Thinking Out Loud

Thinking Out Loud

My thoughts on anxiety and coping strategies that actually work
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There were times when my thoughts wouldn't stop. My worrying would go on and on, leaving me with nothing else to do. I felt alone like I was being hurt by a person no one else could see.

My constant worrying and repetitive thoughts caused me to lose my self-confidence: I was anxious about everything and believed that I would never be able to control it.

And the worst part about anxiety is that there is no physical evidence to suggest harm done. No change in appearance...no way of looking at someone and knowing exactly what they are going through.



Truthfully, it can be difficult to acknowledge something as unstable as anxiety, especially when you live in a world where everyone expects you to keep it together 24/7. Personally, for me, it can seem frightening at first, especially when you don't understand everything completely. However, with motivation and the right support system, it is possible to find coping strategies.

Natural home remedies, meditation, and even eating the right foods can do wonders for limiting your anxiety as well as boosting your own confidence and well-being.

Below are a few suggestions to help you get started.

1. Drink Tea

As a college student, my go-to in the mornings and on campus had always been coffee. However, I quickly learned that the caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and additives found in coffee were the main cause of my panic attacks and made the anxiety even worse.

A few symptoms included: increased heart palpitation, shortness of breath, fatigue, racing and unwanted thoughts.

The solution: If you are going to continue to drink coffee, limit your intake and stick to either making your own coffee at home or purchasing black coffee instead. This allows for you to add your own cream and sugar, instead of ordering a fancy drink with unnecessary additives that may simply worsen your anxiety.

Bonus: Drinking water with lemon is always a good way to start off your morning. Not only does it wake up your mind and body, but it's also really healthy.

2. Exercise

Now, if you're like me, where exercise isn't a part of your daily routine, don't worry there are still simple and effective ways of getting the perfect workout tailored to your preference.

While talking with my classmates and friends around campus, I learned that exercise really is the best way to clear your mind and stay fit. However, the question still remains...how do you convince someone to exercise when they have little to no interest in it at all?

The solution: You don't have to go to the gym to get the right exercise, some of the best workouts are done in the comfort of your own home. Still having trouble? Try getting some friends together to "hang out" while also taking a walk, run, or even doing some simple stretches.

My personal favorites include walking the dog and dancing around the house while listening to Lady Gaga. The trick is finding out what you love, and getting a move on!

3. Stay Organized

This is probably the most important thing you can do especially as a college student. The majority of time spent in a classroom, working on assignments, balancing work, family, and friends is stressful enough as it is. Once you begin to organize your weekly or daily schedule, you will experience less stress over everyday things and focus your energy on something else.

The solution: Planners, monthly calendars, sticky notes, and even reminders set on your phone is a step in the right direction. Also, writing anything down, especially important test dates or events forces you to organize your thoughts into one task at a time. I found that doing this allowed me to concentrate more and stay focused. Many of my friends found that keeping a journal was a good way to voice your frustrations and concerns. It can be overwhelming carrying those stress-thoughts around, so write it out.

4. Sleep


Whether you stayed up late writing a paper at the last minute or watched Saturday Night Live till 2:00 a.m, sleep should still be your main priority.

Even logging on to social media for half an hour or texting a friend takes your mind and body off of sleep and causes even more stress. This is due to the fact that you are basically forcing yourself to work or think when your mind and body have already checked out for the night.

The solution: If you forgot about an assignment or pushed it off till the last minute, try breaking up the work. This way, you will give yourself more time to focus instead of attempting to complete a project in one night. The same goes for watching late night television, instead of binge watching one season of Gilmore Girls, limit the episodes you watch. Every once and awhile, I am guilty of watching various episodes in one sitting but doing this all the time is not recommended. Stick to one or two episodes if you can, not only will you get more sleep but you will also have more episodes to look forward to. And with winter break approaching, there's no better time to catch up on all your favorite movies and shows without sacrificing your sleep.

Bonus: If you are still experiencing nights where you can't sleep because your mind won't "turn off" try listening to some classical or calm music. I use an app called, Relax Melodies which can be downloaded for free via the iTunes App Store

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/relax-melodies-sleep-zen-sounds/id314498713?mt=8



(Image found via Google Play).


And If you are still wondering about whether anxiety is real or even experiencing doubt about your own anxiety, I highly recommend clicking the link below.

Last December, BuzzFeed Yellow uploaded a video consisting of various illustrations and drawings of what anxiety feels like for different people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzfnyNV1XI0



Liked the article? Please share it on social media.

Do you have any advice for people with anxiety or questions of your own?

