Anxiety! So many people experience and struggle with every single day. It presents itself in different shapes and sizes, and overall, is a massive pain in the ass!
It can be a ruthless little monster that quietly creeps up and POUNCES on you at the most inconvenient times, interrupting your life and getting in the way of exciting opportunities. It is a constant reminder of your insecurities, delivering waves of negativity that knock you to the ground as you finally regain some balance in your life.
As the new semester starts, those frightening thoughts of forced socialisation kick in.
>> “What if we have a group assignment?”
>> “What if the tutor makes us introduce ourselves?”
>> “What if it’s an oral presentation”, or worse,
>> “What if someone actually wants to be my friend?”
Instead of enjoying new experiences and challenges, you feel the need to retreat to your cocoon of Netflix and Doritos, attempting to justify the relationship you have with your pet as “normal”, and that you don’t need humans to live a fulfilling life.
It doesn’t help that there is an ever-lasting stigma toward those who suffer from mental illness. I’m sure most have endured the laughable advice such as “just relax”, “you’ll get over it”, or my personal favourite “everyone’s in the same boat”. Ah no Becky! I’m in a little dinghy that’s sinking and surrounded by piranhas, meanwhile you’re on your fancy yacht ignoring my feelings and drinking champagne.
I wish I could say that after you graduate all of these struggles will go away, but let’s get real, you cannot stay in Neverland forever. The real world must be faced head on. Interviews, your 1st day at a full-time job, moving out of your parents’ house (finally), dating, paying bills; transitioning into adulthood is stressful and will come with a whole new set of struggles that do not magically go away. If you happen to be an anxious person, it will likely follow you no matter how successful you are or where you are in life.
Pressure is a part of living and should be acknowledged, not ignored or belittled.
So how can we go on with our everyday lives, without letting anxiety completely take over?
1 // Breathing techniques: Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing all your attention on slowing your breathe will help you relax and clear your mind.
2 // Keeping active & eating well: Treating your body like a shiny golden temple will boost your energy, keep your spirits high, and avoid thoughts of guilt and negativity.
3 // Talk to others: Don’t be afraid to get in touch with other people who have similar experiences or have just shown an interest in your wellbeing. It can be a MASSIVE load off to express your feelings to someone who understands and isn’t dismissive or judgemental.
4 // Meditation: This can bring you back to the present moment; it centres your attention on one task at a time and helps eliminate unnecessary overthinking.
5 // Be brave: Avoiding tasks that trigger your anxiety will not help improve a situation or help you in the long run. Take small steps and reward yourself for each accomplishment! (New earrings or donuts are a great motivator).
6 // Post it notes: Write down positive affirmations and stick them around your house, include what you love about yourself and what others have said they love about you. Creating a positive and personalised atmosphere can be the thing that gets you through a tough time.
7 // Do something you enjoy: Bowling, watching movies, fixing cars, shopping, eating cheese…whatever brings you the most joy, DO IT! It’s ok to have a safe haven and reward yourself occasionally.
8 // Give yourself a break: Remind yourself that you are not your anxiety! You are not weak! It is only temporary! No one is “perfect”! You are not alone! and your feelings are valid!
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An important note: If it is all getting too much, see professional help.
For more information on mental health you can visit the Beyond Blue website or call Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636