How to survive anxiety? That’s a question we would all like to know the answer to… I am still suffering and recovering from anxiety, and have experienced many relapses. Just when you think you’re feeling okay and have no clue of what’s really going on deep inside of you, that’s when our beloved friend Anxiety sneaks in. You somehow know it’s there, but aren’t sure because you still live in that “blur of happiness” as I would call it.
And then one day you wake up, feeling upset, insecure and negative for no reason. It just happens like that and it’s such an overwhelming feeling that takes over your mind, body and emotions. Just one single “wrong word” and BOOM, you break down into pieces, feeling like the world is crashing down. (This somehow seems super dramatic now that I am typing it, but in reality it’s freaking scary and intense.) That is the exact moment when the “you don’t know I’m here-anxiety” kicks you right in the face.
“GUESS WHO’S BACK?? IT’S ME!!” – Anxiety
Those meltdown moments are one of the worst feelings of losing control I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve had my fair share of experiences). The tears roll down from my cheeks and my heart seems like wanting to burst out of my chest. The world starts to spin and I’m losing sight of what’s real and what’s not. The adrenaline rushes through my body, the insecurity rises, and negative and dark thoughts take over and push me somewhere into a grey and cold corner. It makes you feel like a worthless pile of human being. Harsh, right? Uhu.. I know. It’s hard and heartbreaking. You just feel so small and lost.
My journey included depression and anxiety.
I used to have meltdowns every damn week, especially during my period of depression and burn-out. “Must be exhausting…“, you say? Yes, you’ve guessed that right! Sooo exhausting and energy draining! But at that time I didn’t know about self-care, me-time and being able to calm down your breath like I do now. I did cry and yell, and stood back up again acting like I was fine. Not a good idea, obviously. That’s the exact opposite of “how to survive anxiety“.
My depression- and anxiety journey learned me how to take care of myself and my mental, but also emotional, health. If you’re having a bad day, week, month, year(s)…, just know that better times are coming IF you learn how to put yourself first. “But Debby, that would be selfish to put myself first.” Nope, nuh-uh, I am not accepting that! Self-care is a necessity, just like taking me-time to unwind and to relax after -and especially during – a stressful period.
I also was one of those people who thought it would be selfish to put myself first and to not reply to my friends because I was feeling down and emotional. I’d always wonder if they blamed me for not replying or “ignoring them”. Those kind of questions and insecurity take over your mind and thoughts.
Yoga is the main reason I introduced more time for myself into my life. And what a life changer it has been! It’s not selfish to take a moment out of your day to do something good for your physical, mental and emotional health. See it as a privilege, because not everyone can, or even knows how to take care of themselves. And some might never know…
So, how do you survive from anxiety?
I honestly think it’s hard to say you will survive from anxiety, but I am sure you can learn how to live with it. Learning how to recognize the signals and how to listen to your body and its needs. Because your body talks to you and sends out signals to your brain to let you know something’s up. It’s somewhat in our nature to ignore most of these signals and to continue until we’ve reached our maximum limits. And then we crash… Hard! But as from today we should make a change and reset our nature, so we can take care of ourselves and take the time to unwind whenever we feel like needing a break from life.
How to survive anxiety? – A few tips
Talk about your feelings and emotions
Talking to someone who understands you is my preference. This can be a person close to you, or maybe you prefer seeing a professional. Talking helps with the healing process and is necessary to release that tense and pinching feeling of your chest (that feeling when you can’t breathe because of anxiety).
Don’t expect your friends or beloved ones to fix your feelings and emotions, but know that they are there for you whenever you need a shoulder to cry, or lean on. Only you, as the person you are at this moment, can fix yourself, with or without professional help.
Do you prefer to write instead of talking?
That’s awesome, because you can start with keeping a journal or diary of your emotions and/ or thoughts. This will give you a better vision on how you go through life and how you react in different situations. You can observe your written words and maybe give yourself a better insight on how your emotions and brain function. This can help with seeing things from another perspective (like upside down 🙃)
Take a step back and give yourself some space.
My biggest advice: STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! When I feel overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, I can’t handle scrolling on Social Media and seeing everyone acting all happy and busy, while I am sitting here feeling sad for myself and have a lack of energy. Those unplug-moments are necessary for self-care and to slowly let go of whatever it is that’s causing you to feel like this.
Social Media has its good perks, but also its bad perks such as making you feel worse than you also feel… Or giving you toxic vibes, which you obviously don’t need right now. So go offline and do something that makes you feel relaxed and calm. For me this would be writing, doing Yoga, meditating or baking cookies (which, as you all know, is like therapy for me). What is it that makes you feel calm and positive [feel free to write this down]?
It’s okay to unplug and take a step back to give yourself the space you need. Now that you don’t have to spend time on something else, you can take this opportunity to (re)discover yourself and maybe find something new you like doing.
Stop saying sorry for being human.
When you’re going through a dark time of anxiety, you probably also like to be locked up at home and do nothing all day, or at least nothing too energy consuming. It might feel bad, but it really isn’t. People will understand if you tell them that “Today isn’t your day and you need some space for yourself.”. A true friend understands. And those who don’t, well… Then those aren’t friends, you know what I mean?
Never apologize for how you feel and for wanting to unplug. Your mental health is way more important than whatever meeting, deadline or idea you were having. You don’t have to say “Sorry.” for being human!
Try some Yoga
Yoga is also a great way to handle anxiety as it learns you how to let go of stored emotions and feelings. As you become aware in the present moment and are connecting deeper with your mind and body, you learn to be more loving and caring with yourself and your body. You will learn to listen closely to the signals sent by the body and will more easily insert an extra moment of me-time.
Yoga is all about mind-body-soul connection. Perfect for those who suffer from anxiety, burn-out or depression to reconnect with your (inner) self.
With Yoga comes, or follows (Guided) Meditation.
As you connect deeper with the world of Yoga, you will most likely discover a world of Meditation. Slowing down and being forced to become one with your thoughts might be overwhelming at first – at least for me it was – but once you get the hang of it, you will start to feel the benefits of meditation.
Clearing your mind also allows you to connect deeper with your stored emotions. Sometimes you might be crying, or maybe feel frustration or an angry mind. Know that this is all part of the process of letting go. Our bodies tend to hold on to emotions and store them deep down into the muscles, which leads to tension and pain. Mental pain can also have an effect on your body. So if you want to release feelings of anxiety, start by welcoming space into the mind.
Some good apps that can introduce you, and guide you through, the world of meditation are: Calm and HeadSpace. Or follow along with my Guided Meditation Program.
Do you have tips on how to survive anxiety, or how to learn to live with it? Feel free to share them with me by contacting me on Instagram or Facebook. Or you can also share a post on your Social Media page and tag me in it. I’d love to learn about your journey and experience with anxiety!
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to share your person story with me.