If you suffer from anxiety and anxiety disorders, you know the highs and lows of coping with the illness.
When your anxiety is at its worst trying to “talk yourself down” or prevent an anxiety attack can feel impossible.
And that’s why Redditors are sharing tips for managing anxiety in a helpful, but also kind of gutwrenching thread.
Here are some of the responses we think might help you with your own anxiety. Just know, you are not alone:
I know a lot of times when I’m feeling super anxious about something my brain just flips the “everything is terrible and going wrong and nothing is right” switch, and it’s just a downward spiral. Learning to just let myself feel every emotion, even if I know it’s just the anxiety talking has helped me work through the attacks. Validate yourself and your feeling, let yourself feel whatever your brain is throwing at you, and then when you’re calmer you can sort through the emotions. It’s helped me a lot.
Focusing on my breathing and then if that doesn’t work, physically stepping away/leaving the situation. Also carrying around a water and taking a sip when I need to ground myself
Music. Lots and lots of music.
oddly enough, cleaning and organizing things/rooms.
Taking a lap. When I feel like the walls are closing in, I excuse myself from wherever I am and go for a walk around the block to get fresh air and a little exercise. If this isn’t an option, I discreetly take a benzo and do some breathing exercises (there are some apps that help if you aren’t familiar!).
My friend got me out of a panic attack pretty quickly by just having me focus on my hands. Placing them on the table, raising above my head. It re-centers your brain almost like a reboot because for me at least a panic attack is when my anxiety gets so high my brain short circuits and everything is in overdrive.
Meditation and deep breathing. It sounds cliche, I know, but trust me it works. Learn it.
My big, 72-pound, rescue dog. It’s like he just knows when I’m having a hard time and will come lay with me… literally just came down the stairs to check on me as I typed this.
Small, manageable goals. If I’m having a panic attack, I just have to accept that it’s happening and focus on breathing. It will always pass. If it’s looping thoughts or rising anxiety, I try to focus on factual positives. Things are rarely ever as bad as my brain would have be believe.
Going in a bathroom and putting my hands under running water.
Grounding exercises are what I have to do when I get panicky count 5 things you can see 4 things you can touch 3 things you can hear 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Then close your eyes and breathe slowly, rinse and repeat.
Sitting in the shower.
I just think to myself: “But will I die?”
The answer is always no. I may be anxious about something, but I know I can get through it. It helps.
Crying. I know it sounds weird but its instant relief for me. You just gotta let it out.
My wife’s heartbeat. There’s lots of little things that can help, but hearing that works the best.
My worst anxiety occurs during inaction, so I look to do something marginally productive like sweep the floor, make a snack, or shave. Obviously this is useful if the anxiety is due to being overwhelmed, but it works for me when feeling anxious about less tangible things as well. Even the most insignificant or minute task is better than sitting in anxiety, but the more lengthy and involved, the better relief (and sense of accomplishment).
I know this might sound stupid but what helps me is calling myself out. If I’m starting to get an attack I start to go through emotions out of nowhere like over thinking or just wanting to punch a wall for no reason. And when I’m feeling them I just say wait a minute Why am I mad in the first place that’s stupid of me. Or even just telling myself hey don’t be sad there’s no point. But if I forget to do this and I’m in a public setting I close my eyes and count to 10 and I even sometimes breath in hold my breath for 5 or 10 seconds and breath out like u would if u where using a inhaler.
CBD oil. It takes the edge off.
I have a conversation with myself. I ask why I’m anxious, reasons why I should be anxious, reasons why I shouldn’t, why I’m afraid, how I should deal with it, etc.
Then I just give myself a pep talk afterwards and give myself encouragement that everything will be okay and I’m doing my best. Sometimes it works but other times the anxiety is overwhelming so I just acknowledge it’s there and force myself to go on with my day and take deep breaths throughout and try not to get angry.
On the medication side, beta blockers has helped me significantly for super intense moments.
Silence and holding perfectly still. The latter is complicated by the need for oxygen, so I breathe as slowly and with as little movement as possible. After a minute or two I can usually segue to deeper breathing and carefully controlled stretching, and then to normal movement again.