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Who doesn’t know that feeling. A thought, creeping up on you, manifesting itself in your mind, taking away your breath.

Anxiety is a common guest. We live in a society of performers, of achievers, and in a society that overall demands high standards from us.

Whether it is at home, in school or college. It seems like we could always do more, always work harder, always please someone else. That, too often makes it seem like we tend to forget about ourselves and that our bodies have demands, too.

We live in a modern society but our brains have been, neurologically speaking, the same for hundreds of years. There is a correlation between mental health issues and digitalization. We are always available, always on our phones, always responding to texts, and communicating. There is hardly a time for our brains to relax.

That explains why it isn’t always easy to let go of thoughts that are bothering you. Especially when you are a worrier and more on the sensitive side of the scale per se.

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Here comes a little collection of what can make life much easier, or what at least - always helps me settle my thoughts when they go wild:

Don’t compare

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There will always be someone around you that just seems to effortlessly handle their live much better than you do. People are seemingly smarter and prettier than you, have more friends, or achieve more - but that is perfectly okay. As soon as you stop worrying about everyone around you, you can start focusing on what you are capable of, and that is A LOT. Maybe you don’t need to be a high achiever in school, because you are creative, and kind and your ideas can change the world, a little bit at a time.

Learn how to breathe

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When anxiety hits and your thoughts go wild, it gets difficult to breathe. Shortness of breath and tightness of the chest are very common symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Meditation techniques don’t work for everyone, but they clearly help becoming more aware of your breath itself. Try practising meditative breathing every now and again, so when that thought comes and anxiety rolls over you, you have techniques to control your breath.

Thoughts often come at night. When our bodies start relaxing from a hectic day, our brain starts processing and we can get caught up in thinking about things, we’d love to let go, to put aside.
Regular breathing can help putting your mind off something, try it out!

Learn about the things that calm you

Breathing practice can be one, but everyone has his or her own rituals. It is important to get to know yourself and learn about the little things that calm your mind.

I learned to make lists, so from time to time, when things get stressful, I can remind myself of what is good for me.

This could be everything. Like cleaning your room, taking a walk, sitting on a bench listening to music, or cuddling a pet. For me it is water. Always has been, in any imaginable form. So I try to integrate swimming into my weekly routine.

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Take your time

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Times are stressful, times are busy. Deadlines, assignments, obligations - our brains are constantly spinning. Even though tasks for school or your jobs have to be done on time, remember to balance your free time in order to give your mind a break. Stress during leisure time is a thing so it’s not astonishing we lie in bed at night and can’t sleep. Our brains need a break to process in order to not get stuck with thoughts.

Listen to yourself, our bodies have the power to tell us what they need. And they will clearly tell you to slow down, when you’re speeding through life.

Remember you are not alone

It always helped me to learn about things that affect me. For example, learning about the origins of anxiety puts things into calming perspective.

The National Institute of Mental Health for example states that Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness among adults in the U.S., affecting 18% of the population.
And that is only the US.

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So THE ONE THING we all have to understand is that we are never alone in this world, and that other people share the same problems, fears, or insecurities. The moment you open up about it, is the moment you realize that there are so many people battling the same demons you thought you were up against on your own.

Opening up is liberating. I promise. Finding people you can talk to about the thoughts and anxieties is gold.

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And even if you haven’t found those friends, colleagues or classmates yet, remembering they’re out there can give you a lot of strength.

Reading helps, too. A lot. Reading about people who feel the same ways like you can maybe even supplement you with the support you need.

Give it a try! <3