By: Naira Mostafa
We, as teenagers, literally overthink everything. Being this young, everything we do seems like too much, like we just can’t fucking balance everything in our life. To have a successful social life, we go out a lot, which of course, affects our grades. If we want to be straight A students, we stay in to study, and consequently become detached from the outside world. Our sleeping schedules are more fucked up than Britney Spears’s life in 2007. Our anxiety increases day by day as the deadline of that damn essay approaches. We panic over that guy or girl who won’t like us back. We almost look for things to stress about, because we don’t know how to not be stressing over shit. It’s all we’ve ever learnt.
Growing up, our parents taught us that we should study hard to get good grades and be the top of our class. Society imposed gender roles that limited our passions and hobbies. School made us feel fucking stupid for having a weakness in certain subjects. All that, and everyone seriously expects us to have our shit together? Of course we’ll be a a fucking mess inside out. Of course we’ll be anxious balls of emotions. It’s like we can’t fucking please anyone but when we almost do..almost..we don’t please ourselves. And you know what? And that’s the most important thing that we’re letting go of.
I personally know how it feels to be on the verge of losing your shit. I was literally the most anxious tween ever. I would cry whenever a minor inconvenience waltzed into my life. I remember one time I got a panic attack when I got sent to the principal’s office for skipping class and all my friends kept laughing at me. Don’t worry though. I’ve improved a lot since then and now I, dare say, I’m no longer a ball of stress that bursts into tears whenever something isn’t going my way so I think I’m qualified enough to talk to you about ways to cope with anxiety. I guarantee you, if you follow these tips you will be able to look your anxiety in the eye and say “fuck off bitch”.
Now I know, you’re probably thinking right now “this is a waste of time.” However, when you’re anxious, almost on the verge of having an anxiety attack, you actually forget to breathe properly. That’s like scientifically proven and shit.
Breathing slowly, in and out, helps you focus on one thing and momentarily stops you thinking of whatever that’s the source of your anxiety. Re-centering your mind will effectively reduce stress and this will later on improve your ability to think as you’re no longer hyperventilating.
2) FIND SOMETHING TO DISTRACT YOU
“What? But I don’t have time I have to get this done and this and this and- “
YES! Just let it go for a minute. Get up. Take a walk. Listen to a song. Eat chocolate or a pizza. Watch a video. Whatever! Just let the source of your anxiety exit your thoughts. Engage in something that is in no way connected to why you’re stressed out. This will help your relax and boost your mood up a little.
3) TALK TO SOMEONE
This is very very very (very very very) important. Don’t bottle up your emotions! Talk about what you’re going through with someone you trust, someone you’re comfortable with. If you never tell anyone about anything you will eventually have a sudden outburst (speaking from personal experience by the way) and it will not be pretty. Venting can be a major factor in reducing stress. Sharing your thoughts with someone understanding will make you feel like you’re not alone in this. Always seek a friend!
4) THINK OF NOW
Don’t worry about what will happen next. Stay focused on the present. Analyze the situation after you’ve calmed down and followed the first three steps. Think rationally. How can you make this situation better? What can you do now that can help you later? If you have to, you can write down points. Jot down your emotions on a piece of paper. As stupid as it may sound, organizing your thoughts will really help you analyze the dilemma no matter how trivial it might seem.
5) BE POSITIVE
Now I know this is hard. You can’t possibly be positive about a shitty situation, right? Wrong. Everything has a positive side. There will always be a full half in the glass. You failed a test? Then you’ll work on your weaknesses for the next one. You lost your wallet? Doesn’t matter you probably didn’t have any money in it anyway. Your boyfriend/ girlfriend cheated on you? Thank God you weren’t married. You were in a car accident and didn’t die? Then God gave you another chance at life to get your shit together. You get my point.
6) TREAT YO SELF
I’m serious. Go shopping . Have a hot relaxing bath. Book a day at the spa. Do something that makes you happy. Something that will give you a break for a while. Forget about everything for a minute (okay maybe a few hours) and do something for you. Don’t think about deadlines or curfews or people. You need this. You’ve earned this. Doesn’t matter how shitty you might feel about yourself you deserve a break from life because we all know it can get too much. You’re not alone.
7) GO OFFLINE
“Oh no! Not my phone.” Was that what you were thinking? That’s what I imagined you thinking. Anyway, turn your phone off! (After you read this article of course). Get away from Instagram and Twitter. Stop checking your text messages waiting for that one person to text you. Our phones are one of many factors that subconsciously create stress. We upload a picture on instagram and if doesn’t get enough likes, we feel ugly. We tweet something and it doesn’t get retweets, we think we aren’t funny. We text someone and they don’t text back, we’re humiliated. Come on, people! For fuck’s sake throw that little mind control robot at the wall (jk don’t do that you’re parents will kill you). You don’t need that negativity in your life. Until you can keep your feelings in check, try to spend the least amount of time online. Just go outside and plant a tree or something. At least then you’re helping in saving our semi-destructed planet instead of waiting on a text.
8) GET THAT GLOW BY STAYING HEALTHY HOE
I know I’m a very big advocate of junk food as you can probably tell by now but I also don’t want you guys to die so, I’m telling you, eat those greens! Try to sneak in a fruit in your breakfast or a veggie in your dinner. Cut coffee out of your system and replace it with water, tons of it. Hit the gym! Working out will release a shit ton of your negativity. Try different workouts like kick boxing, pilates, yoga, etc. Whatever floats your boat! Find out what you feel most relaxed after and keep doing it. Besides, you guys will have hot bodies if you really commit so there’s really no downside to this tip (except the excruciating muscle pain but at least it pays off in the end). Get up and nail that workout, babes!
9) CUT THAT BITCH OFF
News flash! That ‘friend’ that makes you feel like you’re annoying or useless or unwanted or even slightly bad about yourself IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Cut that bitch off. Choose your circle wisely. If you don’t, you will always doubt your self worth. People who bring you down contribute to increasing your anxiety on a daily basis. Surround yourself with people who support you. A healthy support system is your gateway to a stress free life. So before you blame yourself for your anxiety, take a look around and see whether the people you’re hanging out with are lifting you up or bringing you down.
10) DON’T RUSH YOURSELF
Defeating your anxiety will take time. It won’t happen overnight. You have to accept that. Don’t worry about yourself too much if you’ve done everything in this article and don’t see much of a difference. That’s okay! Everyone operates differently and what worked for me doesn’t have to work for you. The important thing is, you should never ever stop trying. Always keep looking for ways to relax. Always put your mental health first. You’re an important special puppy that deserves love and happiness and everything that is great in life. Don’t be hard on yourself and I know that’s hard to manage but, trust me, in the end, nothing is worth it. Nothing lasts forever. Everything is temporary. Whatever you’re stressing over today, in a few months you’ll simply forget it.