We all get anxious. Juggling multiple responsibilities, applying for jobs, getting enough food to eat…it’s just college life, and it’s hard to calm down. Now I’m a very anxious person. Apparently I’m so anxious that none of my friends thought to point out that it’s not healthy to always be worried about something. They assumed that I knew this and chose to continue worrying anyway.
Needless to say, I’ve been trying to be less anxious for the sake of my own sanity. Also, I hear that stress makes you sick. Here’s what to try if you know that there’s nothing you can do about the situation at hand.
Level 1: Mildly Anxious
There is nothing you can change about the situation, but you’re anxious anyway. Maybe there’s an exam that you have to write tomorrow, but you’ve already done all the practice exams and have scored decently high. In this case, remember, that there’s really no reason to worry, and you just need to take a few deep breaths. In this situation, worrying is normal.
Suggestion: Try mindfulness. It really helps me relax if I’m in a state where I can still think logically.
Level 2: Seriously Anxious, Please Don’t Talk to Me
Sometimes I worry about nothing at all. I mean nothing. It’s not like an exam where it’s normal to be anxious – I’m just straight up worried for no good reason at all. At times like these, I’m not thinking clearly enough to remember to breathe in and out. My brain just feels like there’s a crazy chicken running around inside of it (is that weird?).
Suggestion: Find something that you enjoy doing. This should be something that makes you feel accomplished afterwards. It shouldn’t act as a distraction because then you’ll just go back to being seriously anxious once you finish the activity.
Level 3: ABORT MISSION
You have no idea what you’re thinking about and nothing really makes sense and you’re kind of thinking but not really and focus is not really a thing right now and oh my goodness do you want a cookie I want a cookie and everybody should have cookies except not because then there would be fewer cookies for me and that would make me sad well sadder than I already am and do you want me to be sad I really hope not because that would make me double sad and double sad is worse than really sad and that’s not ideal at all.
Suggestion: Distract yourself until you can carry out the suggestion for Level 2. Some people crawl into bed for a while. Others melt their brains by watching TV. Still others read books. Do whatever it is that you need to do to help yourself think clearly.
Some of this stuff sounds silly, but when you reach the types of anxiety levels that I have, they really help.
How do you like to relax?
Featured Image courtesy of Freddie Pena via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).