7 Ways to Control Your Anxiety

Waking up at 6am everyday I find myself immediately reaching for my phone to do one of three things; checking how many emails I’ve received whilst I indulged myself in broken and restless sleep, going through my Instagram accounts to check the engagement of my posts or checking my various messenger apps. Sound unhealthy? It sure is and up until recently, I never realized how bad my habits truly were until I suffered a mild anxiety attack during my trip to Hong Kong in February. Anxiety is a word that gets thrown around a lot in conversations but how often do we really acknowledge what it can really do to your psyche.

My Experience:

It never occurred to me how debilitating the effects of anxiety were until I found myself alone in my best friend’s apartment, in the middle of Hong Kong with no close relatives or friends to call on (my best friend was out of town and my partner back home in Sydney) and barely able to gasp for air let alone will myself to get out of bed.

Sri Pan Wa - Helen ChikWaves of extreme nausea, intense unexpected muscle ache, concentrated heart arrhythmia and the urge to just shut off were just a few of the symptoms I experienced that morning.

I forced myself to hop in the shower and threw on something mildly acceptable before venturing out of the apartment to spend the rest of my day wandering the streets of Hong Kong aimlessly. It took almost six hours before I started even feeling close to myself again and to acknowledge what was actually happening. I noticed my recent arrhythmia happening more frequently, a constant struggle to remain focused on the work I needed to complete, feeling waves of nausea for no apparent reason, experiencing broken and restless sleep and just being an outright cow to those closest to me.

7 Ways to Manage Your Anxiety:

  1. Having Sufficient Sleep – being physically exhausted can have serious affects but this can indirectly contribute to our stress and anxiety. This can quickly escalate into a self perpetuating cycle with anxiety causing restless sleep which in turn leads to more anxiety.
    TIP: Schedule in at least seven hours of sleep and switch off all technology around you when you do.
  2. Breathe & Meditate – Taking note of how you breathe and learning to control it will send signals to the brain to let it know that it can relax. Practice lengthening your breathing and couple this with meditation will allow us to pinpoint what exactly triggers our anxiety.
    TIP: Wake up 15 minutes earlier every morning and sit yourself upright in your bed, close your eyes and just focus on your breathing.
  3. Get Out & Exercise – go outside for a run because one – it clears your head and two – it fires up the endorphins.
    TIP: Set aside just 30 minutes each day to do something that makes you break a sweat – run, skip or twerk – whatever get’s you moving. Bali Body, Sri Pan Wa
  4. Limit the Number of Times you Check your Inbox – research says it’s not the sheer volume of emails we receive on any given day that skyrockets our anxiety but the number of times we swipe down and/or hit control-refresh.
    TIP: Only limit yourself to checking your emails three times a day, once in the morning, once at lunch and the last just before the close of business.
  5. Keep Away from Technology Before Bed – something that many of us (myself included) struggle to do as we’ve become so reliant on technology and the constant stream of information to stimulate our minds. The light from your devices generally keeps your mind active and close to bedtime means it becomes difficult for our minds to switch off.
    TIP: Put your phone away on charge that is far out of your reach an hour before bedtime and try to substitute a book in place of your phone.
  6. Restrict your Caffeine & Alcohol Intake – I don’t believe in cutting things out for good but practicing moderation is key. It’s nice to be able to indulge in a cocktail with friends but try to avoid this during times where you feel your anxiety creeping up on you – it only adds to the problem. The same goes for caffeine, as good as those little drops of heaven can be when we have early morning starts; it also speeds up your heart rate which exacerbates the symptoms.
    TIP: Drink more water instead. I’ve recently decided to stop drinking coffee and substituting green tea and enjoying how much more mellow I am in the mornings without it.
  7. Be Grateful & Smile – start your day by reminding yourself of one thing that you’re grateful for because it’ll put your mind in the right frame for the rest of the day. Laughter is another great way to reduce your anxiety levels and whether it’s watching funny cat videos or people royally stacking it – these will alleviate your anxiety.
    TIP: Find yourself a funny YouTuber who just makes you laugh with anything they say – Tanya Hennessy is a personal favorite of mine.

