When your own mind feels like an enemy, you can never have enough help. But it doesn’t hurt to keep a few tips handy.
Anxiety is one of those illnesses that make their rounds. It diminishes, then grows into a black hole that sucks in every reasonable argument, leaving you in a state of paralyzed dysfunction. Extreme paranoia, overthinking, forgetfulness, sleepless nights, difficulty during social functions—these are just some of the symptoms of anxiety.
When your own mind feels like an enemy, you can never have enough help. But it doesn’t hurt to keep a few tips handy. Here are a few things you can do to calm your paranoid, dreadful thoughts.
Write it down
Most of what plagues us is our responsibilities. And for anxious ones, it’s worse. When you have a cluster of things in your to-do list, you’re bound to end up panicking and procrastinating. So what you can do is make your to-do list physical.
When you write down all the things you have to get to, it’s easier to keep track of how long each task is going to take. You won’t forget them. You’ll know which ones you should start with. Maybe you could even squeeze in a little me-time.
Instead of letting your imagination run wild, just start, one step at a time.
Challenge your thoughts
Are those people behind you laughing at you? Or are they just having an entertaining conversation?
Is the bus driver irritated that you’re taking too long with your fare? Or is he just worried about the traffic?
Is the world really mad at you? Or does it just feel like it is?
As hard as it might be to accept it, most of our paranoid thoughts are just that—thoughts. So when your brain conjures up some unimaginable situation where you’re the villain or the victim, take a small breath and ask yourself: Are you, really?
Say it out loud
“It’s not true. It’s ridiculous. I’m not in denial.”
“This is what I’m going to do today.”
“One step at a time.”
You know how people constantly tell you to stop listening to overlapping voices in your head? Sometimes, we listen to their advice and ignore the logical parts of our head.
So say it out loud, and you’ll remember. It’s easier to conjure up realistic goals when you’ve voiced you will be completing them.
It doesn’t always have to be about tasks. Sometimes, it’s about friendship, sometimes it’s to get out of your comfort zone. When you hear your own determination in words, it’s a lot easier to follow up with action. Try it; it might just work.
Find your triggers
Every anxious person has a trigger. It sets off and you’re launched into an unstoppable downward spiral. It may be too much schoolwork, upcoming exams or disputes with family members. Something even as small as stepping out of your room could induce anxiety. They’re hidden, but they’re there.
The worst thing about triggers is that you can’t avoid them forever. Eventually, they catch up to you. So face them. Find out what they are. And find out how you can handle them.
There are always multiple solutions to problems. Anxiety, in instances, puts up a barrier between the problem and the answers. Thus, you might find yourself constantly stuck in a hazy, overwhelming fog of worry.
Too much schoolwork? Keep your schedule free on Saturdays so you can complete them. Exams? Make a timetable for each subject. Study accordingly. Fight with an estranged dad? Seek companionship in other members of your family. Make time for them.
Look for solutions for things that drag you down; don’t be so hard on yourself.
Whether it’s a licensed therapist or a close friend, talk to someone. Isolation at a time when you need help the most is perhaps the worst move you can make.
Anxiety might make it hard to open up to people. After all, paranoid thoughts usually lead to trust issues. But find at least one person you can confide in. Different individuals provide different perspective on things. And when you’re an over thinker, it’s better to change the way you look at things rather than sticking to a loop of stressful thoughts.
Advices—when it arrives from varying sources—are much easier to decipher. Talking to a professional might actually help you make progress.
Take a break
It could be anything, really: Your favorite movie, a nostalgic song, a Friends marathon or a delicious plate of momos.
The concept of “hustle” in this modern day capitalistic world has taken over our lives. As typical as it has become, we often forget the little things in life that matter the most. One of them is taking care of ourselves.
What we eat, what we do, what we surround ourselves with, who we interact with on a daily basis—these things have deeper implications. Some days, you’re angrier than a bull and it’s all because you skipped dinner last night. So hydrate, eat well and exercise. Be around people who inspire, motivate and make you happy.