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Hi! I'm Laura, a 23-year-old millennial girl discovering who I am by sharing my life experiences on my blog. You'll find me writing about me discovering my personal style, my growing wanderlust or giving any sort of style, uni or mental health advice.

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Anxiety hits every once in a while and last week was one of those weeks. I have dealt with moderate anxiety since high school. It can be quite debilitating and frustrating because you can’t do the things you want to. Last week was one of those debilitating weeks for me with anxiety. There wasn’t really a reason as to how it happened, I think the hustle and bustle of life and some stress of new jobs was creeping up on me. It’s something that just happens and sometimes I can’t help but let that anxiety creep in on me. Thankfully last weeks anxiety attack and the rut that often comes with it didn’t last as long as it did before for me, the reason for getting out of that rut quicker is by adapting five things into my routine despite feeling anxious.

Acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling

Back in the day, whenever anxiety used to hit me I used to try and fight it. I tried to fight whatever I felt, tried to fight the overwhelmed feeling, overthinking and analysing whatever I did wrong in the past and could do wrong in the future. Little did I know that by trying to fight those anxious feelings actually only made things worse for me. Whenever I feel anxious thoughts and feelings come up, I nowadays try to acknowledge and accept whatever I am going through. Acknowledging and accepting made my feel like whatever I am feeling is validate. I am allowed to feel anxious or overwhelmed and by acknowledging and accepting that I am feeling a particular way. It’s the first step in my process toward feeling better. Acknowledging and accepting can actually make you feel empowered, because it is the first step to solving the anxiety.

Focus on your breathing

Whenever I start to get anxious I know my breathing starts to become irregular and it actually makes me so upset I can sometimes start hyperventilating because of it. One of the things I learnt myself to do thanks to my mum is to focus on my breathing. I like to do a breathing exercise where I breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds and then exhale for 6 seconds. Inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose and then exhaling can really help with regulating your breathing. The best part about this, is that the 4, 5, 6 breathing rule is also helping me temporarily focus on something else. Your brain has to focus on the counting, which helps distract your brain for a little bit. I usually end up doing this breathing exercise whenever I feel a panic or anxiety attack starting to come up or when I am already hyperventilating. Sometimes I am in bed at night and start to feel overwhelmed because I overanalyse absolute everything before closing my eyes. That is when I also find it super useful to do some breathing exercises. Not only does it help me distract my brain, it also helps me fall asleep at night.

Do a digital detox

In my case anxiety usually happens whenever I overanalyse something that has happened with work, uni or I am triggered by something I see on social media. It can be super easy to get sucked into the anxiety while having my in the space around me. I get notifications from Instagram, WhatsApp and e-mails. It makes me feel as if I have to be available to answer and be ready at all time and when I feel anxious I always feel like I should still be able to answer within 2 minutes. This is just not doable. So what I like to do nowadays is leave my phone in another room when I feel anxious. I do a little digital detox for as long as I feel anxious. I focus on me, take care of myself and acknowledge and accept however I feel.

Exercise or any type of movement

A couple of months ago I would have told myself I would be crazy if I had told you that I would actually go to the gym or for a walk whenever anxiety would hit me. Back then I would much rather prefer to just crawl up in a little ball and hide in my bed. I still like to do that, but I know it will only make me feel worse. So whenever I have these anxious thoughts, I try to go outside for a bit to walk to the supermarket and get some little groceries. When it’s slightly gloomy outside, I actually go to the gym and do a little 45-minute cardio session. If it’s a really bad anxiety attack I would much prefer to stay indoors, but I still try to get myself to move. Which is why I then do yoga or pilates on a little mat in my room. Movement and exercise are known to help with your mental health and even though it is the last thing on my mind that I want to do when I feel anxious, I know it will help me calm down in the long run.

Practice gratitude

Last week I had felt anxious and realised it had been a little while since I last wrote down what I was grateful for. If you have read my bullet journal post earlier this year, then you know that I like to use my bullet journal to write at least three things I am grateful for every day. I find that practicing gratitude is a really good way to create emotional awareness of what you’re feeling in a moment.

Counting my blessings in life makes it very easy for me to put things in perspective, even when I feel super anxious. An example I like to give my friends whenever I talk about practising about gratitude is; no matter how bad my life gets, I know that at the end of the day my parents, my brother, family and friends will always be here to cheer me on, up and make me feel worthy when I myself can’t seem find any self worth. I have personally found so much positivity from practicing gratitude, as before I kind of lost touch with it I had not had any sever panic or anxiety attacks in a long time. It also causes me to feel les stressed and makes me fall asleep much easier at night, knowing that every negative thought I had that day can be counteracted by the many blessings I have.

Those are five ways that help me reduce my anxiety whenever I feel it coming up or am in the middle of negative thoughts. It’s obviously never easy to do these things as anxiety can make you want to run in a complete opposite way. I know it takes a lot to do these things when you feel anxious, as I also struggle with anxiety. Every anxiety attack feels different. Let’s not even begin on how different anxiety attacks can be for other people.

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