Have you ever experienced anxiety? Tell me about your experience and how you overcame it.

Sri Pan Wa, Phuket

Helen

Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.

  • Christine

    Wow that a scary experience! I haven’t yet felt anxiety like that but I definitely get stressed and overburdened at times. And yes, I too am guilt of checking my emails and Instagram account as soon as I wake up and right before I go to bed. Your tips are very helpful and I need to start practicing them more for my health. I definitely don’t want a scare with an anxiety attack to make me relax and meditate more. Thank you for this reminder and have a great weekend. Hopefully you are doing something not involving work. =) xoxo, Christine
    http://dailykongfidence.com/

  • Jessie Li (4evajessie)

    Hey girl, our topic for this week is so similar!!! Aries sis!! and definitely great minds think alike!!! I’ve definitely experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety during March, that’s why I spent my whole April traveling. But I have admit that traveling is definitely not a sustainable solution, therefore, I recently have started meditation and have archived great results 🙂 and I have all those details captured in my latest post! xhttp://4evajessie.com/calm-the-fxxx-down/

    xx, Jessie

  • Mariann Yip

    I actually really appreciate this post because I get anxiety every now and then. Your tips are super helpful and I always try to breathe and mediate because I find that it helps to distress my body and mind. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ugh my anxiety levels the past few weeks have been crazy too! So much stress and things going on haha. I’m glad I stumbled upon your post just in time Helen! I really need to get in the habit of not staring at my phone until I fall asleep (SUPER guilty of that one lol). I don’t drink coffee or alcohol at all so I guess I don’t have any issues there but recently I’ve been trying to work out more consistently to help take my mind off things and establish a sense of balance in my life. Exercising definitely helps to not only keep myself active obviously but it also gives me a nice refresh before I go back to doing what I’m doing. It really works! 🙂 I am also trying to build a better sleep schedule (sleep early and wake up early like the rest of Palm Springs)… so far not toooooo bad; I’m still sleeping too late but at least getting the hang of starting the day earlier. When I wake up late I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of bed/am grumpy and unproductive for the day which just worsens the anxiety. I’ll have to keep your other tips in mind 🙂 Thanks for sharing babe and have a great weekend! xo, sharon

    http://www.stylelullaby.com/personal/life-update-10-things/
    @stylelullaby

  • Really great tips on managing stress and anxiety levels. I’ve found meditating for as little as 5 min every morning right after I get out of bed really helps me to start the day off right. I suffered from crippling panic attacks in the past when I was in a negative work environment. It was an experience that made me realize just how important it is to surround myself with positive people and environments.

    xo, Jo
    http://www.cutandchic.com

  • Bernice Abuan

    Anxiety attacks are the absolute worst and I’m so sorry you had to endure that alone. These are actually really great tips! I have anxiety and my teenage years were plagued with trying to control them so I understand how traumatic it would’ve been to go through xx
    https://www.bunnybernice.com/single-post/2017/05/20/Honest-Review-of-Romwe-Everything-Wrong-1

  • Thomas Falkenstedt

    Dear Helen, thank you for being open about an issue that NEEDS more awareness. The word anxiety is, just like you said, tossed around and I basically hate it when people are “freaking out” over something and say “I’m having such an anxiety attack”. They don’t know the half of it and have no freaking clue what an anxiety attack is. It feels like you’re going to die, literally and it’s an issue that I’ve dealt with for many years. My addiction to alcohol was related to anxiety issues and that’s why I don’t drink anymore, but I’ve noticed how easily caffeine can spark off an anxiety attack too so that’s why I can’t drink coffee either anymore and that part sucks, but hey, I’d rather be healthy and happy than not being able to get out of bed. And speaking of bed. Sleep is crucial to keeping anxiety attacks away! Thank you for being brave and sharing this!
    Love,
    Thomas

