Anxiety is really scary, and really indistinct. It seems like this big, vague thing with no clear cause, beginning, or solution. It makes you question constantly whether things you worry about are legitimate or fabricated by your own brain, and it’s hard to trust your own thoughts as a result.
What I have come to appreciate are tangible solutions. Advice that is more than “talk to someone” or “stop worrying”. Things that are easier to begin with than “change your thought pattern”, which although important, is a confusing and complicated process if you’re in the midst of anxiety.
There are lots of things you can do, from diet, to yoga, to exercise, to different ways of thinking about your disorder, that make it manageable. That make anxiety seem less vague and scary, and recovery seem possible. Here are my favourites from mym- they’re really just a few out of a whole bunch. Most of them are written by people with lived experience, which is awesome!
Note: There are a lot of articles here, and that can be intimidating. If you’re overwhelmed, start with the first one. Try it for a week. See if it works for you, and if it doesn’t, pick a new one. As you’re probably getting tired of hearing by now, different things work for different people. You’ll find what works for you. Another solution is, if possible, wait until you’re calm to comb through and decide what might be a good fit.
My mym Anxiety Reading List
Although it doesn’t say it directly, this blog describes a very basic “grounding” technique. Grounding techniques are meant to get you out of your mental worry spiral and “grounded” back into the present moment. This was the first one I learned, and I haven’t stopped using it since.
Yoga for Anxiety
In this blog, the writer discusses the benefits of yoga, and a specific exercise for combating anxiety. I’ve found it to be really helpful when I have trouble sleeping, or when I can feel myself beginning to panic.
Caffeine & Anxiety
I discovered the effect that caffeine has on anxiety very, very recently, and it has helped me enormously. I always thought it seemed kind of silly, but turns out it has a proven physiological effect. Of course caffeine doesn’t cause anxiety, but it does amplify it. Check out this great blog about the effects, and alternatives to your morning coffee:
Writing to Reduce Anxiety
I have found writing to be a great outlet- from journals, to sticky notes with positive reminders, to writing on my wrist, to writing public posts to share with others. Writing has been a big part of my life and recovery, and this woman has had similar experiences, and describes it really well:
Keeping Busy to Combat Anxiety
It seems counter-intuitive. If I have less things on the go, you’d think I’d have less to worry about. But I’ve found, and so has the author of this blog, that when you keep yourself busy and productive, there’s less time to sit and worry, and less chance your worry turns to panic. It’s also great to feel productive & useful. Check out her great tips:
This isn’t a problem for everyone with anxiety, but it is pretty common. Whether you have social anxiety, or are just generally worried about how anxiety might affect your social experiences, this is a really in depth and helpful blog. I particularly liked the “On Practice” section.
Noise Pollution Tips
Although this was written by someone with paranoia, noise pollution is a common problem for people with anxiety, too. The author goes through common anxieties she experiences in busy, noisy areas, and a list of great techniques she uses to combat them.
Fear of Discomfort
I usually don’t like blogs like this- they come off to me as victim-blamey or patronizing. However, this one has a list of small steps to begin approaching discomfort that I really liked.
The blog is for anything that causes “discomfort”- for me, that thing is situations where I feel vulnerable to anxiety, like going to a party or trying to help a friend. When you have anxiety, it’s really easy to start avoiding things for fear you’ll become anxious. This list, for me, was a good start to letting go of that fear in little steps.
(Cognitive) Anxiety management Techniques
These are some good tips that really focus on the “cognitive” aspect of anxiety. For example, breaking big tasks into small pieces, or visualizing a “stop” sign when you know your thoughts are starting to spiral.
Mindfulness is not a short term solution, and it’s not for everyone. But with practice, for many people, it can become extremely helpful for preventing worry from spiralling. Here’s a great intro:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my reading list, and that you’ve found something that works for you!
Remember that although these solutions are helpful, it’s important to seek/continue to receive professional help. Although I used and continue to use lots of these tips, it was therapy and medication that were crucial to my recovery.
Good luck, and remember that although recovery can be frustrating, it can and will get better.