain time to rest adequately and when you wake up, you feel more refreshed, happier and clear-headed.
2. You are not alone.
One in 10 people will experience intense anxiety over the course of our lives. This little fact has encouraged me during the times when I felt misunderstood by family or friends. The internet has proved to be helpful. It allows me to read other people’s experiences and learn from them. This minimizes the loneliness that can sometimes accompany anxiety.
3. Only you can manage your stress.
Based on my knowledge no one can control your concern for you. I used to rely on friends and my boyfriend to take my mind off anxiety. But that just made me dependent on them. I learned that dealing with the issues causing anxiety head on instead of procrastinating really helped. When I relied on myself I became more confident and competent enough to deal with it.
4. Most fears are irrational.
There have been moments in my life that I thought that my world was crumbling and that it would never get better. But things did get better and the things I feared most rarely came to pass. When I eventually conquered those anxious thoughts, I felt more confident to deal with any future fears.
5. Practice mindfulness, it helps.
Being mindful helps keep us grounded to the present. Practice shifting your mind back to the present whenever anxious thoughts about the future appear. Tell yourself that you cannot control the destiny, but the gift is in your hands. Work on changing the present. Anxiety comes in many forms. Each person has their own experience,
however, the means to deal with it are more or less the same. It’s not all doom and gloom, many people have found a way to deal with it and had successful lives while at it.