Comment below.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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13 Songs That Help Me Through My Panic Attacks

It's easy to become paralyzed by panic attacks, but I've found music to be the best tool to help me cope.

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Anyone who struggles with panic attacks knows just how draining and overwhelming they are. It's easy to become paralyzed by them, and once I noticed this, I made a playlist of songs that calm me down. I find that music keeps me grounded, no matter how bad the panic attack may be. Maybe the songs I have listed aren't for you. but I hope that in sharing my main songs that help me, it can spark your brain into finding songs that fit your needs during panic attacks.

In case you don't know some of the songs I have listed, I put a link to each song from YouTube. I hope you enjoy my interesting variety of music!

1. "Weightless" by Marconi Union

Go here to listen.

This song is my go-to song for panic attacks, especially if it's a bad one. For me personally, my heart rate spikes during panic attacks (I'll go from a resting heart rate of around 70bpm to anywhere between 180-200bpm). Evidence suggests this song can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety and let me tell you... it works 100% for me and I highly recommend it.

2. "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Go here to listen.

I've just always loved this song. There's something about Freddie Mercury's voice that just calms me down and makes me feel like I'm not alone at that moment.

3. "Let it Be" by The Beatles

Go here to listen.

I grew up listening to The Beatles since my mom is from Liverpool, and "Let it Be" is a song that I always associate peace and good memories with. Also, I love the lyric, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary calls to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." It reminds me that there are things about me and this world that I simply cannot change, but I can find peace by letting it be.

4. "Lost in a Sea of Pillows and Blankets" by .anxious.

Go here to listen.

Go here for the full album.

I find this song, and really the whole album, to be extremely soothing. It literally feels like the comfort of pillows and blankets but in the form of music.

5. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Go here to listen.

I love this song for many reasons during a panic attack. One, it reminds me that there are other people that have felt or are feeling what I am currently. Two, it reminds me that I have a purpose on this earth, and I am not a waste of space. Three, I just love the awareness it brings to mental illnesses.

6. "Up and Up" cover by Lennon & Maisy (originally by Coldplay)

Go here to listen to the cover.

Go here to listen to the original.

"We're gonna get it, get it together somehow." This main lyric reminds me that I can conquer this moment, and the only direction from this moment is up. Also, Lennon and Maisy's voices are mesmerizing. The Coldplay original is amazing too, I put both for you to check out!

7. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes

Go here to listen.

I remember the first time I listened to this; I was actually on the brink of a panic attack. I heard the first lyric, "Help me, it feels like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't. It isn't in my blood." Every lyric in here, which was beautifully written by the way, describes how it feels having a panic attack and having anxiety in general. It reminds me that no matter what, I can make my way out of it. I can win the fight.

8. "Free Spirit" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Khalid's new album "Free Spirit" came out on April 5, 2019, and I am actually obsessed with it. I find myself immediately playing this album when I open my Spotify. When it comes to the song "Free Spirit," the music is enchanting to me; something about it just immediately calms me down. Not to mention that Khalid's voice is absolutely beautiful. Also, I just love the concept of being a free spirit. Not being tied down by mental illnesses or fear, and having this sort of euphoric peace.

9. "Intro" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Once again, absolutely mesmerizing. I honestly feel like I'm taken to another world with this song. Something about the music just makes my brain feel so happy, peaceful, and calm. As for the lyrics, they remind me that I need to find my worth and put me first. Sometimes, I put so much of my emotional energy into other people that I have none left for me. I need to keep some of it for me though, because I know that I have worth, but I can never see it, so I need this emotional energy to be able to put myself first and love myself.

10. "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part, Angele Dubeau, La Pieta

Go here to listen.

Not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for classical music. There's something about this song in particular that I feel like really captures the feelings of depression and detachment that I experience during a panic attack. It's just another reminder that I'm not alone in this.

11. "Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15" by Frederic Chopin

Go here to listen.

Sorry, another classical piece... I just really love it. I feel like it shows the feelings before, during, and after a panic attack. Once again, it's a reminder that I'm not alone.

12. "Cello Suite No.1 in G-Major, Prelude" cover by Yo-Yo Ma (originally by Bach)

Go here to listen.

Last one, I swear! There's just something about this piece that makes me feel so calm and at peace... I don't know how to describe it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel like there's hope of conquering my panic attack.

13. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Go here to listen.

First, Lauren Daigle is simply amazing. This song in particular, though, reminds me that Jesus is always by my side, and he will never give up on me. He sees me in my trials, and he's fighting this fight with me. It gives me a lot of hope that someday I might not have to deal with these struggles.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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