Surprisingly enough, I actually got positive feedback on the last post, so I guess I’ll continue. I thought more about how my anxiety works, and how I deal with it. Usually when I go through an anxiety-filled situation, I reward myself with mass amounts of alone time. I eat ice cream, and I watch movies the rest of the day as I allow myself to decompress.
However, there is something I’ve noticed that takes away from the anxiety I feel in most situations! In general, if I’m distracted by something, I don’t really notice what’s happening around me. A lot of people with anxiety don’t like loud noises. I know I don’t. So listening to music and blocking out the sounds of a supermarket on a Saturday or the sounds of a mall during the weekend really lowers my anxiety. Listening to the lyrics reminds me of home, because I almost always have music playing at home.
This isn’t a solution you can always use. There are some situations in which you can’t listen to music. Like in a classroom. The teacher does not always allow you to take out a wad of earbuds and your phone. I offer other things you may do with your time!
Read something. If you’re taking a train or bus, and you’re wedged between two people, you usually don’t want to focus on how uncomfortably your shoulders are pressed to their’s. Being in a metal box full of people that’s hurtling down the street at high speeds is already freaky enough. Read an article or a book on your phone. If you have an actual book on you, that’s even better! Go you! Getting lost in a story is a good way to block out potential panic attack triggers.
Fiddle with something. Busy yourself with a pencil or the zipper of your jacket. Maybe invest in a fidget cube. I have one, and it fits in my pocket. I can quietly access it at almost anytime. It’s got six sides to explore! I easily get lost in thought while messing around with it.
This is more for classrooms: But you can doodle. Some teachers don’t like it when you scribble all over your paper, but I don’t really care about their opinions. I do random designs. I draw faces. Sometimes I do little overlapping circles all across the back of my paper. It’s time consuming.
Again, this one is more for classrooms, but actually doing your work is a very good distraction. Yeah, it really sucks, and it’s boring. It’s also really hard. However, it makes you think and use all your brain power. Especially math. So maybe you don’t like doing it, and it’s stressful, but at least you’re not focusing on your rambunctious classmates.
This one works best in a car or supermarket. Counting. When in a a car or bus, I look out the window and decide on a color of car. Most of the time I pick red. I count all the red cars that pass through my line of sight. It becomes a game, and I’m competing against myself. I become so focused on counting that I don’t even notice Little Timmy throwing Cheetos and screaming in the back of the bus. Or I don’t even comprehend my little sister screeching in the back seat.
If you’re the one driving… focus on driving man. You got this.
For the supermarket and counting… it’s a bit tougher, I will admit. You usually move through aisles pretty fast. I usually pick something specific. What I find works best is picking two things: Milk and fruit. Anything that has milk or fruit in it gets counted. I keep my eyes peeled for anything with cheese in it. I check the backs of bags. It definitely keeps me distracted.
These methods will only work if you want them to work. You’ve gotta get really into it, and you have to want to stay calm. If you think it sounds stupid, and you don’t think it will work, it’s not going to. It’s like when you’re trying not to laugh, so you tell yourself over and over again that the thing is stupid, and you think about your dead grandma, and suddenly that thing isn’t funny anymore. It’s just stupid and petty, and there’s no way it could make you smile. You’ve convinced yourself that something you thought was funny seconds before is now dumb, and boring.
These are just a few ways I thought of. If anyone is actually reading this, and you find that you wish to share a way in which you deal with your anxiety, I am all ears. Peace out, yo diggity.