13 Ways To De-stress When You're Anxious

13 Ways To De-stress When You're Anxious

How to calm your mind and body in times of stress.

Mental illnesses are often overlooked and misunderstood, yet they heavily affect millions of people across the globe. Anxiety is one of the most prevalent of these illnesses – 40 million Americans, or about 18 percent of the population, suffer from this disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Even if one does not have anxiety disorder, the American Psychological Association reported that about 80 percent of Americans said they have at least one experience of extreme stress each year.

As someone who has anxiety, I have always struggled with finding ways to calm down. When having panic attacks or moments of heavy anxiety, I can never think of anything else except the topic that is giving me stress. After the more extreme episodes, I'm still shaken by anxious thoughts and cannot de-stress and make my mind go elsewhere. Then, I started searching because I know that my anxiety won't go away but I know I can try and soothe my mind. Below are ways to de-stress when you're anxious or need to be calm; some I use myself and some work well for others.


ASMR, an acronym for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, refers to the tingling someone can receive from listening to stimulating audio or visual feeds. It can feel like a shiver up your spine or static in your ears and minds and does a great way of making you calm. ASMR is even known to help people go to sleep at night if you listen to it. YouTube is full of "ASMRtists" who have various types of videos from whispering to tapping to role plays (for example: hair salon or doctor's office role play).

2. Nature walks

Sometimes submerging yourself in nature and all it has to offer is the best (and free) way to relax and be able to breathe easily. Go to a location that has always interested you and let the views, sounds, and atmosphere encompass you.

3. Breathing methods

Anxiety directly taps into physiological actions and not only can it make your mind a jumbled mess, but also cause breathing problems, nausea, and other pains. If you can control your breathing, it might be the first step to feeling better physically.

4. Pet a cat (or any animal)

In 2011, the Mental Health Foundation reported that over 85 percent of cat owners find that their cats have a positive impact and also make their everyday lives better. A cat's purr is known to help de-stress and make one drift away from their anxiety. If you have a pet, go find them and have fun. If not, go to a shelter or find a friend that has one. Animals are the best.

5. Buy something that makes you happy

Buy anything that makes your anxiety lessen. Whether it be a plant or something that directly taps into the state of your mental health or items that you just want. It's found that distracting yourself in things that make you happy will gradually decrease stress levels.

6. Starting DIYing

Focusing on projects or different types of crafting can distract you from your anxiety. Not only are you calming your mind but also getting awesome decor, too!

7. Express your emotions

By writing, drawing, doodling, singing, or expressing yourself in any other way, you can relieve any stress. It helps you stray away from anxiousness and gives one a medium to show how they're feeling at the moment, and possibly how to act on it in the future.

8. Take a bath, not a shower

Showers are places where most people do heavy thinking. This often can stir up stressful thoughts and make it an overall negative atmosphere. If you take a bath, you can relax, enjoy the bubbles/bath bombs, and be surrounded by comfort.

9. Give your nose a treat

Comforting smells can relax the mind and body. If you have any essential oils, incense, or candles at home, you can light one and distract your stress with a wonderful smell. If not, I recommend going to a candle store, or somewhere like Lush, that has an amazing aroma (and think about buying something with a scent you love).

10. Find a new hobby

Doing something new requires extra focus! And that's just the treatment for stress – by keeping your mind on learning the new hobby, you drift away from any negative thoughts.

11. Search for Spotify playlists

Look into some relaxing music that can soothe your soul. Playlists on Spotify like "chill.out.brain" can have a great effect in helping you with any anxious thoughts. You can always think of music that helps you and curate your own playlist, too!

12. Get a massage

Sometimes doing the actions listed above isn't enough to destress. In that case, get a massage! By pampering your body it can directly affect any negative thoughts you may have. Massages can remove any of the bad feelings in your back/body and lead to full relaxation or sleep.

13. Talk to Someone

In all seriousness, self "remedies" might help, but they almost might not. Talking to someone whether it be a relative, friend, or professional can help you get on the right track to better your mind and body. Remember, this is not your fault and you have people that love you no matter what. It's okay to be nervous, but don't be afraid to seek help
Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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4 Ways To Cope With Stress And Anxiety

Is the destruction of your well-being worth it for that 4.0 GPA?

It’s really easy to start a new semester with high hopes and expectations, excited for what’s to come. But, it's also really easy to slowly start to spiral downward from the heavy stress that classes, work and extracurricular activities can impose. It’s important to take the time to clock out of the things that bring stress and do what betters your emotional health. Here are four strategies you can implement during moments of excruciating stress or panic.

1. Have An Object To "Re-Focus" Yourself

Moments of panic are usually unexpected and can’t be solved by doing a relaxing face mask in the middle of class. Carrying small things in your backpack like Play-Doh, squishy balls and even pens are great tools to help you concentrate and re-focus on what you were previously doing. Things such as fidget spinners occupy a part of your brain that can provide relief from all the negative thoughts or feelings you may have. Having one is incredibly beneficial and can help you self-regulate. Also, Play-Doh is such a fun thing to distract yourself with and there are endless possibilities to what you can make with it, so you’ll never get bored.

