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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Being a people pleaser runs in my family. My mom and I talk about this weakness of ours all the time, especially when we are both worn out from saying "yes" too much.

When it comes to academics, I always go above and beyond to ensure I did everything correctly in order to please the professor or teacher. If there's ever an instance where I feel as if I can't meet or complete a task, my anxiety takes over and out comes a handy-dandy panic attack. Typically, this ends with tears rolling down my cheeks, a headache, and someone telling me to worry about myself and to not stress if it's hurting me too much (if they see me panicking, that is).

Me going to check off "handy-dandy panic attack" in my handy-dandy notebook after a long day.

As a high schooler, the game of saying "yes" was easy and somewhat manageable. In college, however, that game has changed, and it has changed drastically. There was something about non-stop work that was added in… not a fan.

I don't know why saying "yes" has always been instilled in me, but I cannot think of a time when I was not constantly saying "yes" to others. The moments you will always catch me saying "yes" are moments when it comes to helping someone. Sometimes I interject myself because I feel guilty if I don't offer the help.

Of course, there are instances when I truly mean the offer I give, but then there are other moments when I highly regret asking. There have been plenty of times where I have gotten myself into too many outings at once and my extroverted-introverted self becomes beyond angry with myself.

If I say "no" to someone, there's this sense of guilt that hangs over my head for at least a week and it doesn't go away.

While I enjoy making others happy in (almost) any way possible, I believe it is time for me to start saying "no." This does not mean I will be saying "no" to every single thing someone asks me to do, but rather, I'll take a second to think about how much time and energy will have to go into the whole situation before diving in headfirst.

My new slogan will be "Just say no… sometimes."

Instead of stressing over every detail of an assignment for class, I'll stress over the major details rather than the microscopic ones. Before I interject myself into a situation, I will take a moment and think about whether my help is even necessary or wanted. This will be no easy task, especially for this anxiety-ridden people pleaser, but I am going to do the best I can. The over-achiever in me needs to sit down, take a chill pill, and over-achieve in the category of saying "no."

For those who also say "yes" way too much: breathe. The world will be okay without our help, even if it feels like it won't.

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