Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't even sweat the big stuff! It's easier said than done, and believe me - I've been there, done that! There is no all powerful "cure" for anxiety disorders, and more often than not, we learn how to cope rather than how to cure. At least for me, that's been the case. A reduce anxiety technique is much more effective for me than a cure-all anxiety technique.
I've lived my entire life with extremely difficult anxiety disorders, most prominently Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) early on in life, later transitioning into Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) by age 14/15. A big focus of my agenda is discovering the tricks to reduce anxiety and live my life in the most positive and reassured way.
It's been proven that deep, slow breathing is incredibly beneficial to anxiety sufferers and can temporarily bring relief in a moment of distress.
It greatly helps me if I use deep breathing in the moments of chaos to calm myself, and it's equally as helpful for the moments anticipating the chaos! We can use deep breathing not only to calm down in the moment, but to prepare ourselves for the most smooth sailing experience.
Are you a fan of meditation? If you haven't tried it, you must! Meditation has many similar benefits to deep breathing - calm and focus, more mental clarity. Meditation can also be a great way to remind ourselves of everything we should be grateful for and can look forward to - you know, the good things. Not the things that make us anxious :)
FIND FAITH IN SOMETHING
Finding faith in something (like God) has been vital to my experience with anxiety and living through my anxiety disorders with a focus on a greater purpose and guidance. Growing up in an Atheist home, God was never a big discussion, but my folks always supported what I wanted to believe in.
Around the age of 14, I started to notice how God worked in my life and the blessings I received from this relationship. I noticed the severity of "coincidence" throughout my young life - the traumatic bullying I endured, leading into my experience with home schooling and later gaining the proper therapy that allowed me to break free of such a harsh reality.
Having faith in something - the universe, karma, Mother Nature or God is so important to our daily journey.
TALK IT THROUGH
Talking to myself always makes situations easier. It was around 3rd or 4th grade when I realized, "WOW, this whole talking to yourself thing is super helpful! It's like I have a friend I can always rely on to give me a pep talk out of anything!" This is super nerdy and super awkward, but super true!
Sometimes simply telling yourself that everything always works out (and that this inevitably will too) is the trick you need to chill in the moment.
Talking about your concerns with your friends can also be a fabulous release for anxious feelings. I love FaceTiming or Skyping with my closest friends that live in different states and letting all of our thoughts run loose!
Not gonna lie: this sometimes involves curse words. No. All the time, actually. No shame! In certain situations, letting everything out is all we can possibly do to feel better.
ASSESS WORST CASE SCENARIO
Ask yourself: "What's the worst thing that could happen?" This is a trick that has moved mountains for me in terms of reducing my anxiety and has often helped me put my problem in perspective.
Worst case scenarios help us to recognize how horrible the situation truly is (and it usually isn't really that horrible in the first place), and if they are to happen, how we would proceed knowing that the worst thing ever possible just happened to us.
ASK FOR HELP
This may be the most important tip of all. Asking for help is SO important for those with severe mental disorders such as anxiety and/or depression, and was a life saver for me in my younger years.
I elected to begin Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by the time I was 14 years old and chose to see an art therapist--someone who specializes in helping their patients through expression of art. I found solace in creating montage videos of figure skating that I had started the year prior, which greatly assisted me in my art therapy.
Admitting you are struggling and asking for help--whether this is a therapist or psychiatrist's help, or a friend or family member's help, is key to getting better and learning how to live with anxiety.
GET LOTS OF REST
Of course, this may seem like an obvious tip - getting plenty of rest can encourage you to feel better about your day, reducing your anxiety in the process. I don't know about you, but I always feel more on edge and nervous on the days when I'm not fully rested.
EAT WELL (BUT SPLURGE, TOO)
Eating healthily and eating junk in moderation is always a helpful technique, but I believe you must also treat yourself out and splurge in order to live in true happiness. Life is all about living to your fullest (and not refusing experiences because they might fatten your belly or give you some stretch marks)! Treat yourself to that doughnut or pumpkin spice latte every once in a while, girl.
Finding something to express yourself through is KEY to moving through the waves of the unknown and the inner chaos that rules your world. Like I mentioned before, figure skating montages really helped me express what I was experiencing and still is my favorite method of artistic expression to this day.
Being able to blog is equally important for me - letting my life experiences run wild through words and allowing myself to interpret events the way I see them and feel them on a daily basis. I'm a big advocate for blogging, as you well know, and wished every person had a blog they could express themselves on. I don't know where I'd be today without Fashionably Frank (and don't wish to ponder that much longer). :)
LEAD WITH GRATITUDE
Gratitude is a large focus of positive psychology studies. In the past several years, it's been discovered that gratitude leads to larger amounts of joy and overall life satisfaction.
When we take the time out of our day to appreciate and acknowledge those around us (and everything that's been given to us), we are filled with gratitude and true happiness. This eases our fears and reminds us that no matter what happens in a single day, everything will eventually come full circle and work out for the better (regardless of how scary it is in the moment).
Which of these tricks work best for you? Leave your own hacks in the comments below!
BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN
Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating from The Evergreen State College (Washington) in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to all of life's problems + that all women should strive to embrace a #girlboss mantra.