When Your Mind Will Not Slow Down, Here Are 10 Ways To Handle Your Anxiety

When Your Mind Will Not Slow Down, Here Are 10 Ways To Handle Your Anxiety

No two people are the same, but hopefully one of these will work for you.

In our fast-paced world, we are constantly pressured to do better. To be better. No matter what we do, it is never enough. We are expected to be perfect, to stretch ourselves past our limits, and to never complain. We are not supposed to break.

But sometimes, we do break.

It is OK. It happens to all of us, I promise, and you are not alone.

Coupled with other stressors in our lives and a chemical imbalance in our brains, mental illnesses are more common than not for our generation. Anxiety is ever-present in our lives, and it is nearly impossible to ease the feelings that can be quite debilitating.

There are a lot of ways to cope with anxiety and to make managing it easier. No two people are the same, and these might not work for you, but I urge you to give any one of these a try.

1. Shift your focus

Imagining something ridiculous or bizarre can get your mind off the things bothering you.

2. Lay off the caffeine

Many of us live with a metaphorical caffeine drip attached to our arms, but sometimes that extra buzz feeds your anxiety.

3. Create a music playlist specific to your mood

This can take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, and you can come back to it next time you are feeling that way.

4. Meditate

I am not talking about crossing your legs, floating off the ground, and humming. Deep breathing exercises relax your body. In and out. Find your center and refocus your energy.

5. Visualize your anxiety

This goes hand in hand with breathing exercises. Visualize your anxiety tightly wound into a ball. With every breath, watch it slowly grow smaller and smaller.

6. Write it down

Even if you do not understand what you are feeling, write your thoughts down as you go. Write them in a journal, on a napkin, on your phone. Lock them away, reflect later, or rip the page to shreds. Writing can be incredibly therapeutic.

7. Go on a drive

Drive to the outskirts of town or even around your block. Put all your energy into the task at hand.

8. Walk away

Sometimes, it is best to leave whatever it is you are doing and revisit it later. Go for a walk, watch a movie, make your favorite meal, take a bath, hang out with friends. Do something you enjoy, something that will give you a little control when you are feeling helpless.

9. Be with your people

I know other people can be overwhelming when you are already feeling anxious, but surrounding yourself with friends or family — whoever it is that makes you feel safe — can calm you down immensely. Just be with the people who make you feel home.

10. See a therapist

There is no shame in asking for help. Therapy can be transformative, even for people not struggling with mental illnesses. It is not for everyone, but it is certainly worth trying. It could change your life forever.

Living with a mental illness is hard, one of the hardest things a person will ever face, and many of us do it every single day. Every person is unique, and what works for some will not work for others. I hope one of these helps you out, in one way or another.

If you take anything away from this, make it this:

You are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: Mallorie Jordan

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Well, Here I Am Again Writing An Article At 2 AM Because My Anxiety Is Not Letting Me Sleep

My anxious thoughts late at night are horrible.


Life is crazy and rough and sometimes sucks. My anxiety has been at its worst this semester, and if I'm being honest - it's driving me insane. I have lost sleep because of it. I have missed classes because of it. I have skipped out on being around friends because of it. The last one is the one that always confuses me, though. I'm at my happiest when I'm around people. I love it, but lately, there have been multiple days where I would rather curl up in a ball and cry.

I struggle to breathe. I struggle to keep up with life. I have all of these thoughts racing through my head. One after the other, trying to see which one will be victorious. However, all of them are victorious because they all have me wide awake. I haven't had a decent night of sleep in a while. At this point, I could probably say its been almost a year since I slept well.

It's yet another night. 2 a.m. and I'm wide awake, crippling with thoughts I want out of my head.

It's constant. It never really stops. I can hear it early in the morning, as I eat my lunch when I'm walking to class, and especially late at night. Right now, the thought screaming the loudest is "No one likes you. That's why you're here and not there." I know it's not true.

My anxious thoughts late at night are horrible. I hate them. They irritate me. They keep me up all hours of the night. I toss and turn for hours on end wishing for all of these anxious thoughts to end. I think about things from years ago. I think about things from yesterday. These things never seem to end.

My anxiety has been horrible lately. I haven't been able to get a proper night's sleep in months. I've averaged 3-4 hours a night. I hate it. My mind won't turn off. The racing thoughts never seem to end. I am sick of it. I want to get out of this, but I just can't. Why is this happening?

I have not been able to breathe properly in weeks. I have to physically stop, breathe in deeply, and practically yawn to catch my breath. Why? Why is this happening? I hate it. I'm so stressed from life. This needs to stop.

My body is weak. My mind is no longer concentrating. I want to run away from all of this, but I know that is not how I should handle it. This needs to end. My days can no longer be filled with hopes of a class being canceled or pretending like it is so I don't have to go.

Anxiety has overtaken my life, and I am sick of it. I am ready for it to leave. It won't though. It will continue to reside in my body. I hate it. I can't breathe. I want to cry, but I just can't. I'm sick of this. Anxiety can f*ck off because it has no business taking control of my life.

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