There's no way to 'fix' anxiety. If you suffer from it, it stays with you in some shape or form long-term. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to manage it; methods that serve to calm you down and give you back the control you so desperately need.
And there are different things that work for different people when it comes to overcoming anxiety, as these women shared with us:
"In October, I started running and I can't quite quantify the good it has done. Anxiety makes you second guess everything you do to the point that you feel like you are, in fact, not very good at anything. No good at your job, at being a girlfriend, at running...
"Watching my body learn how to run, my fitness improve and my ability to commit to a strict training plan made me realise that I was actually alright at something, I was doing this well. The endorphins, fresh air and being just with yourself for a few hours a week only aided this.
"I ran the London Marathon in April and crossed that finish line feeling, for the first time in my life, that actually I could achieve stuff. I'd done it - I'd done it well - and therefore I could do anything if I just stopped listening to the anxious voices in my mind. My brain has never felt better. My feet, however, have." Jo, 29, writer and blogger @LadyLondon
I ran the bloody marathon. What a day. Few bouts of tears and a near miss at mile 18 when I considered getting uber. But I didn’t. Thanks to everyone for coming to cheer me on. You literally made it possible 🤗 #londonmarathon #londonmarathon2018 #neveragainimeanit
A post shared by Jo Irwin (@_theladylondon) on Apr 22, 2018 at 3:17pm PDT
2. Facing your fears
"I push myself to do things that scare me because I don't want to live a life of what-ifs. My rule tends to be that if I think I'll enjoy something but it's scary, I should do it. I don't want to regret not doing something. For example, last year I was invited to Italy for the day to spend time with Abarth and Riva Yachts, it meant flying on my own and meeting lots of new people. That was a little daunting but the thought of spending a day in the sun, with one of my favourite car brands was too much to pass up.
"More recently I, soberly, decided to try my hand at karaoke. I'm a terrible singer and usually keep my karaoke sessions confined to my car but I felt it important that I sing on my own, just once. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, which is true for many of the things that make me anxious.
"I do these things to show myself that it'll never be as bad as I think it'll be, even when it's a properly scary thing like singing in front of people or flying on my own." - Jess, 29, founder of Racing Mentor
3. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises
"I’ve had anxiety since I was about 22 and deal with it through yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. It’ll never get rid of it but it’s a huge help calming down.
"I took learnings from yoga classes and practiced at home. When I moved to London I didn’t particularly have the cash to continue so I began looking up YouTube videos I could follow from my bedroom. I try to do 10 minutes when I wake up and just before going to bed. They calm me down and give me a clear head for the day. Any midday emergencies, I just nip into a back room at work or the toilet and have a mini session, which really helps." - Fi, 27, @fikievenaar
4. Getting enough sleep
"Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate my anxiety. If your anxiety is triggered by tiredness, you may want to try implementing a regular nightly routine that involves taking some time out for yourself. This helps me to get a healthy 7-8 hours sleep, keeps my anxiety at bay, and allows me to function normally the next day. For me, part of this routine can include reading my favourite book, listening to music (big shout out to Magic FM), or hate-watching trash TV - as long as it's enjoyable and I feel relaxed, it's definitely going to help." - Laura, 28, @LauraHindley2
5. Going travelling
"After suffering needlessly from social anxiety for two years, having struggled to leave the house at my lowest, I discovered an amazing alternative therapy called EFT (emotional freedom technique). I had tried CBT which didn't work that well for me, but EFT worked by 'tapping' on certain points of the body while expressing your negative emotions, clearing deep-rooted patterns in the subconscious. It completely dissolved my anxiety, changing my life, mindset and confidence levels, and with this new found confidence I went on to quit my job to travel world.
"I travelled around South America (from Brazil and Colombia right down to the southern most point of Argentina) for 6 months which was the most eye opening and liberating experience. It was a huge confidence builder to meet new people every day, and knowing I was armed with my EFT technique meant I felt like I could do anything. It was great to know I was clearing all these little self esteem issues from my childhood each time I tap.
