Anxiety – stuff that helps

Photo by Alex

Winter is looming over Melbourne and I can feel the lack of sunshine creeping into my brain. I’ve had anxiety all my life but I’ve only known that’s what it is for a couple of years. Some days it still feels like this unstoppable, uncontrollable thing.
I’m trying. I want to learn and practice and get better at managing it.
This week I asked Twitter for practical suggestions that might help. Twitter was very helpful. I wanted to write this all down in some kind of order, so I can refer back to it when I need to. I thought I’d put them here; in case they can help you too.
NB: I haven’t credited people because some people have locked accounts or DMed me 
and sometimes I mashed two people’s ideas together but you can view the original thread here.
Health
  • Find a good GP with knowledge of mental health.
  • Get a councillor you like.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Dance – letting lose can help relax and unlock all the muscles you’re tensing.
  • Yoga.
  • Really sweating, intense exercise.
  • Meditate.
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Saunas, massages.
  • Walks are good.
  • Baths are good.
  • Dogs are good.

Journaling
  • Write a daily journal.
  • Keep nice lists – achievements, things you’re proud of, kind words from others.
  • Make note of the things that make you happy, bring you peace or that you’re grateful for.
  • Physically write down what you’d say to a friend if they told you they were thinking this stuff.

Friends
  • Message nice pals – do it regularly, make sending little thoughts to people you love an integral part of your day.
  • Find a buddy you can bounce things off when you’re not doing great.
  • “Reality test” your thoughts – if you’re worried a friend is mad at you, check in with them.

Mindfulness
  • Do mindful exercises regularly –  practice them so they’re easier to remember when you’re not doing great.
  • Focus on your breath – use blocks of time (like commuting) to do simple breathing exercises.
  • Do something calming/mindful before bed like meditation or colouring in.

On the bad days
  • Practise your responses to difficult situations.
  • Try and be aware of how your body responds. Remember anxiety has physical symptoms too.
  • If you’re nervous, hold a macho pose – it’s dumb but apparently it actually helps.
  • Chew gum – it regulates your breathing without you having to think about it. 
  • Remind yourself you “don’t have to be perfect”.
  • Remind yourself what you do want to be (thoughtful, kind, accepting).

Twitter bots

Apps

Reading

If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year