Anxiety has been following me around my entire life, ever since I was a child, when I would constantly worry that I was doing something wrong or that I would get in trouble for something out of my control. The worrying has never ceased, although I have learned to recognize it and take a step back when I start to feel anxious. Many times, the feeling is hard to explain. There is no cause. It will hit me like a wave of nausea, but in my head, my heart, and my veins. The overwhelming feeling that something bad is about to happen. And as in introvert, it makes it all the more difficult to deal with anxiety in a healthy way. Oftentimes, I don’t feel like reaching out to others for help. So instead, I have discovered a few (small) things that get me out of my head and back into a happy reality.
Creating a Calming Environment
Living alone, I have a lot of control over my space. I try to make it as homey and conducive to my happiness as possible. One of my favorite things to do is to light incense (sorry dad, I promise not to burn the house down!). I find that aromatherapy can work wonders to sooth anxiety. I have found that a lot of incense irritates my eyes, so if you are prone to environmental allergies, I would recommend Herb & Earth Incense. It produces less smoke, so less itchy eyes. My favorite scents are camomile, vanilla, and jasmine.
Speaking of camomile, I find that a hot cup of this tea before bedtime does wonders. It’s a natural muscle relaxer, and contains no caffeine, so it works to calm nerves. Nothing accompanies a good book better than a nice cup of tea in your favorite mug.
Lastly, and I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post, but music can be powerful in relieving anxiety–if you choose the right kind. I recently bought a portable blue-tooth speaker (great investment), and it’s so easy to turn it on and, in seconds, be listening to some calming music. Know which music makes you feel good and take advantage of it.
Know Your Happy Places
When I feel anxious, sometimes sitting alone in my apartment does me no good. I’m by myself so often throughout the day that I unconsciously crave human interaction, even if it is indirect. So I’ll grab a book or some busy work and head to my favorite coffee shop in town, or I’ll go to the gym for a quick workout (exercise is basically anti-depressants that don’t kill your sex drive), or even peruse the aisles of Wegman’s looking for nothing in particular. Anything to get me distracted and moving and off my futon.
Look Towards the Future
This one may make you say “What?! My future gives me more anxiety than anything else!” but I’m not referring to future career plans or any of that stressful stuff. Speaking for myself, daydreaming about the future trips allows me to escape whatever is currently bothering me at the moment. I like to plan the weekend getaways I will take to Ireland, or Denmark, or wherever my inner travel-bug has me thinking about at that moment. And while that may not be applicable or realistic to everyone, thinking about something exciting happening in the near or far future is a great way to keep yourself moving forward and get yourself out of the quicksand of anxiety. Even if, for now, it’s just daydreaming.
These are a few of the basic things I do to deal with my anxiety, but I am always looking for new ideas. If you have any good techniques that work for you, let me know!