"I have since returned to become a self-employed consultant and tripled my salary in 8 months. I’ve come back from travelling having learnt what’s important to me: family and friends - that’s what ‘home’ is for me." - Ruth, 25, @RuthWoodhead
Perfect last day in Paradise 💛💙❤️ @rach167_ . . . #colombia #cartagena #islagrande #southamerica #backpacking #backpacking #adventure #travelgram #instatravel #travelling #potd #sunset #paradise #beautiful #happy #silhouette #sea #hometime
A post shared by Ruth ⭐️ (@thisisruthlesss) on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:52am PST
6. Online therapy
"I've always had OCD since I was young, and that sometimes manifested itself as anxiety, but it wasn't until I had my children that I started to really struggle with anxious thoughts. I used an online workshop course called Therapy for You - it has lots of different treatment paths and you can choose online workshops, group therapy or 1-2-1 therapy. It taught me simple techniques like learning to understand my own triggers (for me it's when I become extremely tired or when I've watched something on TV late at night/seen something in the press, if I'm anxious at the time I start to worry that it's going to happen to me).
"One of the best techniques I've learned is to be proactive - for example I get quite bad anxiety about leaving my children and going anywhere with my husband in the car. The fear is that we'll both have something happen to us at the same time and the kids will be left without both parents. To try and combat this a little bit I made sure we had a will in place and a letter of wishes about what should happen to the kids. It's simple things to try and lessen the chance of the anxiety/panic attack happening.
"I also use an anxiety app, Self Help Anxiety Management, which lets me build my own toolkit and track how my anxiety is. Plus I've used a range of relaxation apps to help me sleep. My anxiety always seems to strike in the middle of the night, so something to help relaxation and sleep patterns is really important to me." - Fiona, 38, Founder of The Confidence Club
7. Getting a pet
"As far back as I can remember, I’ve shown signs of anxiety, although I used to shrug it off, having grown up just accepting that I simply worry about everything all the time. When I was planning my wedding in 2016, I remember missing a payment for our venue. Looking back, it was completely fine and there was no issues – but I had a feeling like I’ve never felt before. Home alone, I suddenly started to feel like I couldn’t breathe. I had no idea what was happening, and started to panic. I ran myself a bath and laying in the darkness of my bathroom, the penny finally dropped; I realised I was having a mild panic attack. This is exactly the moment that I needed. It was like my body was screaming out to me.
"I started to read about anxiety on various blogs and social media pages, and they were helpful in making me understand what was happening and offering tools to manage it. I never really told anyone (because I thought they wouldn’t understand), and I continued to have episodes of anxiety which I tried to contain using different exercises like walking, breathing, listening to mindfulness podcasts, switching off etc.
"In the end, though, my tactic was to completely ignore and hide my anxiety – which in hindsight was so wrong. Last April, completely separate to my anxiety issues, my husband and I decided to rescue a dog. By chance we stumbled across a greyhound called Arlo, and we fell completely in love with him. All of a sudden the heaviest weight was lifted from my shoulders. I finally had a focus.
"It took about five months to get Arlo settled into life as a pet, and in that time my anxiety has pretty much banished. There are sometimes times when I can sense or feel it coming across me, but I feel totally in control now and I’m certain Arlo has a lot to do with that. Waking up in the morning now, I take one glance at my phone screen to check I haven’t missed any urgent calls or emails, and I’m in my gym kit and out the door. I take an hour's walk in the beautiful Alexandra Palace in North London, I run for part of the walk and then take the journey home really easy. In the evening when my husband is home, we all go for another hour's walk. I rescued Arlo, but I really believe that he in fact rescued me!" - Daisy, 28, @Daisy_Dighton
8. Writing things down
"I've suffered with mental health issues for about six years now. It was during a period in 2016 when I was ill that I found writing a great way to help my anxiety. I began a blog during this period and found it was a really great form of therapy. Now, I still have my blog and write about food and mental health, and I still find it a really great form of therapy.
