We all go through hard times. This last week has been a stressful one for me. We all feel lost. We all feel desperate. I have struggled with anxiety for years. I wasn’t always aware enough to know I wasn’t okay. My anxiety comes and goes. I have months of feeling fantastic and I have months of feeling sick, stressed, and lost. Anxiety is different for everyone who experiences it. It comes in many different forms and it can be very hard to describe to someone who has never experienced it. But it helps to have things that you know can calm you or even just distract you when your anxiety becomes overwhelming. These things will not necessarily take your anxious feelings away, however, they simply help you cope and get back to normal life as quickly as possible. I call these calming and distracting activities my life savers.
My Life Savers:
When I was younger I put most of my energy into soccer. Every weekend was filled with tournaments and every week night was filled with practices and training. And I loved it. Soccer was life. I was young and don’t recall experiencing anxiety at that time. When I entered middle school I was told I could no longer play soccer due to my heart condition. This is when I turned to my other main interest, music. I tried to play several instruments including piano, viola, and guitar. I enjoyed them all, but was never passionate enough about any of them to stick with them long term. And then I started voice lessons. I enjoy singing. It’s something that allows for organic expression of emotions. Sometimes my anxiety it too much to sing. It isn’t always my “go-to solution” because I often don’t feel the desire to express my emotions. It does help to distract me before my anxiety gets to the point of being overwhelming. However, simply listening to music and zoning out of life can be very helpful to refocus yourself and take a break from your surroundings.
Animals can be extremely therapeutic. They can sense when you’re not okay and often know exactly how to offer you comfort. I was born into a family with pets and we have continued to be a family focused on our pets. I very quickly became a true animal lover. Laying in bed with my dog is the cure for almost all of life’s difficult moments.
Being outside, feeling the sun, and touching the ground can be an instant mood lifter. Taking time to breathe in the fresh air and just appreciate what nature has to off us can be a very enlightening moment. Sitting outside and focusing on the sights and sounds around you can be a great way to forget what triggered your anxiety.
Yoga has given me a physical outlet for my stress. It has taught me I am stronger than I think I am. When I am stressed or anxious, I can go to a yoga class and let go of whatever it is I am upset about. I can allow myself to focus on breathing and focus on that single moment. It helps me recenter my brain and reprioritize my day. I often feel much calmer after attending a class.
In high school I found a passion for writing. I enjoyed writing papers. It was easy for me to find the right words and to fill pages with my thoughts and research. Clearly, I have decided to continue writing for myself after high school and college. It is a way for my to express my thoughts without having to speak. I feel I can often write/type the words much better than I can speak them in the moment. I tend to be a more introverted person. I observe situations before reacting to them, which can often lead me to missing the opportunity to react. Writing allows my thoughts to flow and my emotions to be expressed without judgment. It allows for self-reflections and reflections on the world around me. It can be therapeutic.