5 Ways to Handle Anxiety and Stress
In college, I was fortunate enough not to be terribly affected by the ups and downs of college, from job offers to failing tests. I had the cool, calm demeanor. I thought it was only smooth sailing for me - but sadly, I was wrong.
Upon starting my job, I’ve experienced bouts of anxiety - something I haven’t had to deal with before. The first time it hit me, I was rather confused as to why I was feeling the way I was. It wasn’t until it happened more frequently that I was able to identify the feeling, and beyond that, start figuring out why I was feeling anxious.
It’s a strange feeling, as it appears in different forms for different people, or even different forms for the same person. I’m still figuring out the root cause of it, and the themes among the bouts. There isn’t a quick fix to it, unless you count escaping reality and moving to Bali to become a professional vacationer.
But, along the way I’ve found that a few ways to help me manage these feelings.
- Breathing: Meditating doesn’t come naturally to me, but even stopping what I’m doing and going back to my breathing helps center me again. I’m not about to meditate everyday for 20 minutes, but I find that when I feel stressed or anxious I take a few deep breaths (the breathe app on my apple watch helps!) and go back to the present.
- Journaling: This is probably the number one thing that helps me, personally. Journaling is like opening up the floodgates and letting all of the half-developed, chaotic thoughts come barreling out of my head and flow onto the paper. Along with this, comes a release of emotions. I always walk away from my pen and paper feeling much better, even if just for the day.
- Exercising: Working out is more helpful when I’m stressed rather than anxious, but gentle forms of movement such as yoga are great for when I need to chill the heck out (i.e. deep breathing). On the other end of the spectrum, running or more intense exercise sometimes feels good. It’s about listening to what my body yearns for, when it comes to this one.
- Talking it out: Turning to a friend or family member is a great way to get outside my head and gain a new perspective on situations, or simply talk through how I’m feeling. Rather than bottling up how I’m feeling, it can feel good to let others know that ‘hey, I’m not okay right now.’
- Being with friends: Sometimes, a good distraction helps remove me from the situation and brings me back to feel-good emotions and also the present. Surrounding myself with people who know me and bring joy to my life helps alleviate those anxious feelings.
The twenty-something years are most definitely anxiety-inducing, where it feels like you’re swimming upstream sometimes.
How do you deal with anxiety and stress? Leave a comment below!