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How do we cope with anxiety?

After I had my first anxiety attack (I deliberately didn't call it panic attack as it lasted quite longer and it was more characterized by worrying thoughts and catastrophic thinking rather then uncomfortable physical symptoms). I called a private clinic and I booked my first psychotherapy session. My doctor was attentive, asking me various questions and finally concluded with a general remark, that this is nothing strange and nothing serious, and that everyone will have their own anxiety episode, sooner or later. Here is the prescription, let's try these medications and they will make things easier. Sounds quite simple and straightforward, right? One thing was for sure: whatever monster I had in myself, it was already born and it will keep breathing and living inside of me for the rest of my life. But what I didn't know and what I wish I knew was that I can control it. I wasn't aware back then that I can feed it and make it bigger. Similarly, I didn't know that depriving monster from the attention will make it smaller. Having this in mind, I had this huge playground, where I was basically debunking anxiety.

What would I tell my younger self that day, at exactly that moment, after experiencing my first anxiety attack?

  1. Keep yourself alive. Things are never as bad as they seem and your worst anxious thought will never turn out as bad as you imagined it. Don't feed it!

  2. Please breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Become aware of your breathing and focus on it, this will serve as a "quick fix".

  3. Move. Walk. Run. Do yoga. For God sake, don't sit and dwell on it.

  4. Don't carry the world on your shoulders. And while you don't, you might as well listen to this:

  5. Whatever you do, please, please do not google your symptoms on WebMd. This is going to make so many more anxieties, and if you hear me and read this, this is going to literally save your sanity for a while.

  6. Be creative. Dance, sing, write. Get in touch with yourself.

There is no a single general rule on how to cope with anxiety. What worked for me might not work for you. The bottom line is to not run away from it. Face it, embrace it. Find your quick fix. Explore and try different things, I promise, something will work - it worked for me. I wish I had only 5% of this in that moment when all started.

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