The anxiety guide. What calms and triggers anxiety.

Health,personal,6 January 2019

I’m amazed, grateful but of course sad at the same time. It saddens me, that so many of you also struggle with anxiety, but to stick to my new year’s resolution to always look at the bright side, I’m happy to see that most of you work on yourself and recognize these tough feelings. I’m also happy that you feel comfortable sharing your stories and feelings with me. It’s not always easy to bring out your darkness and weaknesses for everyone to see and take part of. At least it isn’t for me, because I feel like it sometimes makes it tougher when I know people will have opinions about things that are so personal to me. Feelings are normal but scary, because they are out of our control and we don’t know where they will take us. It’s much easier to handle opinions and criticism, if someone doesn’t like a pair of shoes I’m wearing.

I try to look at mental illness just like physical illness. It’s just as normal to feel down, dark, anxiety and ill mentally as it is to get a flu, fever, stomach pain or cancer even. Some are more serious, life threatening and long lasting than others, but it’s as much out of our control. We can visit a doctor or therapist and take care of ourselves the best we can, but the rest is a lottery.

Since you have countless of good advice, I think they deserve to be shared for everyone to take part of. In this post, I’ve gathered yours, and my tips and tools on how to handle, decrease and calm anxiety. I also decided to add triggers I try to stay away from.

Here is your list:

Spend time in nature. Take a walk in a calming surrounding and let your thoughts come as they are.

Running.

Walking.

Yoga. So happy to see that many of you have found yoga!

Meditation.

Traveling to calm and slow destinations.

Breathing. Concentrating on exhaling calmly helps to calm anxiety.

Practice acceptance.  Accept your anxiety and let the feelings come and stay. Blocking feelings won’t make them go away, so let them come and understand that painful feelings won’t kill you.

Therapy. Many of you have reached out to therapy in one way or another. I am a big believer in therapy, self-searching and personal understanding and construction work.

Do neutral things like scroll through Instagram, watch a feel- good movie or episode, online shopping.

Stay away from reading/ consuming the news.

Be creative. Paint or create art.

Write. Keep a diary.

Talk to your friends. Many of you mentioned your mothers <3.

Chocolate.

Spending time with animals.

Find comfort in spirituality or religion.

Music.

The ocean. Someone said that the fact that the ocean always keeps doing its thing, no matter what’s going on inside our heads and in the world, feels comforting.

Physical closeness. A hug is so much more calming and healing than we give it credit for.

The forest.

Peace and quiet. Calmness. This really works for me too, but not loneliness. There is a huge difference. Summer cabin and living in a bubble keeps my anxiety away. The more I do the more I experience anxiety.

Tell yourself it will be ok over and over again.

Do everyday chores.

Knitting.

Read a book. Tools I use and find helpful:

Talk. Speak up. Write. If something bothers me so much that it gives me anxiety, I can’t pretend that everything is normal even though I decide I will. During these past weeks, I’ve talked to everyone I’ve met and, in the past, as well. I’ve opened up to my hairdresser, at work, at meetings, with friends and family over and over again, day care teachers etc. Not to even mention my husband. I need to get it out of my system. But, I always put a timeframe on it. It’s ok to talk and dwell, but not forever. I give myself a couple of weeks, months or a year even, but when the time expires, I seek for professional help, so my near and dear ones don’t have to put up with my negative and heavy energies anymore. I find it important to surround myself with positivity, therefore I try to be that for others as well.

I stay away from consuming news completely.

Podcasts. If I’m alone, I get anxious more easily. I try to escape from my own head right before going to bed by listening to a happy podcast and scroll through Pinterest, online shops, fashion blogs or positive Instagram accounts.

Spirituality. Whether its yoga, inspirational quotes, a prayer or rocks, I find comfort in believing in something.  For me it changes, but most often I believe in everything at once. I’m open minded. I just find it easier to accept life as it is, and I feel more grounded and like I’m just part of a big puzzle.

Yoga helps me to calm down, find peace, understanding and kindness towards myself and others. It releases worry and stress and it helps me feel stronger.

Physical activity. Doing bodily activities and exhausting myself physically calms me down and makes me less restless mentally.

Neat and clean surroundings. A messy home stresses me out and puts me in a bad mood easily.

Fresh air, preferably away from home.My anxiety triggers:

Music.

Stressful environments.

Stress.

Ocean. For me however, the ocean often increases my anxiety, but it’s very individual of course.

Alcohol.

Staying up too late.

Darkness is probably my worst. Anxiety comes sneaking up on me just like the darkness. I can sleep during the day, but not during the night.

News are second to worst.

Negative energy.

Poor diet.

Being alone.

