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3 Ways You Can Begin to Cope With Anxiety

St. Thomas 𑁋 Anxiety can sometimes be a strange thing to talk about. It’s strange because there are a handful of people who don’t exactly know what anxiety is. And then there are the people that know and are aware that anxiety affects their lives but can’t seem to find a way around it.

For the greater part of 2019, I’ve struggled with managing my own anxious thoughts. Many times, working on clever ways to defeat it, only to realize that I failed as I begin to fall deeper into those anxious thoughts. In 2018, I was more calm and relaxed in my everyday life. 2019 became a year of many firsts for me and inevitably I grew increasingly anxious preparing for what could come next. 

I woke up feeling good today, without a single bit of anxiety holding me back. I picked up my phone and began contemplating the day and immediately became anxious as the tasks and projects stacked up in my mind. I discovered a video by Olivia Remes, who researches anxiety and its relationship with depression and decided to write this article.

Feeling like you’re in control of your life

It’s important for us to feel as though we have control over our own lives. Things like bills, chores, goals, and even politics can sometimes create the idea that we are not in control of our lives or our own destiny. But we are. Remes says that research shows that you should engage in experiences that give you greater control which improves your overall mental health.

Putting things off and being too indecisive often holds us back — back from reaching our goals or creating meaningful change in our lives. If you feel out of control of your life, try doing one thing (or more) that gives you a sense of control and reassurance. Watching a movie at the theater (even if you do it alone) for the first time in months is one way. Taking a stroll in a local park and observing random things is also another way of regaining control. 

Forgive yourself

Remes says that “people with anxiety think a lot about what they are doing wrong, their worries and how bad they’re feeling.” Imagine having a friend or family member that constantly pointed out what they thought you were doing wrong. “People with anxiety do this to themselves all day,” she says.

Forgiving yourself for mistakes you made just a few moments ago as well as mistakes you made in the past allows you to build greater compassion toward yourself and helps you let go of things much faster when you happen to fall short of your own expectations. 

Having a purpose and meaning in life

The famous neurologist Dr. Victor Frankl said, “for people who think there’s nothing to live for and nothing more to expect from life, the question is getting these people to realize that life is still expecting something from them.”

For this section, I’ll share a video instead. This video (or speech) titled “This Is Water” has helped me to cope with stressful situations since 2012. Don’t run from your anxious thoughts, the more you work to understand why you’re anxious, the easier it becomes to move past those thoughts and live your best life.