Throughout my life, I have constantly struggled with anxiety. I remember as a young child having to go to the nurse all the time due to panic attacks I would have in the classroom. Although my anxiety settled as I went into high school, I found myself having panic attacks again as I transitioned into my college life. When I began to open up to my friends and family about my anxiety, I discovered that there are so may people who feel the exact same way that I do. Therefore, here are some tactics that have helped me to be able to to control my anxiety, and I hope they can benefit anyone struggling with anxiety as well.
1. Focus on your breathing.
It is remarkable how much deep breathing can do for you. When suffering through an anxiety attack, everything you think of seems to be spiraling out of control. In my opinion, the last thing I wanted to do was focus on my breathing when it seems like the whole world was crashing down. But the second that I took a deep breath in and out, my anxiety seemed to slowly settle down. Not letting those anxious thoughts enter your mind for a few minutes makes all those big problems seem small. If you are looking for specific ways to focus on breathing, the app Pacifica has a lot of different breathing exercises that have helped me when I am feeling anxious.
2. Use essential oils.
The first time I used essential oils, my life was changed. For me, essential oils have been some of the most effective methods of stopping my anxiety attacks. The oils are a compounds extracted from plants, and once inhaled through a diffuser or rubbed on the skin, the chemicals interact with your body to calm your nerves and bring yourself down to a more relaxed state. They are not that expensive and can be found at regular convince stores. Personally my favorite oil that I have seen the most affect on lowering my anxiety is lavender oil.
3. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
In general, these two have been the hardest to do consistently. When stressed out with school work, or when hanging out with friends it can be easy for time to slip by and to not go to bed early and to forget to exercise. Yet, it is vital to remember how important your body is. When you do not get enough sleep and do not exercise, this can be a major trigger for anxiety attacks. Originally I thought that my anxiety and the amount of sleep and exercise I got were unrelated. Yet, I found that when I got seven hours or more of sleep, and exercised a little bit, I felt so much more awake and alert with less anxiety that day. The nights that you are forced to stay up late (because let's face it, in college there are a lot of those nights) you can catch up on the sleep you miss by taking a nap in the day. But if you are struggling with anxiety, it might be better for you to opt out of the all nighters.
4. Eat healthier foods.
This one can be another hard one to keep up as a college student. I know that the dining halls on my campus seem to provide a lot of foods that are typically not healthy for you. But I guarantee that every dining hall has to offer some sort of fruits and vegetables to students. Anxiety attacks can be provoked through spikes in blood sugar, which are seen when eating sugary, unhealthy food. By making the habit of going away from sugary foods and towards fruits and vegetables, this can stabilize your blood sugar to prevent the rises and dips that can provoke anxiety.
5. Let your anxiety out.
When you bottle anxiety inside, this can cause for the small thoughts to snowball into huge panic attacks. A way to prevent that snowballing effect is by letting it out. Know that there is nothing wrong with getting help. A great way to let your anxiety out is by talking to someone. All therapy sessions, through a college or through an outside therapy office are completely confidential. This takes a huge weight off of your shoulders after you talk to someone about your problems, and no one even has to know that you went.
For however you are feeling at this moment, know that you are not alone. There are so many kids out there who feel the same exact emotions that you are feeling. If you feel like you are in crisis mode, or know of anyone who is suffering here are some useful numbers.
National Sucicide prevention Hotline:
National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline:
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