Hope these tips and tricks can help someone in some way. At least you helped me a lot in many ways. I felt less alone instantly and I’m going to try many of your tips. I just want to say, that my anxiety very much comes and goes. This terrible happening just touches me so much and triggered the anxiety in an unusually heavy way. I’ve been crying every day and although I’m sensitive, I rarely cry. My sensitivity usually bursts out in heavy thoughts, but not so much in strong emotions like this. Usually it’s very much bearable and just a part of who I am. I would more describe me as a highly sensitive person. I think a lot and analyze myself, my thoughts and life. And I worry. I’ve always been this way and I’m thankful for that. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes a bit tricky, but that’s how it is with everything.

6 Comments

  • Alice

    Hey
    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been having anxiety for about now 2 years every now and then, and been thinking ”is this normal – whats wrong with me?” Sometimes I feel ashamed that I feel anxiety because I have everything more than fine in my life. And I feel like I’m so lucky in my life that I shouldn’ t feel anxiety beacuse some people actually don’t have everything so well in their life than what I have, so I feel like I have no right to feel this way. Things could be so so so much worse – and than I kind of feel angry to myself of feeling these negative feelings. But it’s like you said – sad but also relief for me that there are many others having anxiety too.. That we are not alone.

    But I actually have also one tip that I feel the best way to calm me down and let me to fall sleep and relax and forget about everything pretty much ”every” time I feel anxious..
    The answer to me is ASMR. I really recommend to try it out with open mind. Headphones on and lay down and just breathe and listen. There are sooo many diffrent videos and many diffrent types of videos. My absolute favorite is GentleWhisperingASMR. She has so calming voice and I feel safe when ever I listen to her videos. There are also many videos on asmr community to spesifically relief anxiety and stress.
    Some people don’t get the relaxation and thats ok, but I really recommend to try it out and find the videos and sounds that works for you possibly :)

    Have a lovely weekend and soft winter <3

    • Sofia Ruutu

      Hi dear you! Thank you for sharing and yes, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxiety, but like I said before there is a limit of what is “normal” and what is not. If it really disturbs everyday life for a longer period, I think it’s time to do something about it. There is nothing wrong with you and I’m glad to hear you found a way that gives you relief. Thank you for your advice. I will for sure keep this in mind when I feel my anxiety keeps me from sleeping again. Now I’m feeling better in the evenings when my husband finally got back home <3.

      All the best to you!

  • Alexandra

    Well having feelings of anxiety from bad news etc. is perfectly normal and these (as described) have nothing to do with a mental illness e.g. general anxiety disorder or Panic disorder.

    Pretty girl problems..

    • Sofia Ruutu

      Dear Alexandra, I guess it’s clear to say, that you can’t diagnose someone or take away/belittle other peoples anxiety based on what you think is the source to the anxiety/ feelings the person is experiencing. Whatever lead to a person feeling a certain way has nothing to do with wether the feelings are “normal” or not. I would say, that anxiety that gets in the way of functioning normally for a longer period of time, is not feeling good mentally. I never said I’m mentally ill, because I’m not. I’m just saying we should talk more about how we feel mentally as we do when it comes to physical wellness.

      Now, I really don’t understand what you mean with pretty girl problems? Please elaborate since I would like to understand your comment. I never knew peoples problems where in any way attached to looks, but I’m sure you’re right. You seem like you know what you are talking about :).

      All the best to you!

      Sofia

  • Svenja Gantzer

    Such a good post Sofia and thank you for opening up! You really aren’t alone with your feelings. I’ve also struggled with anxiety the past year and I feel like it’s gotten worst to a point where I thought I had to to something to finally make these feelings go away. Like you I also was sooo anxious during the night and found it so so hard to be alone. What really helped me was hypno therapy. I really can’t explain what it does to you but most of the time there was a specific situation in your childhood that is responsible for you feeling this way now. You might not know what situation it is but your subconscious knows. And the only way a therapist can really work with you on your subconscious is through hypnosis. I only needed a 2h session and my anxiety was completely gone! I never got a panic attack again.
    Another tip would be drinking 500ml of pure celery juice every morning on an empty stomach for at least 3 months. This might sound crazy but this also really really helped me in so many ways mentally and physically. Hope this helps you to feel better soon! Many greetings from Germany! Love, Svenja

    • Sofia Ruutu

      Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so happy I wrote this post too, because I’ve gotten countless of messages both here and on Instagram with great tips. I love that we can talk to each other. At least I find it very helpful.

      I would love to do the celery thing, but celery just happens to be my absolute worst veggie :=D!Maybe green juice in general would be helpful?

      To be honest, I find hypno therapy a bit scary. I’ve never tried it, but it scares me. I will keep it in mind though. Thank you.

      All the best you, you sweet Svenja <3.

      Sofia

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