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Coping with Anxiety
We all feel anxious sometimes, but for many people, anxiety controls their lives. But there are ways you can manage your anxiety wherever you are.
Count backwards from 100 by threes or fours. Don't get caught up in being right, just focus on the simple math.
Go for a brisk walk around the block. Focus on the movement of your muscles and relax each one in turn.
Take a bath or a warm shower and let your anxiety wash away. Use products with relaxing scents.
Play a sport you enjoy. Shoot some hoops or get out your tennis racket and give yourself permission to have fun.
Listen to your favourite soundtrack, musician or song. Close your eyes and sing along.
Read a book. An old favourite is a great option so if you tune out for a moment, you'll still know what is happening.
Get out your art supplies and draw or paint something. In class, doodle on the side of your notes.
If you're in school, talk to your teacher and tell them about your anxiety. If you need a break, ask to use the washroom to take a breather.
Watch a movie or TV show you love. Make some popcorn and relax with a friend or alone.
Try to be positive. Remember that you've felt anxious before and you've always made it through.
Play simple word games. Spell backwards, count the letters in a word or write everything in cursive with your mind.
Focus on your body, on the boundary of your skin, your clothes and whatever object is supporting you.
Listen to the sounds around you. Whether it's birds, traffic or people talking, focus on the sounds, not their meaning.
Imagine yourself as a rag doll and let your muscles go loose and limp. If parts of you tense up, remind yourself to relax.
Make a list of the things you've done towards your goals (especially small ones). You're farther along than you think.
Create a secret signal with your teacher to tell them you need a break. Have them give you an excuse to leave.
Give your anxiety a rank. Think about your anxiety in terms of how often it is intense rather than how often it happens.
Recite the alphabet while visualizing the letters and their shapes. Outline them if you need more time.
Make time for worrying for 30 minutes a day. Worry only during this time and try to put off fears until then.
Think about how others impact you. Who escalates the problem and who makes you feel better?
Be mindful by focusing on now. Don't get caught up in worrying about tomorrow if there's nothing you can do.
Take time out to meditate or practice yoga. Focus on the deliberate movement of your body and your breathing.
Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. For many, anxiety can be provoked by these substances.
Try to laugh off your worries. Even if it doesn't fully work, the laughter may help you.
Identify your triggers. If test taking makes you anxious, see if there's anything you can do to minimize the stress.
Download an app (like Panic Attack Dude) to help you manage your anxiety no matter where you are.
Write down things that make you anxious. Your brain forgets easier if it knows those stresses are logged somewhere.
Don't Google your anxiety symptoms. Anxiety mimics many other diseases. It's much better to talk to a doctor.
Write on your palm using your fingertip. Focus on the sensation and use it to ground yourself.
Keep busy whenever possible. If you have too much time to think quietly, it can make your anxiety worse.
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the wellness section on our website next month to see the set posted in full.