How to Cope with Anxiety?
Coping skills are your toolbox for anxiety, and they need to be individualized to fit into your life and work with your personality and circumstances.
Anxiety Part 5: Coping Skills for Anxiety
Estimated watch time: 6 mins 15 secs
In this video, we’ll discuss specific ways to cope with anxiety, how to integrate them into your life, and setting priorities that will allow you to flourish. Coping skills become your toolbox for anxiety, and they’re going to be different for everyone. Ultimately, learning to cope with anxiety is a form of self-care, and it’s essential for your mental and even physical health.
This lesson is about coping skills for anxiety. There are many options for healthy ways to cope and we will be talking about some of them here.
So far in this series, we’ve learned what anxiety is, its likely causes, and learn to identify personal triggers. Now let’s discuss how to cope with those triggers.
Individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety need to have a lot of coping skills at their fingertips in order to deal with symptoms as they arise. Coping skills are not one stop shopping and one size fits all. They need to be individualized, to fit into a person’s life and with their personality and their circumstances. Here, we’re going to discuss a myriad of coping skills. See which one of them interests you.
The possibilities for coping with anxiety in constructive ways are endless. In this segment, we’re going to discuss coping skills in the following categories creative, physical, social, health, humor and pets.
Whether a person considers themselves creative or not, creative endeavors can be great coping skills to help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Some examples include painting, drawing, working with clay, coloring, digital art. Writing poetry, stories or lyrics. Writing in a journal, sewing, knitting, carpentry, or even working on mechanics. Don’t judge yourself and don’t judge the quality of your art. Just enjoy it and relax while you’re doing it.
Physical activity tends to increase a sense of well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Remember to consult your medical provider before undertaking any active physical activity. Some physical coping skills examples are deep breathing, guided meditation, walking or jogging, biking, swimming. spending time in nature, hiking, gardening, listening to music or even aromatherapy. Remember that you don’t have to do any of these activities for a long time. A few minutes at a time may be all that it takes.
For some individuals, social interactions are actually a trigger for anxiety, but for others, interacting socially may help them calm down. Feel connected to others and thus reduce their feelings of anxiety. Some social interactions are meeting a friend or a family member for coffee or for a meal. Playing board games. Playing sports. You may want to get involved in intramural sports in your area, or you may just go to the local park and play basketball. Volunteering for a charity or helping a friend or neighbor, reaching out to others to help them tends to reduce our own feelings of anxiety. And don’t forget, ask for help for yourself when needed. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
Taking care of our health is a way to maintain balance and help us feel our best.
It can also guard against increased anxiety. So maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Maintain a healthy and varied diet. Avoid caffeine as much as you can and get sufficient sleep.
Humor can be a great way to reduce feelings of anxiety. When someone is feeling anxious they may not be in the mood for laughs, but it will pay off if they make the effort. Different ways to access humor are; watch a comedy on TV or a funny video. read a funny book, look-Up humorous photos or jokes online, or call a friend to laugh and reminisce about funny experiences.
Studies have shown that petting an animal can reduce feelings of anxiety and even reduce blood pressure. If you don’t have a pet of your own, maybe visit a friend who has a pet and spend some time with them. Some animal shelters even offer a dog for a day where you can take the dog off property and spend the day with them at the park or at your house.
Another good coping skill for anxiety is to develop positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that can help overcome anxiety and negative thoughts. Affirmations are realistic and prettying to use specifically. Use I statements such as “I can handle this”. “I am up to this challenge.” “I believe in myself.” Repeat them often. Put them on stickies around your home or in your car where you will see them often. They will become a habit in your mind and can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
Remember that there is so much more to you than your anxiety disorder or your symptoms of anxiety. You are a person with strengths and achievements. Make a list of your past successes and identify what strengths you use to achieve them. Was it your determination, persistence, ability to focus on problem solving or something else? How can you use those same strengths in coping with your anxiety?
Another good strategy for coping with anxiety is to set priorities. Make a to do list and prioritize it. Complete the most important tasks first, then check them off or cross them out once you have completed them. That provides a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Don’t forget to make yourself a priority. Put something for yourself on that list every day. While some triggers are avoidable, plan ahead for facing the unavoidable ones. Spend time alone when you need to. Reach out to others to get out of your own head. Take care of your own needs the way you would take care of the needs of someone you love.
Another important way of taking care of yourself is seeking professional help when needed. Meet with a therapist. Maintain appropriate medical or psychiatric appointments and be consistent with any prescribed medications.
Keep in mind the coping strategies we’ve discussed today, identify some of your own, and plan ahead. What combination of strategies will you use?
In the next lesson we will discuss seeking help for anxiety.
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