Having anxiety can be really hard, and I’ve struggled with it for years. The last few months I’ve been able to control it pretty good, and felt happier than ever, even when faced with anxiety triggers. It wasn’t easy getting to this point, and it takes quite a bit of effort, but everything I do to keep my anxiety under control is more than worth it. I’m a stronger, happier and more confident person now, and I’m no longer letting my anxiety sabotage myself. So what has helped me get to this point?
Therapy is what’s helping me the most when it comes to managing my anxiety. Ever since I started, in January 2016, I’ve seen my mental health improve drastically. Therapy helps me get to know myself, discover my anxiety triggers, and teaches me how to deal with my emotions. I’ve become so much stronger and more confident, and I sometimes go days without noticing my anxiety now!
Helps me with: Getting to know myself and my anxiety triggers, teaching me how to deal with my emotions, reducing anxiety
I had a rough start with meditation. I tried it for more than a year, but it made my anxiety worse and I became hyper-aware of my flaws, which I couldn’t deal with. However, therapy taught me about guided meditation, which works way better for me. I now use the Headspace and YouTube videos, and I love it!
Helps me with: Becoming aware of my emotions, destressing, clearing my head, reducing negative emotions
I’ve always enjoyed being creative, and making art has always been a big passion of mine. It’s not only fun and relaxing, but it also helps me express my feelings better. It’s so much easier fir me to describe how I’m feeling using pictures or other visuals, compared to using words (although I am getting better at writing about my feelings as well). I’m also selling my art, and getting sales is definitely a little confidence booster as well!
Helps me with: Expressing my feelings, having fun, gaining confidence
Writing about my mental health helps me understand it better, and sharing my story with the world makes me feel empowered and helpful. Knowing that I’m helping people is giving me a lot of confidence and positive energy. And blogging has also helped me connect with other people with similar struggles, showing me I’m not alone and helping me pull through difficult situations.
Helps me with: Gaining confidence, understanding my mental health, knowing I’m not alone
Doing things I love
This is something I’ve often struggled with, as prioritizing your own happiness is sometimes looked upon as selfish or narcissistic. But I’ve learned that doing things you love, and saying no to whatever makes you feel bad, is a must for feeling happy. I’m starting to travel more (even do solo-travel) and visit all those places I always wanted to visit. And on a daily basis, I try to do at least one thing that makes me happy, whether it’s hot yoga or watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Helps me with: Feeling happier, becoming more positive
I’ve written about the gratitude challenge a couple of times on my blog. It’s something I absolutely love doing, either alone by writing in a gratitude journal (it’s easy to create your own), or together with my boyfriend by asking each other what we’re grateful for each evening. I’m one of those people who remembers negative situations way better than positive situations, so forcing myself to think about my day/life and list things I’m grateful for is helping me become a much more positive person.
Helps me with: Seeing the positive things in life, putting things in perspective, feeling grateful
Whether it’s setting off time to drink my favorite cup of tea, filling in a self-love or anti-anxiety printable, getting a massage, going to the spa, lighting candles or practicing yoga, I love taking care of myself. By doing that I can show myself that I matter and that I deserve happiness. And it’s also a perfect way to relax and clear your mind.
Helps me with: Loving myself, reducing negative emotions, relaxing, destressing
Talking to others about my mental health
This is by far one of the scariest – but also most important – things I’m doing to improve my anxiety. There is so much stigma around mental health, that talking about it with others becomes very scary. Not everyone knows I’m in therapy or suffer from anxiety, but most of the people that are close to me do, and that’s what matters.
I can always talk to my boyfriend or friends about what’s going on, and I have my therapist and Twitter friends as well. There will always be someone to support me and make me feel better. Plus, now that people know what I’m struggling with, they understand me a bit better as well and saying “Sorry, can’t go out tonight because I’m not feeling well” becomes a lot easier.
Helps me with: Building a support system, dealing with negative emotions, feeling safe and loved
Artworks in this post are made by me. Check out my Society6 store if you want to see more.