How anxiety can be your best friend: 5 basic tricks to deal with anxiety

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My final year of college started a few weeks ago. The last year to prove myself. It’s the year in which I’ll have to prove that I am worthy of graduating through doing one final test. Which is an internship. Doing it all by yourself. Showing your teachers that you have learned how to run such a project and apply the skills you learned. Starting a new year of college normally brings a bit of stress and anxiety, but not too much, luckily. Yet this time it was different. On the first day, I completely broke down. It was so overwhelming. Doing a project all by yourself that you were trained to do in a team. It’s a big difference. I was so overwhelmed that I sat in front of my computer and just started crying. Putting my head down on the table. “How could I do this?” “I don’t know what to do.” “Will I be able to graduate?” These where all thoughts running through my head. Constantly trying to make me quit.

But I knew that this just wasn’t true. This couldn’t be. I just started. How could I know that I wouldn’t be able to make it? I didn’t, I couldn’t. It was all a trick played on your mind. This is what anxiety does to you. Constantly harassing you with thoughts of what could go wrong, so vivid, so vibrant that you start to believe them. Your heartbeat is raised and you can start to panic. Nothing seems to come out of your mind that works and you completely freeze at the moment. Unable to come up with a solution. This example of me a few weeks ago is just one example of how anxiety can harass you. It doesn’t have to be about anything, in particular, it could also be at a random moment. Somewhere in the street and suddenly you feel stressed, rushed, a sense of urgency and anxiety. You don’t know what do to, but why? You are not even close to a situation of stress, far from actually. You might just be having a great time with friends. Anxiety strikes when it wants to. Small or big, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is, can we accept it and experience its beauties too? See what it can learn us?

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It runs our lives

Anxiety is a form of fear. A fear that is most of the time unnecessary but that doesn’t mean the anxiety is unnecessary. Anxiety can completely consume your life. To the point where you try to avoid as much as possible. You do not go out anymore because you fear being judged. Or you avoid a specific place or thing that doesn’t really mean a threat. This is nothing to be ashamed of nor should you hide it from those close to you. This is something we all deal with. Some in a more significant way than others. But to those dealing with it, I can tell you this, anxiety is beautiful. Now you might not want to hear that. You and I myself too, know that anxiety can really hit hard. And I am not trying to tell you that anxiety is overall beautiful. That wouldn’t be true and that would be a great example of using positivity to run away from something.

No anxiety is beautiful because we can learn from it. It doesn’t want to hurt us really. It’s just here to protect us because it thinks we need protection. So it takes over our lives. Trying to run it for us. But a life lived out of fear is not a life at all. Fear blocks of so many of our feelings of love and joy. So if we live in a constant notion of fear we can not truly get happy. Now that is why I want to show you how you can work WITH anxiety. Not against it. It is your friend just like any other emotion you feel. It is a complex emotion so to everyone there is a different way of dealing with it. The main thing you should be looking for here is finding a solution or method that helps you calm down.

You are both workers in the same factory

You and anxiety, you aren’t the best of friends. I can get that. I wasn’t the best of friends with anxiety. Nor at this moment in life. If anxiety hits I hate it, yet knowing how to work with it makes it dissipate more easily and taking a lesson from it each time. So it won’t come back every other day.

You see, you and anxiety are both workers in the same factory. You work on the same line of production. Anxiety is making sure the products are ready to be packaged and you package them. You are the final one in the production line and at the end responsible for the end product. Anxiety isn’t. It is just a part of the process who checks if every product is alright. Yet anxiety is a bit of a stress head. Every now and then a product will not be meeting the production standards. Instead of just throwing it out, anxiety panics. Completely shutting down the process. Now the entire factory is behind. You’ll have to work harder to make up for it. You get mad at anxiety for stopping the process. But all anxiety wants is to do a good job at what it is supposed to do. And that is picking out the bad products.

You getting mad at anxiety is only worsening it. Giving it more stress of not doing its job the correct way. Because you got mad at it, it doesn’t dare to stop the process again. At some point, there will be more malfunctioning products but instead of taking them out of the process, it leaves them. Anxiety is so fearful that he makes the wrong choice that the bad products continue in the line and end up at your place. So you package them not knowing they are of bad quality. But after while anxiety can’t take it anymore. So it smacks that emergency button again when a malfunctioning product comes by. You go up to anxiety again and get mad. You even find out that there were loads more malfunctioning products that you already packed away. So you get furious, you do not want anxiety to be in the production line anymore. But that leaves you with two jobs to do. You have to pick out the bad products and package them.

{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“2f0ce6a8-12f6-4c3e-9a2a-68f547986652″],”srcRootClientId”:””}This is an impossible job. It could be done of course but it will wear you down. So what could you have done differently? What could you have done so that anxiety and you were a more efficient team? You two should work together. Instead of getting mad at it understand why it smacks that emergency button every time. If you listen you will hear that it fear making the wrong choice, always. It fears that it will get hurt by others or things. So it tries to stop the entire process so it can make a grounded decision. Instead of getting mad at him for that try to explain to him that we are both humans. That it is okay that, once in a while, there is a bad product not being picked out or a good one thrown away. You can’t always make the right decision. All that matters is that you and anxiety are both working, trying your best to make the most out of it. If one of you isn’t doing right help one another out, do not shout or get mad. You, in the end, are the one responsible for a great working team and therefore the outcome. So make sure anxiety works well with you and it will all work out.

