- Two years ago I was diagnosed with a panic disorder.
- I’ve experimented with a range of coping mechanisms since then.
- Writing provides a great release when anxiety overcomes me.
- Finding a creative outlet to channel your anxiety towards can make a huge difference when dealing with it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about anxiety, it’s how different each person’s experience is with it. A coping technique that works for one person may not work for another. Someone might react well to a certain medicine while another person had to go off it.
Although this is true, that doesn’t change the fact that sharing coping mechanisms can make a world of difference. I’ve had things suggested to me I would have never thought of only to realise that, when implemented, they lowered my anxiety. So now I’d like to share the one thing always guaranteed to tame my anxiety.
You see, while habits like meditation and exercise generally help me cope with keeping my panic disorder at bay, they’re not a guarantee. There’s only one thing I do that seems to always center me and it’s this, right now: writing.
Whether I’m writing directly about my panic disorder or allowing myself to free flow words onto a page, the release allows me to make sense of the chaos in my brain
Down on paper, no problem seems as big. In fact, that release may pinpoint exactly what is causing your anxiety in the first place. Writing is also an amazing release for so many people. Diaries are a thing for a reason, right?
How it works is if I notice my anxiety levels have risen – for example, if I can’t think as clearly or I seem tense for unexplained reasons – I’ll find whatever I can to write on. Sometimes I prefer actual pen to paper, but in 2018, if I’m not home, it’s rare that I have a pen and paper with me. That means if I feel that all too familiar wave of anxiety overcome me or a dark cloud seep into my thoughts, I have to release it via whatever is around. Usually, that means the notes section on my phone. I’ve also found that having a Google Doc ready to divulge my thoughts into can be really helpful.
I’m not alone in this either – experts agree that journaling can be a huge help to people with anxiety
The University of Rochester pointed out that journaling is a tool often suggested to help people manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and more.
“When you have a problem and you’re stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety,” according to the university’s health encyclopedia. “Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.”
Researchers at Harvard also found a link between writing out problems and stress reduction and cited other studies that backed up those claims as well.
The point is to find a way to remove yourself from the anxiety and look at it from the outside
When you’re enveloped in panic or worry, it’s all too easy to let it overcome you. By putting it on paper, you’ve found a way to sort through it that also sets your mind free.
If writing it out doesn’t seem to work for you, try to think about which creative release would, like painting, sculpting, making flower arrangements, or anything where you find a release and joy in. It doesn’t matter what you produce, that’s not why you’re doing it. It’s to come to terms with how you’re feeling.
Unfortunately, there’s no one thing that will act as a cure-all when it comes to anxiety. All you can do is try experimenting with different techniques and determine which one works best for you. The most important thing is to remember that, under no circumstances, do you have to just live with anxiety. There are always other things to try and you are never alone in trying them.
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