I've struggled with an anxiety disorder for a few years now. I'm obviously no expert on how to overcome this, but I have tried many coping methods over the years. Although therapy and medication are obviously important, and this list won't help you deal with anxiety long term, these suggestions might help you deal with anxiety in the moment.
My go-to when I'm experiencing anxiety is doing my makeup. Straightening my hair or painting my nails has the same calming effect, but I've been focusing on makeup lately. Not only have I gotten better with eyeshadow, but the act of focusing on doing my makeup redirects my attention away from my anxiety.
Sometimes, I really don't want to drag myself to the gym — especially when I'm feeling particularly anxious. However, I know that 20-30 minutes on the elliptical or a few sets of squats will help ease my anxiety. Working out helps me keep from being consumed by anxiety, and it helps me be more productive in school.
3. Cut out caffeine
I know, I know. This is almost impossible for the majority of college students. Personally, I have caffeine withdrawals when I stop drinking soda and coffee regularly. However, I have noticed that if I'm already pretty anxious, having excessive amounts — or even small amounts — of caffeine just intensifies it. Cutting it out will help keep anxiety levels lower.
4. Keep a journal
A lot of the times, I don't know why I'm anxious in the first place. It comes out of nowhere and feels like there are no triggers. One thing that helps me figure out either where it came from or why I'm feeling it is writing about it. I don't keep a daily diary, but every now and then I'll start exploring what I'm feeling by writing about it, and it helps calm me down. It also sometimes helps me figure out what was wrong to begin with or what I need in order to feel better.
Whether it's a few minutes every day or every now and then, or if you go to a yoga class or practice in other ways, meditation can help ease anxiety. I regularly go to yoga to help calm my mind. There are apps you can download for free, books you can buy, and people who specialize in meditation who can help you find the best ways for you to mediate when anxiety spikes.
6. Be productive
One of my biggest issues with anxiety is that I will be too anxious to finish my school work, and then I'll wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious over not having finished my work. The solution is simple: be productive. I know it's hard sometimes, and even I can't follow this all the time. But I know I'll feel better once all my work is done. Sometimes, this means that I need to do my work at four in the morning when I wake up in a panic. That way, I know I can get a better night's sleep, which in turn actually helps with anxiety.
Having anxiety is a real pain. It affects all areas of my life, and some days I just feel like I really can't deal with it. If you feel the same way, know you're not alone. These are just a few steps to take in order to feel better. Try to find other methods that work for you, and make sure you always take the best possible care of yourself.