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3 Ways to Overcome Anxiety: My Personal Journey

I’m the friend that all of my friends come to for advice. I’m the one that holds it all together and plans every aspect of  my life. I’m the one that has all the answers and doesn’t crack under pressure. At least, that’s the way it appears from the outside looking in…While people may appear to have it “all together,” I’m a prime example that no one truly does. We are all constantly fighting battles that the rest of the world knows nothing about and my personal battle is one with anxiety.

We are all constantly fighting battles that the rest of the world knows nothing about and my personal battle is one with anxiety. These 3 things have helped me to cope and I hope that they will help you as well.

Summer is usually the time of year that I look forward to the most. It’s my husband’s off season and a time when we are able to be carefree and spend a lot of time doing the things we do best: traveling, binge watching our favorite shows, and spending time with friends and family. Although summer is my favorite season, it’s also one that is usually plagued by uncertainty. For professional basketball players like my husband, summertime is when contracts are signed. As someone who likes to plan and prepare, it can be challeging to practice patience and have faith as we wait for phone calls from agents and teams about what our future holds.

This past summer was particularly challenging and I found myself feeling as if I was drowning in anxiety 24/7. It was often difficult for me to focus on the present because I was so worried about the future and what it had in store. I felt panicked and detached almost constantly and it really took a toll on my overall wellbeing. The worst past of it was that, for a long time, no one knew. I shared what I was going through with my husband, but other than that, I felt like I had to keep it to myself to keep up the facade that I had it all together. Keeping my anxiety a “secret” only made matters worst and made it even more difficult for me to cope. Finally, after months of suffering in silence, I opened up to a few of my friends and family members and decided that it was time that I talk to a professional as well. Although it is still something that I deal with, my symptoms have subsided and it’s no longer a daily occurrence. These 3 things helped me to overcome my anxiety and I hope that by sharing my story, I can help someone else find ways to gain control over their’s as well:

3 Ways to Overcome Anxiety

  1. Talk to yourself: So often, we think of people who talk to themselves as odd, but in some ways, they are on the right track! I learned a lot about how powerful positive self-talk can be in school, but it wasn’t until my counselor recommended it to me and explained it an a practical, applicable way that I actually tried it for myself. When I felt myself becoming anxious, mentally repeating statements like, “It’s going to be alright. My feelings are not always rational. I’m going to relax, calm down, and stop thinking negatively and these feelings will pass,” helped me to steady myself. So many times if we can just stop the thoughts that lead to anxiety by replacing them with more realistic thoughts, the feelings will start to subside.

  2. Take a magnesium supplement: When I self-diagnosed myself with a mild case of anxiety (thanks to my background in psychology and knowledge of the DSM), my husband, being the AMAZING man that he is, immediately started researching things that might help. One of the first things that he recommended was that I take a magnesium supplement. Although I must admit it was some time before I actually followed his advice , when I did add a multivitamin containing magnesium to my daily regimen, I started to feel better almost immediately. Magnesium is calming and relaxing my nature and helps to regulate the nervous system, which is why a lot of people find it helpful for treating symptoms related to anxiety.

  3. Meditate and breathe: If your anxiety symptoms are anything like mine, you might find that when they’re at their worst, your breathing becomes irregular, which causes a reduction in the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain. Naturally, this makes it more difficult to think clearly and may make you feel even more anxious. I found that deep breathing exercises and short meditation sessions helped me to steady my breathing and mentally regroup. While meditation means different things to different people, for me, prayer was helpful because it also strengthened my faith. There are a number of Youtube tutorials and websites that offer breathing exercises and guided meditations, but I prefer to utilize apps on my phone so that I know I have something with me at all times (because you never know when anxiety may strike). My favorite apps are Virtual Hope Box and Headspace.

As someone in the mental health field, I know that there are a number of ways to treat anxiety and that there is no one size fits all solution. These 3 things helped me tremendously, but the truth is, I never would have considered them had I not been willing to open up about what I was going through and talk to a counselor. If you are searching for ways to overcome anxiety or any other personal struggle, I recommend that you talk to friends, family members, and a mental health professional. There is no harm in talking to a professional and recognizing that one may be helpful for you means that you are not only self-aware, but also strong.

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? If so, how did you cope?


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