I never thought I was somebody who could struggle with anxiety. I always thought to myself, “Well, if it gets bad, I’ll just go to therapy and take medication for it and that will fix it.” End of story. And I’d shrug it off and carry on about my day. Well, one day there came a time when it got bad and I needed help. So I went the traditional route and turned to therapy and medication. After giving it quite some time, it was not as effective as I had hoped it would be and wasn’t something that was working consistently or long term. That system seemed to be working for some people, but it just wasn’t working for me. I realized that I had different needs for my stress and anxiety, and I felt they did not match the cookie-cutter description of what I was being told was working for everyone else.
I was exhausted from feeling like my anxiety was controlling my life; I despised feeling powerless in the face of it, and I wanted to reclaim my old, normal life. Because I knew it wasn’t always like this and I just needed to find out how to live a lifestyle that would provide long-term relief. Having 20, 30, or sometimes even 40 panic attacks a day put me in a place mentally where I could no longer function normally in day-to-day life. Anxiety and panic moved in and took over completely. Frantically, I’m searching for relief of absolutely any kind at this point. And so the hundreds of hours of research began. I began reading peer-reviewed articles, scientific studies, psychology journals, personal success stories of overcoming stress or anxiety, and anything I could get my hands on. I would find and write down coping skills and try them for myself, journaling every step of the way to try and find the best combination of relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms that worked for my specific anxieties and stresses. I started by writing the name of the technique or skill down. I would then document how to do it, how long I did it for, and if it gave any relief. Then, I’d put it on a scale of 1-10 to see how effective I felt it was personally, at stopping the anxiety. After a while, I began to amass a library of hundreds of different coping skills, relaxation techniques, and thought reframing techniques that I had tried and that had worked for me. I called this my “Anxiety Tool Box.”
After finding relief in coping skills and amassing a collection that I could use in any given situation, I still wanted more ways to adjust my mindset around the anxiety and stress that I had. This began my journey into affirmations, mindset work, positive redirection, and gratitude. Through these skills, I learned how to effectively make my mind a place where I wanted to spend time. I not only felt myself feeling happier in day-to-day life, but I also felt more fulfilled in everything I was doing. After discovering these techniques, working on my coping skills, and reframing my mindset, I found myself wanting to help others find the same kind of relief. It was during this time that I felt called to attain a certification in Anxiety Coaching and Stress Management, and now I help other people overcome their stress and anxiety using the same fun and exciting techniques!
If you’re someone out there who is struggling with stress and anxiety know that there is help available to you, and there is hope. It does get better. It isn’t permanent, and it can and will go away with time and the correct implementation and combination of coping skills and thought reframing techniques.Hannah O’Brien
Everyone’s stress and anxiety are different and it’s important to remember that what might work for one person does not necessarily work for another. So I encourage you to take a journey of self-exploration and find 3-5 coping skills that are fun, enjoyable, and that you feel work for you. If you begin building your own Anxiety Toolbox, when anxiety or a panic attack strikes, you’re prepared with these solutions that are accessible, exciting, and provide you with adequate relief. Don’t be afraid to talk to others or reach out for help. Anxiety and stress can be scary but they don’t have to be. With the right help, the right coping skills, and the right mindset you can go back to living a completely normal life, like me!
Photo Credit: Jose Lopez
Article : Hannah O’Brien
Hannah O’Brien is the voice of courage, hope, and strength. Never give up. Now, as an Anti-Anxiety Coach, she shares her experience with anxiety and is assisting others in overcoming it.