But how do you do that? How can you make sure both you and your anxiety calm down?

5 tricks I use to calm down or experience anxiety

  1. Meditation or sitting down, just taking the time to observe

One of the things that helps to prevent anxiety is meditation. Meditation isn’t something vague or weird, it is just sitting your ass down even though it is uncomfortable. You just sit and focus on your breath. Nothing weird or bad about that. Our breath controls a lot of our feelings so if we can use meditation to both focus on our breath and on our thoughts when they arise we can control have more grip on our anxiety when it arises. Focussing on the breath and bringing it back to a slow breathing pattern helps us regulate the stress levels in our body.

So you can say what you want about meditation but it is a great way to help you calm down. To relax. But only if you are willing to face the discomfort of sitting in a room, all by yourself, with nothing to do but sit there. It’s will get on your nerves and make you wanna get up. Just try to do this for 10 minutes or longer. You could start out with fewer minutes but trust me 10 minutes is something we should all do in moments of stress or anxiety. It is just enough time to come to a conclusion with anxiety and work this thing out together.

  1. Going to nature or going for a walk

When I feel tensed and stressed out, and feel anxiety coming up I most of the time go for a walk. Take my breakdown in the first week of school. That was one of those weeks where I would go for a walk almost every day. For about an hour I would just walk. Listening to music or an audiobook. This really helps me calm down. For some reason, after some time all the energy you are using is going to your legs and your brain starts to think less. You become more present and that presence makes you look at things differently.

So if I am anxious and I go for a walk, most of the time after about 15 minutes I feel relaxed again. My mind isn’t thinking about anxiety anymore. It has seen that there is nothing to worry about. Time will go on. Anxiety can not control that. It just wanted to show me the hidden fear that is within me. And by doing that I have now learned that there is no need to fear not being able to graduate. I do what I can to graduate but there are more important things in the world than finishing college. Living a joyful and peaceful life is way more important. So if I let anxiety control me all throughout the rest of this internship my joy and peace will be far from where I want them to be.

  1. Why you should take a break at the moments that you can’t take a break

Trick three is one that I came across quite recently. When I felt stressed and rushed, knowing that there was way too much for me to do I would just keep going. There was no way that I would not finish everything. So the tension and anxiety kept building in my body. Just like anxiety kept quiet on the factory line, letting all those malfunctioning products pass by. It is at that moment you most need a break. Better said these are the moment that will give you massive benefit if you take a break. Even if it is just 10 minutes. But take a real break.

Now, what do I see as a real break? Not using your phone for sure. Want a break to relax and release tension. Meditate, drink some water or tea, read a bit or write. Do something that clears your head and that is not social media or your phone. Even though this might feel calming there is a constant drip of dopamine fed to your brain. Which will result in you being more anxious when you stop using your phone again. You crave that feeling of peace again, just because the phone gave it to you in the form of dopamine. If you truly want a beneficial brake, do nothing.

  1. Go all the way through with your anxiety, feel it, and envision its worst ending

Now, this is the one I found hardest. It will scare you because anxiety is so lively and vivid that it will seem to be true. But trust me to go with it. Let it take you to the end. Because you know what, if you follow anxiety all the way down the scary road you will see that the end is an open bright field, filled with flowers. Really anxiety never has an ending that will harm you. I have experienced so many anxieties and thought of stress but each one of them leads to nothing.

I would stress and be anxious about laughing at me when I would make a mistake in public. I would see all of them laughing and this could go on for hours. But if I just allowed the thought to go all the way through. I would see that everyone would laugh at me, that I would be named stupid names, that I would get bullied because of it but still every time there was something bad coming up I would ask myself “what’s next?”. This made my anxiety think. At first, it will come up with more things that you are afraid of. But trust me after about 4 different scenarios it will just not have anything to throw at you anymore. It’s an empty illusion.

So go with it, follow anxiety into its cave and find out that the cave is nothing but a cardboard box painted in the colors of a cave. You can just smack the box open and be outside again in a beautiful bright world.

  1. Write down the worst ending and now write down three reasons to prevent that

Okay, this one is a follow-up I do after doing trick 4. I write down these bad endings. I write down how I think I won’t make it to the end of college. How I will not graduate and write down the reasons why I think so. Now leave that and come up with three reasons that you can do right now that will prevent that. In my case, I email my two mentors for assistance, read articles online, and look back at old projects I did in the past three years. These are three simple reasons for me to know that this will not come true. I have the power to control how I feel right now. The outcome I can never really control. This will always be in the hands of the universe or God.

But I can make the road to that result way more pleasant by accepting it. And finding ways to make that road joyful and easier to walk on.

Anxiety is your friend

Yes, really anxiety is your friend. It can show you what you are afraid of so that you can come up with ways to not be afraid of it anymore and just do it. Anxiety really is nothing more than the mist on the road. It seems scary but if you drive through it you will not be stopped. It is empty and will not harm you nor the car.

You should strive to find ways to deal with anxiety. I have just listed five of the ways I love dealing with anxiety, which make it more joyful and peaceful to experience. Because that is what this is all about. Every emotion, every life experience is a part of life. If we resist it and only want to be joyful, we will never be joyful. But if we accept it and find its beauty we will forever be joyful. Experience the beauty of life as it is, not as you wish it to be. That’s why we can appreciate anxiety and work with it, not against it. You got this. You can deal with anxiety and make the best out of it. Enjoy life. Because Today I Lived!

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