Anxiety and social anxiety can be difficult to deal with on a daily basis. I have been living with anxiety since I was a teenager and social anxiety since I was a young adult. One of the worst parts for me is that my anxiety often leads me to panic attacks. I have had some of the worst panic attacks in my own life over the last two years.
I am in no way an expert. I still deal with anxiety almost daily at some level. Right now I am regulating my anxiety better because of my current dosage of Ativan. With the right balance of medication, things like cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation things can be good. With these things, it can be very helpful in relieving anxiety. I will go into detail about what works in my life and what are some things that are effective.
I prefer to work through experience first, so here I go, things that help relieve my anxiety.
What Works for me? CBT
In September 2016, I had the worst panic attack in my life. I was driving home and my whole world changed. I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn‘t breathe. I was hyperventilating. My hands began to go very numb and I barely had time to pull over. The paramedics got called to the scene and I ended up in the hospital.
I tell this story here because it was the start of the beginning of my journey with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It changed my life. I have been working since February of last year, and a year into it I am still learning what can be effective every day. I will admit I have work to do, but hey we are all works in progress.
So what did I learn?
Mindfulness breathing. It is one of the most effective tools that I have learned in CBT training. It’s an exercise that I do ten minutes a day twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s meditation with a focus on your thoughts. What mindfulness taught me was to focus on my where my thoughts go, and when my mind wonders I bring my focus back to my breathing. I bring myself back to my center. I learned over time to focus on my breathing only without my thoughts wondering too much.
I also learned that music can be such an amazing tool that you can use to alleviate anxiety and even stress. In CBT, I also learned to use mood induction therapy as a tool. I don’t want to go into too much detail but if you’re interested I have written a blog post about it.
What Else Can You Do?
There are some amazing tea brands out there and any one of them has a tea that can be effective in helping anxiety. I quit coffee to start 2018 and it has helped keep my anxiety under control. I am not positive if there is a connection but switching to tea has been very helpful.
Meditation is another effective thing that you can use. I am the type of person who needs the reminders to meditate. I have found app CALM very useful in helping me by reminding me to meditate. Its a great app for classes that will teach you how to meditate. I recommend it. I have never done yoga but from what I hear it can be effective as meditation.
My doctor told me this a few months back and it has been effective when I have used it. It’s called exposure therapy. With exposure therapy, you can do things to simulate a panic attack to help you focus on the symptoms of anxiety. It can be useful. For my social anxiety. I have found immersing myself into situations that can cause me anxiety in a social situation very helpful. That means going for long drives. Or going to coffee shops that I am that I am not used to. Just being in social settings.
The point is to make you face your worst fears associated with social anxiety. This is one that I am working on in the coming weeks.
There are the simple things that can help your anxiety. Exercise and eating right is the most important thing in helping relieve anxiety. Of course, there is always medication. I have to warn you, anxiety medications can be quite addictive and hard to get off of once you are on them. I would caution anyone to try things like CBT, meditation, exercise, and therapy first.
These are the things that have been effective in my life. It’s not always perfect. I am always working on getting my anxiety completely under control.
I am interested in what helps you relieve your symptoms of anxiety. Leave some comments below.
Always Keep Fighting.