?By Nina Tracy
?Updated 4:41 PM ET, Mon Dec 21, 2015
First, a little bit about my views on anxiety. I view it as something that impacts everyone at one point or another in their lifetime. Everyone has been worried about a test, a date, money, health, etc. For some, it is easier to talk yourself through the anxiety and for others it takes time or can even be debilitating. Therefore, whether you are a person who describes yourself as a worrier or not, we all have a basic understanding of what anxiety feels like. Hopefully we all want to support one another in times when those feelings are bigger than others. Especially because we are in campaign season some are trying to exploit this anxiety or fear for their own political advantage by using exaggerations and deceptiveness to increase these feelings.
I hope that this doesn’t sound like I am saying to stop being worried. I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me to stop worrying, it doesn’t make me all of a sudden stop worrying. If that was all it took, that would be awesome! Worry and anxiety are a part of life. Life isn’t about not having those feelings or thoughts, it is about how we manage them and move forward with them.
Here are a few tips for dealing with anxiety around this topic:
- Create a safety plan.
This can be used if you begin to feel anxious and need a plan to get yourself somewhere to relax or it could be a plan if you begin to feel unsafe. Planning things out can sometimes help to quell anxiety because there is less unknown for your mind to get worried about. Example: I will utilize this safety plan if I begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed during the concert. Step 1: use deep breathing exercise. If needed go to step 2. Step 2: Go to the bathroom and get a drink of water, remove yourself from the crowded area. Take a five minute break. If necessary go to step 3. Step 3: Have someone on call (could be a friend or family member) that you can call or talk to. Step 4: If possible, politely remove yourself from where you are and go home or to another place you feel safe.
It is important that if you will be relying on anyone else in your safety plan that you let them know ahead of time that you might be needing them for support. And remember, this is just a sample plan so yours can look however you want!
- Deep breathing exercises.
There are basic deep breathing exercises where you take a deep breath in for five counts, hold it for two, and then let it out slowly for another five. Do about 10 breaths like this in order to help you be re-centered. There are phone apps that can also guide you through deep breathing exercises.
- Talk to a therapist.
Sometimes we all need a little extra support and talking to a therapist can be just what you need. This can help you learn new skills and give you a safe place to talk about what is happening for you.
- Don’t be embarrassed or use mean self talk.
When you’re feeling nervous or anxious it is easy to feel embarrassed or like you are the only one feeling that way. Try to avoid using mean self talk, for example: “You’re so stupid for being worried about going to opening night of the new movie, no one else is. Ugh! Why am I such a baby?” Believe it or not that can make the anxiety worse. Instead, try validating yourself, for example: “Ok, I’m feeling worried about the movie and that’s ok. I can go and if I feel really uncomfortable I have a plan for how to move through that.”
My hope is that this can come in handy if feelings of anxiety or worry begin to arise. Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you’re feeling this way and you are not the only one!
Photo taken Sept 17, 2009. Credit: Nesster