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Eleanor Wilbur’s Tips on Dealing with Anxiety

Eleanor Wilburs Tips on Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety can be described as real or imagined fears that are hard to control. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder [and] approximately 7% of children…experience issues with anxiety each year.” Because of these struggles, anxiety can be difficult to cope with. Fortunately, Eleanor Wilbur, a member of the Gray Matters Collective, shared multiple coping mechanisms at our last meeting. Someone may find one or all of these mechanisms helpful, but the purpose is to help others understand how to adapt to anxiety.

Anxiety is something that won’t go away forever. Ignoring your in depth-feelings caused by school, sports, family issues, or anything else, can cause those feelings to grow stronger and stronger in hopes of you confronting them. Eleanor mentions an inspirational quote: “You are not your anxiety, let the feelings come as a wave. Coming into your body and then leaving.”

Some may say to recognize objects, sounds, or smells that surround you, but that isn’t always easy to do. Instead, find a bright color that stands out, such as red. Relaxation will soon occur, and realization of your own life will come into focus.

Although there are tons of breathing exercises, “square” breathing can also help with relaxation purposes. This breathing technique requires you to breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, and hold again for four counts.

When experiencing anxiety, our body tends to tense up, and we can actually use that as a method in coping with it. Tense the muscles in your body as much as you can for around 15-20 seconds and release. Because you are more in control over your body at this moment, you will likely start to feel relaxed.

Anxiety often includes your own voice acting as a parrot over your shoulder, tearing you down. Shoot that parrot. When the bird continuously makes you believe you failed, kick it out of your head.

Although anxiety will never leave our lives, we can use these methods to make our experiences better. Follow Eleanor’s words: “[You are] not [your] anxiety. And neither is anyone else. Let yourself learn, struggle, and triumph over your anxiety.”

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