"If I'm having a bad mental health day - if I've done something that has made me feel particularly anxious or I'm just feeling quite low - I find sitting down and writing a food blog post a really great way to make myself feel better. You just have to focus on what you're writing and you totally forget about things that have been worrying you." - Calli, 19, @callikitson
9. Positive affirmations
"Five years ago I lost my career in management due to being unable to work after a nervous breakdown. I was left with crippling anxiety, and avoided social situations for over a year. The anxiety I suffer is generally stress-related and I'm a textbook people pleaser, so I often find myself saying yes to lots of projects when I really don't have the mental capacity for a heavy workload.
"Having suffered with anxiety for so long, I've learned to tune into my own emotional state and forgive myself for not always feeling top of my game. I do this by reading positive affirmations, which I initially thought were a load of rubbish! I use affirmations by a brand called I Can Cards which are specifically designed for people with anxiety, so they target my negative thought patterns without me having to really do any deep thinking.
"For example, I'm really stressed this week because I have a lot of work to do, but I picked out the card which says 'I can slow down'. This is such a simple but effective affirmation for me because it reminded that its OK to have a break, and that going at a million miles per hour isn't really helping. My other favourites are 'I can recognise my stress triggers', which forces me to objectively take a look at my situation and eliminate bad habits like too much coffee. It reminds me to counteract these habits with positive behaviours like drinking more water and eating a proper meal, which can have a huge impact on my anxiety levels.
"It sounds like a trivial thing but reading a new affirmation everyday has been such a powerful habit for me, to the point where it can turn my mood around, avoiding a potential meltdown and leading to a really productive day." - Fiona, 31, writer and blogger
I Can Do This// Come on Monday you pain in the arse...let’s do this! 💪🏻⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo by @fionalikestoblog who is flat lay qween!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #affirmationcards #affirmationofday #affirmation #icancards #postnataldepression #positivity #mentalhealthjourney #positiveaffirmations #mindfulness #everydaymindfulness #depression #depressionandanxiety #selfcare #selflove #shopsmall #wisdom #positivevibestoday #positivevibes #changeyourmindset #changeyourlife #anxiety #selfhelp #selfhelpquotes #empowerment #changefromwithin #youvegotthis #youcandothis #alternativetherapy #roadtorecovery #fistpump
A post shared by I Can Cards | Amy Holland (@icancards) on Apr 9, 2018 at 12:30am PDT
10. Reading up on it
"I read an amazing book that emphasised the need to move your focus onto something else when anxiety attacks, the book was called Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety by Robert Duff it was extremely helpful with my anxiety. There is a breathing method in there that has really helps me whenever I have an attack among other things such as letters, and I love the way Robert talks to you in the book.
"I also make sure that when I have an attack I sit down and try to rationalise my thinking, asking myself: 'is the thought that brought on my attack 100% true from the facts that I have in front of me?' I find my attacks are usually brought on by my own false assumptions and I convince myself these assumptions must be true. I also skip to the worst possible scenario, so taking the time out to think the facts through, and sometimes talking the facts out with another person helps me to stem my anxiety and look at the situation more realistically." - Natalie, 30, @dosblog
11. Listening to podcasts
"I've been aware of my anxiety since I was 13/14, recognising that my emotions and behaviour and the way I coped with things was different to others. Years later I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety, and I regularly worry about anything or everything. I've been given anti-depressants but I like to try and cope in other ways.
"I have only just started listening to podcasts this year and I don't know why I didn't start sooner! I use these podcasts the same way as I use music; to distract me from negative thoughts and to keep my focussed. That's why I find them really useful when I'm doing my uni work or other tasks as they keep me on track. I use them as a tool to zone out, and being a major over thinker it helps me separate from my own negative thoughts. Podcasts I'd recommend are: Private Parts by Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle - it's funny, educational, interesting, you don't have to be a Made in Chelsea fan - and Happy Place by Fearne Cotton. This is very useful for those suffering from mental health as it shows that you're not alone." - Abbie, 20, @_abblamb
A post shared by Fearne (@fearnecotton) on Apr 24, 2018 at 1:29am PDT
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