Anxiety

Things I’ve learnt about dealing with anxiety

Over the past six years, I’ve done as much as I possibly can to learn about anxiety and how to deal with it. ‘Cause sometimes I don’t want to sit there and let it take over. So, here is my guide to dealing with anxiety disorder(s)!

YOGA.

The thing that has probably helped me the most is meditation. Yoga and mindfulness. I know some people don’t see the benefit that comes with reflection. I was one of those people myself, since spending so much time thinking seemed totally pointless. My thoughts were what I was trying to get away from! But I did my research and found all the different ways yoga can help with anxiety and depression. There are so many variations, each with their own benefits. Even in its most basic form, it has so many benefits. Which is good for me, because I am not very flexible. Meditation isn’t so much about thinking, but about learning to control your thoughts, to turn them off for a while and give yourself a break.

LEARNING.

Learning about what you’re suffering from is key with any illness. I think understanding what you’re going through is vital, because if you don’t understand it, how can you expect to get through it? After my diagnosis, I spent a lot of time reading up on generalised anxiety disorder. I love Psychology and all things brain-related, so I actually found the learning part pretty fun. If that isn’t for you, a quick Google search will turn up thousands of results (464,000 to be precise) all about generalised anxiety disorder.

FINDING A SAFE HAVEN.

When your thoughts turn dark or heavy, it’s important to have something to turn to.

For me, it’s books and films. Like millions of people, I turn to books for a kind of safety net. When my mind is working overtime, a book can be a haven. I am a lifelong book lover (as I’m sure you guessed from the name of this blog) and I really don’t think you can beat the feel of a good book. The smell of a bookshop will always be one of my favourite things in the world. But I must admit that my Kindle has been a Godsend. It’s made many an anxious bus ride to work so much more bearable. Plus, it means I can make a dent on those classics I’ve been meaning to read for years. And for free! Anyway, I digress. My point is, no matter how crappy I might be feeling, a good book never, ever fails to provide the perfect distraction. It’s always good to read about other people’s problems.

It could just be a coincidence that I found the sanctuary that is silent film around the same time that I was diagnosed. But I like to think it was fate. Gish, Chaplin, Keaton, Brooks… my heart (and sanity) is yours.

P.S. I’m ashamed to say I only discovered DW Griffith’s Broken Blossoms three days ago. It really is a must-see, plus it kinda puts a perspective on things…

DIY

It’s actually scientifically proven that medication is not the best route to take with anxiety. Talking therapies actually have much better results than drugs. Yes, medication is infinitely better if you need a quick fix, but I think the real satisfaction comes with doing it the natural way. Changing your lifestyle – diet, relationships, stress levels – is proven to dial down the anxiety craziness. We often don’t even realise where the stress is coming from, especially if it’s something as crazy small as it sometimes is with anxiety.

BUT IT’S IMPORTANT TO… be surrounded by good people. I’ve found that a best friend can be the best therapist, particularly when you’re having a breakdown in the middle of the night and actual therapists just aren’t available. Just having someone to talk to is often enough to make you feel better, even if it’s temporary relief.

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