Whether you're simply an anxious person, or perhaps anxiety plays a big part on a daily, this article will give you 5 coping mechanisms to help you along the way!

I have anxiety disorder. Although there isn't any magic wand to stop it (I wish there was!), I suffer from it almost 24/7, panic attacks regularly and along the way I've picked up a few tips and tricks to calm your body down and maybe even stop a panic attack entirely. Obviously, everybody is different, so not all of the tips might help you. Before you read on, just remember that practise makes perfect meaning you're not going to be an expert at everything straight away - it's all about training your brain.

1. Find what triggers your panic attacks.

I know, I know, if you suffer from anxiety, you've probably heard this a million times. I feel you broski, but we never really get around to it. I've never had a sit down and really thought about it myself because recently it's all come to me naturally.
Knowing yourself and being aware of your triggers can seriously help you identify what is able to help you and calm you down by preventing the problem or finding ways to get over it.
I'm not just talking "going to maths class", what is it about math class that makes you panicky? Is it the noise? Is it the people around you? Is it where you sit? And realising that there's really nothing to be afraid of! Write it down, make a list. Our brains seem to make fears out of things that other people might not even think about, when usually there isn't much to be afraid of.
For example; crowds make me panicky because of the noise, and math class makes me anxious because of the people that sit around me.
Just remember there is always going to be somebody there for you - if you can't sit there, you don't have to.

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2. Find a quiet place and breathe.

During a panic attack, breathing is so much easier said than done. But there is so many different breathing mechanisms out there that you would never even think of. Some seem completely ridiculous, but you never know! There are tons of them out there, in books, on apps, on YouTube, anywhere. I'll touch up on a list of breathing mechanisms another time, though. For now, this one is my favourite.
So, find a quiet place. Whether that's the library, your car, or even a cubicle. You can be sitting or standing for this, as long as your feet is touching the ground, and the more you practise this, you might be able to get as far as not needing a quiet place to go.
You don't have to, but preferably close your eyes.
Try to rest your shoulders, your arms, just every muscle you possibly can. (I know this can be hard, especially when you're shaking or agitated)
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and when you breathe back out of your mouth, let your body go.
Like I said, it takes hella practise sometimes, but you should be able to feel the weight of your body through your feet.
Repeat this. While you do this, let your mind wander. This breathing exercise almost flushes all of the tension in your brain and body through your feet.
Eventually your breathing will revive itself, as well as all that tension, shakiness and agitation.

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3. Relaxing your muscles.

Simply relaxing your muscles doesn't sound too complex, but what most people don't realise is where all the muscle tension during panic attacks or nervousness comes from.
There are actually many places we forget to relax which causes most of the muscle tension, such as;

  • Pushing our tongues to the roof of our mouth (I realised that I don't actually get this but a lot of people, like my ma, seem to). Although we can't physically rest our tongues, just try not to hold it so tightly against the roof our your mouth.
  • Raising our shoulders. This is the main cause for muscle tension because there are so many muscles around our chest that just completely bundle our whole top half up. This is why you feel as if your choking, and your neck gets tight. So let those shoulders rest, bro.
  • Squeezing your legs together. Mostly when I sit down I tend to press my thighs together, its a large cause for shakiness - as well as raising our shoulders - and controls a lot of tension. Try relaxing your legs, almost as if they're loose jelly!
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4. Don't let those loud noises bother you.

This one is something I've only realised recently. Like I previously mentioned, loud noises from crowds is a huge trigger for me. Not even just crowds but in class, when my classmates are being loud, I get super panicky. But I know I'm not the only one who suffers from this.
I'm sure 90% of people who get panic attacks know the feeling where you're sitting in a public place, perhaps a coffee shop for example, and suddenly everything and everyone becomes louder. It's like a sense of reality gushing in and I usually hyperventilate with this.
Therefore, this tip will help you cope with this.
I always link this one to the previous breathing mechanism if there's background noise around me. Again, this needs a little practise but it'll all be worth it.
So when there's a lot of noise, it's almost as if the noise goes right through you. We absorb it and causes our anxiety brain to panic.
However, you can prevent it by letting the noise go over and under you instead.
It may sound silly, but perhaps imagine the noise as wind, leaves, or maybe even cars. Watch the cars go by, let the cars go over your head, not through your body.
Let the noise go by, listen to them. Simply let it calmly pass by, don't let it control you! What can you hear right now?

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5. Positivity.

This is the most important one. Our thoughts can be vicious, especially during a panic attack. It causes chaos in our minds. But you are not your thoughts! You can train your brain.
Stop thinking the worst, change your way of thinking;
Instead of thinking "what do I do now? How can I get out of this situation? Why am I like this? I hate everything", think "Imagine how proud of myself I'll be when I get through this. It won't last forever. If I get through this I can get through anything." Try not to be so negative. Talk to yourself the way you'd like to be talked to by other people. Never treat yourself the way the way you'd never dream of treating other people. I'm still in the process of this, I decided I was still going to start giving myself a positive mind 2 years ago and I still cant fully get the hang of it. So, if you're not a naturally optimistic person, again this will take practise. But it's completely worth it. A quick exercise I learnt is smiling for 30 to 60 seconds, it awakens the same nerves that activate when you laugh and generally uplifts your mood and confidence. This works more for when you're nervous or preparing yourself for something. You know what they say, positive mind makes a positive life.

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That pretty much sums up my first article! I know how hard living with anxiety is, so if you ever want to talk to anyone about it or you have any questions, message me.
Remember there will always be somebody there for you even when it doesn't feel like it. You're not alone, so many people suffer from all different kinds of anxiety of all different severities.
Don't forget to treat yourself! Go order a pizza, take a bubble bath, go on a shopping spree, take a nap, watch your favourite movie.
Never be afraid to be proud of yourself. You got yourself in and out of bed and you made it through this day and many others. You got this.

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