2. Set Up A Nighttime Routine

Nighttime routines help you settle into a familiar pattern. Whether it's brushing your teeth, moisturizing, watching YouTube videos or drinking tea, establishing a routine when you’re feeling stressed will help you wind down into a familiar pattern. If you find yourself overloaded with stress while studying or working on projects, transitioning into your nighttime routine can help settle you down. One thing that’s nice to incorporate is a time before bed where you can shut down completely. Jumping right from the stresses of class websites and e-mails on your laptop to your bed isn’t an ideal thing to do. You carry the stress of what you were just looking at into a place that’s supposed to help your mind ease into rest. You don’t really want to be up for 45 minutes thinking about the essay you should’ve finished when you could be sleeping.

3. Find A Thing That Helps You Escape The Negativity

Painting, drawing, writing, journaling and creating are all things that alleviate your stress and anxiety. While journaling may not be everyone’s favorite thing, writing down all your feelings and allowing your journal to become an outlet through which you can express emotion is incredibly beneficial. Painting and drawing ideally do the same thing, but in a more visually appealing way. People start painting with one intention and then end up totally derailing from that idea, painting something that might express how they feel within themselves. Alternatively, you can just furiously scribble for the heck of it.

4. If It Feels Like Too Much, Ask For Help

Finally, if you feel like your stress is a heavyweight in your life, look into all the resources your college has to offer regarding stress and anxiety. Your stress shouldn’t be taking over your life and causing you problems within relationships and in classes. The health professionals at your school are more than willing to work with you and find a long-term solution to the stress or anxiety you have.

Obviously, a little stress is normal when you’re a student. But too much stress can inhibit you and is unhealthy. Get help if you need it and try out these methods to reduce your daily stress levels. You will thank yourself in the long-run.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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Putting The Fun Back In Funeral: Instructions For My Inevitable Death

Death sucks. Let's make mine suck less.

In the past two years, I've been surrounded by a lot of death and illness in general. My grandmother died, my father has been in and out of the hospital and my great uncle just passed. After attending my grandma's funeral, I remembered just how terrible funerals are. Not just for the expected reasons, like the fact that your loved one is dead, never coming back, and oh God, you never got to say a real goodbye, why is life so cruel. But I digress. Funerals are dull.

I know that's kind of the point, but why can't we celebrate the lives of our loved ones instead of crying about their deaths? Why is everyone wearing all black when it's the middle of summer and 98 degrees out? Why do people have to look at a dead body sitting in an expensive box that's about to be put in the ground? (Seriously, though, caskets are so expensive like, I'm pretty my uncle's casket cost more than my tuition.)

I want to make sure my death and funeral turn out as amazing as I was. Call it cliché, but I've been planning my funeral since I was a little girl. Listed below are instructions for mourning, things I want done to my body and some soft plans for my funeral.

Step One: How To Properly Mourn Becca Twiggs

I will allow one week for tears. Then get back out there and have some fun. Take whatever money I had in my bank account (which is probably not much, let's be honest) and go on a trip. If you really want to go all out, freeze my body as soon as I die so you can take me on the trip. Reenact "Weekend At Bernie's" if you want. Or find something else fun to do.

Here's an idea:

Did you know that if your loved one dies at Disney World, you can get free passes for life? I'm not saying you should do this, but you could probably find a way to sneak my body on park then re-stage my death. Just a thought.

As far as my possessions go, everything is up for grabs. I have a plethora of costumes, masks, stuffed animals, doodles, none of which are worth anything. So just take what you want.

Step Two: What To Do with The Body

DON'T BURY ME. I REPEAT: DO NOT BURY ME. The ground is for worms and sticks, not Twiggs. If I somehow end up in the ground I will come back as a zombie and kill everyone involved in that decision.

Hopefully you can find a taxidermy place that will do humans. If not, I'll settle for being cremated. My soul is most likely going to burn in hell, so my body might as well follow suit.

And think of all the fun places you can sprinkle my ashes!

Some examples:

  • Haunted Mansion at Disney World (see Step One for instructions on how to get free passes)
  • Any of my previous places of employment
  • On a plate of brownies (say the brownies were made from an old recipe of mine and that I really put my blood, sweat and tears into it)
  • Wal-Mart

Feel free to add to the list. Dead me is very flexible.

Step Three: The Funeral

No black. I want fun, bright colors. And glitter. So much glitter. When people arrive at this funeral, I want them to immediately be overwhelmed with joy. This is about celebrating my life. So far, the song list consists of "Another One Bites The Dust" and "Highway to Hell." Feel free to add to the list. Hopefully there will be karaoke.

If so inclined, all my friends can say that they were my lover in order to freak out some relatives. As stated before, caskets are too expensive. Since I will not be buried, take the money that would have been spent on a casket and get an open bar. Make sure there's good food. And an ice cream cake.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Overall, I would say that these are all reasonable requests. And if no one follows these instructions, I'll just come back and haunt all of you.

Now that I've wasted an entire morning on this, I'm going to try and be productive. My mom suggested that I could "learn how to process my emotions" instead of "making everything a joke all the time." We'll see how that works out.

Cover Image Credit: Wiki / Disney / Sleeping Beauty

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