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Dealing With Anxiety

Dealing With Anxiety

by Dami (Dose of Dami)

Ever had your heart beat fast during awkward or stressful situations? You get the sweats, mild dizziness, feel like you want to pass out?

That is anxiety manifesting itself in the form of a panic attack. It is basically how our body responds to these situations. Many people deal with this, including yours truly.

You can somewhat describe me as socially awkward in some sense. One of my anxiety triggers involves me having to be around people I do not know or I’m not familiar with. In situations like these my mind races. Negative thoughts plant deep roots in my mind. “What would they think of me?”, “Am I dressed appropriately for this occasion?”, Every little thing someone says to me or I say to them is dissected over and over again. “Did I say the right thing?”, “What if I had said this instead” “I hope they don’t think I am a snob” etc.

On my way to such stressful events I get the sweats. As Eminem once said “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy”, that basically describes me. It is always a fight within when placing myself in such situations. A good example for me is Church (Some Nigerians would probably kill me), but for me especially now in Canada I haven’t really found a Church I can call my own. Back home in Nigeria I had a church I could call my own but ever since I moved here, I have bounced around from Church to Church, because I felt as though I did not fit in with the youth society. When I feel out of place, I find it hard to go back. Even when I do pick myself up, I get heavy panic attacks on the bus ride there.



In other cases it is when they try to get me to go out for evangelism. Now I don’t know how someone socially challenged is supposed to walk up to someone and talk to them about God but that’s the situation I found myself in. I ended up having to bail on meetings and I hated that. So I decide to take myself out of those situations entirely.

Another anxiety trigger for me is when I see someone who I’m not close with but I know and I have to walk up to them and say hi. That walk up...




I start playing the encounter in my head. “Alright do I go for a hug?”, “No! that’s too weird”, “What if they are a hugging type of person?”, “How about a handshake?”, “fist bump it is!” Then I stretch out my hands for a fist bump and they stretch out for a handshake and I just internally crash.



I am giving these examples just to show you I have experienced my fair share of anxiety. I am far from an expert on this topic and I am not totally over my anxiety, But I just want to point out some things I do to help me cope with it.

Controlled Breathing
As I said previously, when I get panic attacks my heart rate goes up, it feels like my heart is about to burst out of my chest. One thing you can do is get your breathing under control. Focus on our breathing, in the Nose, out the Mouth. Do this about 10 times. This relaxes your body, your mind and allows you to think clearly. This does not completely erase it, but it's the first step.

Visualize your Happy Place
Now that you have got your breathing under control and you are able to think clearly, another step to help you deal with your anxiety is picturing yourself in your happy place. A place where you feel calm and relaxed. It can be real or imaginary. I have a bunch and I do not want to reveal all but one of them involves me soaking in a bathtub with calming music playing in the background (Enya, Lana, Mac Miller etc.) with my muscles relaxed and my mind drifting away. I visualize this till I can feel my anxiety lifting away.

Wield something you can control
This might sound weird but it is pretty helpful. Whenever a wave of anxiety fills you, it may seem like everything is out of your control, chaotic and you are just lost in all of it. Grab and hold onto something tangible like a pen or a tiny ball and focus your energy on it. It takes your mind off whatever you are feeling and focuses it on that object you can control. The repeated pattern of gripping and releasing an object helps to alleviate any stress or anxiety you may be feeling

Workout your Brain
By working out your brain. Forcing it to focus on something else. A math problem. Counting backwards from 50, subtracting 2/3 as you go. Reciting the letters from Z backwards. Relief can be instant or it might take some time, but if you keep at it, calmness will follow.

Stop Negative Thoughts
Continuous Positive words of Affirmation. Question every negative thoughts that try to overwhelm you. For example, on my way to church, I tell myself “I am going for God and no one else” “Do they really care about what I wear and How I look? Even if they do so what! I am not there for them” ” I actually look pretty sick today too”

Challenge those negative thoughts. Avoid “What if?” scenarios. That is catastrophic thinking. Live your life to the best of your ability. If your anxiety prevents you from living life the way you want it, you would regret it in the long run. Trust me so have I. So every time these thoughts pop up in your mind, challenge them and come out on top.

One final thing that can help those suffering from anxiety is surrounding yourself with friends who truly care about you and know what you are going through. Some battles are better faced with people around you than alone. Even with one or two friends by your side or on your team you can go a long way in life.


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