Tips on How to Live with Anxiety

I've suffered from severe anxiety for quite some time now and I've found comfort in blogs and websites that give advice on how to deal with anxiety or calm down when having a panic attack. But one thing that I think those of us anxiety folk need is some tips on how to live with anxiety, not deal or cope with it, but live and thrive with it. Just because we suffer from anxiety doesn't mean we have to live totally different lives or miss out on things. I'm not an expert, but I've suffered from severe anxiety, panic attacks and bouts of depression as a result. These simple, but effective things have really helped me, so maybe they will help a couple of you:

1) Accept the fact that you have anxiety. Don't try to deny it or repetitiously tell yourself you're ok when you aren't. Accept and own the fact that you have anxiety. It's ok. 

2) Take a break or a personal day and recharge. It's ok to cancel plans, it's ok to not take calls or respond to texts. It is absolutely ok and necessary to take a day to yourself every now and then to recharge, especially when you  feel like your anxiety is piling up. This works wonders for me.

3) Talk about your anxiety with people. Either no one knows or your close friends and family know about your anxiety, but don't be afraid to tell others. It may be difficult and not something that you are totally comfortable with, but it helps. At least for me it does. The more you talk about it, the more it becomes real and not some invisible struggle that you are alone in. More people will understand your anxiety than you think. 

4) Don't feel guilty. I have felt every stage of guilt with my anxiety. But the truth is, it's not your fault. You didn't choose to have anxiety, just as we don't choose to have the flu or to break our arms when we fall. It's not your fault if it affects your life, that's the reality of anxiety and it's ok. It's not your fault. This goes back to #2. Take a personal day and do not for even a second, feel guilty about it. 

5) Understand your limits and work with them. Sure, you may not be the same as every other person walking down the street, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on some of life's amazing moments. Understand what triggers your anxiety, what you can do to cope with it and work with it. So you have to do things a little bit differently than others, who cares? So you have to take a taxi instead of taking an anxiety riddled subway downtown, work with it. Your process and coping mechanisms may be different, but who cares as long as you get to achieve the same results. 

Anxiety takes a lot from you. And it's not something that can be ignored. But it doesn't have to bring you down. And it absolutely doesn't have to control your life. You may have to work a bit harder than the average person, but that's ok. And most importantly you must remember, it's ok to not be ok. 

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