Jade talks about what anxiety is, how it might affect us and shares their top tips for looking after our anxiety.
Ways to cope with anxiety
What is anxiety? Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. It’s estimated that around 5% of the UK population suffers from generalised anxiety disorder (NHS). Anxiety can be experienced as part of many other mental health conditions, such as PTSD, Panic Disorder, Phobias, Social Anxiety and lots more. I myself, have dealt with anxiety for around 10 years. Over the years I have developed ways to manage my anxiety and I wanted to share my favourite tips for dealing with anxiety in day to day life.
I find it extremely difficult to be in places with a lot of people or travel via public transport. Feelings of panic and worry can arise. Sometimes when we experience these feelings, our senses can become heightened, meaning noises can seem louder and lights can feel brighter. My favourite strategy is using devices to assist these issues. Sunglasses and snapbacks are not only a great fashion choice, but an amazing way to cope with lights that are too bright. Ear defenders, earphones and headphones can assist with the noise of busy places. I personally love my earphones because I can listen to music and control the amount of noise coming into my ears and it distracts me from the loudness of public places. Remember, there’s absolutely no shame in needing to use any of these assistive devices, if it helps. Why not use it?
Overthinking can be a massive problem for people with anxiety. Overthinking is when you have a thought and worry about it too much. For example, when I’m waiting on public transport, I worry the bus won’t turn up. I’ll then overthink about the knock-on effect this will have on my day and feel myself thinking about things that haven’t even happened yet and making up scenarios in my head of all the things that could go wrong. When I find myself overthinking, I like to use mindfulness. Mindfulness is extremely broad so what works for me, may not work for you. For example, I really love the mindful breathing techniques that you can find and follow along with on YouTube. This helps me slow my heart rate down and think of things rationally. Speaking to a trusted friend or grown up can also help these feelings. Discussing what you’re overthinking about can help you find out that things aren’t as bad as you feel they are.
Anxiety can cause us to feel like we want to run away. When I was younger, I was really bad at running away and not knowing where I was going but my main aim was to escape the situation making me anxious. This is dangerous for many reasons and can lead to you getting hurt, so finding your own escape route can be a great way to keep yourself safe and find a spot where you can be alone if needed. Make sure and tell the people you’re with where your escape route is and where you can be found. Never go anywhere without telling those you’re with! I always plan ahead and think of where I’m going and where the best place for me to be alone is when I need it, I always tell my friends where I’m going and where I can be found if I do go to my escape route. Sometimes, I’ll even ask my friends to join me because having someone to speak to about these feelings can help me calm down quicker. You may not need to use your escape route. Personally, having the escape route accessible to me can make me feel calmer and much safer!
It’s important that you seek professional help if needed. There’s absolutely no shame in speaking to someone about your anxiety if it’s becoming too difficult to manage. Anxiety is an extremely hard thing to cope with. I was 12 when I first sought out help from my GP about my anxiety. You’re never too young to experience anxiety and you’re never too young to get help for anxiety. If you’re struggling, please always reach out and ask for support. Support is always available to you!
Remember to look after yourself and think about your own mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Check out our Anxiety article for more information.
Tammy, a mental health therapist, shares a range of techniques to support your mental health and emotional wellbeing. If you are managing anxiety, feeling stressed or just need to focus, try giving these four techniques a go!
Take a look at our Mindfulness Monday videos if you're looking for some mindfulness activities.
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Young Scot supports young people to share their own voices, views and opinions and works with partner organisations and professionals who are experts in different topics. The views expressed in this blog are those of the young people, organisations and/or individuals who have taken part in the blog, not necessarily the views of Young Scot.