    http://thomasfalkenstedt.com

  • Anxiety is something that people in the blogging community often gloss over, but it’s such a problem!! I’ve got major anxiety for a lot of reasons so, I understand some, if not a lot of what you’re going through. Anxiety attacks are the scariest part of it because you never really know how to handle them until it happens, but these tips are great. I’ve implemented a lot of them in my life in order to alleviate the stress that comes with having anxiety and I’m sure that these are all very helpful to you. I wish more and more people could, and would talk about anxiety because it’s here and here to stay! I know mine’s not going ANYWHERE anytime soon, so cheers to you for giving some great ways to control it!
    Jordan xx
    http://thehatlogic.com

  • Helen, that’s so brave of you to write about this topic and share you recent experiences while traveling. Even as a blogger, I didn’t realize how often this happens to others around me and it worries me. Your advice is really on point though – living in a busy city like Tokyo, I need to follow all of these steps to avoid getting anxiety or feeling stress. I hope you are feeling loads better<33
    http://www.samanthamariko.com

  • Candace

    A lot more people deal with anxiety than I ever thought possible; it makes me feel even more comfortable discussing mine! I find that exercise and meditation helps a lot with mine. I need to work on putting the technology away before bed; I’m sure that helps a lot too!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

  • These tips are amazing Helen!! Thank you for sharing !

    Adela
    http://www.hautespark.com/

  • I’ve experienced severe anxiety since I was really young. If I’m completely honest, I probably had my first panic attack at 12 years old. Sadly, it’s something hereditary for me, but of course the activities I participated in, and the ways I spent my days definitely increased the probability of anxious tendencies. To this day it’s a serious fight for me to get through the day without at least one anxiety attack, but I absolutely try to follow the tips you’ve given to a T in order to shake the debilitating feeling. I’m grateful to have an amazing support system that comes alongside me and helps me fight through it. I hope you begin to see even more positive results after maintaining this lifestyle!

    Stephanie // SheSawStyle.com

  • The Sunday Mode

    I have suffered from really intense anxiety in the past and I still go through it now but nowhere near as bad. I think for me a big thing is reaching out to other people and finding ways to lower my anxiety which for me meant going down more of an alternative and spiritual route. Bit hard to explain in a comment though but it did all help a lot 🙂

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  • Jenn Hanft

    Ah, I’ve definitely suffered from intense anxiety and underwent anxiety attacks that would have me hyperventilating and losing oxygen fast. It was seriously such a scary time in my life where I couldn’t identify the main cause, but just that it happened frequently. I developed a fear of staying outside because I was always worried that an attack would come on and I’d suddenly freak out and have a hysterical breakdown – between crying and always fighting for more air. I think what helped coming over that period of time was great support from family and close friends. I eventually started finding ways to eliminate stress, by talking it out, writing, and finding time to meditate. I wrote down things a lot, surveying what thoughts may trigger anything. Luckily I haven’t had any anxiety attacks in a long while. I hope that you’re able to control your anxiety going forward! It’s definitely a tough battle.

    With love, Jenn
    https://www.jubilantdose.com

  • Marcy Yu

    I don’t suffer from anxiety but is very interesting to read this because I know people closer friends that do!! For sure will mention all these tip to them.
    Thanks for sharing!

    xo
    Marcy

  • Anxiety is the worst, especially when you are travelling. It’s always best to just take a step back and breath. Don’t worry about the big picture just focus on the moment and calming yourself. Have a warm bath and some chocolate too!

    http://dreamofadventures.com/

  • Kate Tik

    Omg you have no idea how helpful this is! I have always suffered from anxiety and it hasn’t been until recently that I have been doing more research on it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience as it helps everyone realize that we are not alone.

  • Deddeh Howard

    These are such great tip, limit the time you check your phone/inbox will make life better.

  • Jenny Shan

    Thank you for the tips, I really needed this.

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