Whether we like it or not, anxiety is a part of life today. With so many things demanding our attention, from bills to be paid to maintaining our homes to worries about health, there are a million and one things that may cause that unpleasant knot in the stomach.
Now these suggestions are not for acute anxiety, for which you ought to consult a doctor, but rather for the everyday sort that just gets a little out of hand now and then. So what can you do now to cope with anxiety?
Change Your Routine
You may be surprised how just a little change in routine makes you feel better. When we do the same things in the same way day in day out, our brain lacks stimulation. Your brain needs stimulation the way your body needs vitamins and nutrients. So change something. It doesn't have to be too drastic. Change your route to work. If you usually drive, try public transport or take a bike or walk if it's not too far. If you've a day off, just go someplace you've never been before. Take a wander around some town you're unfamiliar with. Have a coffee in a cafe you've never been too. You get the idea. Just do something or go somewhere different that's out of your normal routine.
There Are No Strangers, Just . . .
I know the prospect of speaking to a complete and total stranger is a bit daunting, particularly if you're feeling a little glum. But you may find connecting with people you've never met before opens the world up to you in marvelous new ways.
When we spark up a conversation with a stranger, many positive things are occurring simultaneously. You are taking your mind off yourself, your mind is being stimulated in a way that it isn't when you're just talking to your regular friends and acquaintances, and you're opening up your possibilities. Maybe they're just the person to open that door to get you that dream job. On the other hand, maybe they are lonely and would love nothing more than to share their thoughts, in which case you've benefited them.
Truly happy people who have learned how to cope with anxiety definitely do not view life with a take take take attitude. Speaking with strangers is the perfect way to flex your give and take muscles.
Imagine the Earth Has Blown Up.
At first glance this doesn't seem like it would have any beneficial effects on your anxiety levels, but with an added tweak, it might. Imagine the earth has been destroyed by utterly nefarious aliens (for whatever reason). Really imagine the whole thing has gone. No more trees. No more flowers. No more people. No more fish and chips. Absolutely nothing. Linger in the emptiness for a moment or two until you feel it. Now hit the rewind in your mind. Open your eyes and imagine the the earth has just been miraculously all put back together. Everything is where it should be and as it was moments before our alien friends destroyed it. The trees and flowers are there. The people are there. The fish an chip shops have returned, the cafes and the hustle and bustle, all of it has returned. I guarantee you'll see things from a fresh perspective and whatever may have been causing your anxiety may have just diminish too.
Read a Book
Get hold of a good book and immerse yourself in the story. I'm not referring to one of those millions upon millions of self-help books that tell you how to cope with anxiety and be more positive, but I'm talking about literature.
I find classical literature does it for me. If I read something by Thomas Hardy or one of the Bronte sisters, I'm transported to more simple times (at least that's how I perceive it) and immersed in a gripping story. Paul Auster said, "Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author's words reverberating in your head." Find a good book, and get reading.
Buy a Notebook
Buy a notebook and just write absolutely anything. Don't stop to think. Many professional writers do this to generate ideas feeling that they tap into the deeper regions of the subconscious mind this way. You can tap into the same power and free up pent up creative forces. You may find solutions to some of the causes of your anxiety this way. Writing this way enables you to get a handle on issues that may be causing you anxiety.
Sometimes when we are experiencing anxiety our thoughts race around and our thoughts get into one gigantic nebulous mess of confusion. When we write, we channel those tangled thoughts, in effect untangling them, and by giving them a shape we can work with them.
Oh, and please don't use your Smartphone's notebook function. The tap to type function will slow the creative process. Get a notebook and enjoy physically sweeping the pen across the page. Who knows what you may write.
Visit a Planetarium
Few things can refocus our perspective than when contemplating the enormity and immensity of space. Visiting a planetarium offers many opportunities to reinforce your own smallness. Very often you will find a cinematic presentation with a theme regarding the mind boggling vastness of our universe, usually presented on an IMAX screen on the domed ceiling up above.
I went on a breathtaking ride around the universe while visiting the Natural History Museum in New York City. The program lifted me out of my seat so that firstly I was looking down on New York City, then on the Earth itself. I was transported farther out into the solar system and then beyond the galaxy. When once returned to the Earth, things, including niggling anxieties looked very different. I often reflect on that simulated journey into outer space and can't help feeling better as a result.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on September 30, 2017:
Very unique suggestions, not too clinical ways to deal with anxiety. Helpful and well done.