Anxiety. Everyone has probably experienced a little bit of anxiety at some point during their life. There are always situations that make you a little nervous, such as taking a big exam or trying out for a sport or a play. Nerves are just the beginning of having anxiety. I wish that nervousness was the only component that created anxiety, but it’s not. Anxiety can really change the way you live your life. I know that anxiety has stopped me from doing things that I genuinely want to do; it has stopped me from doing things as simple as going into a new coffee place.
Living with anxiety can be really difficult; sometimes I don’t even know why certain things trigger my anxiety. I get asked that question a lot- about what triggers my anxiety, and most times I really have no clue. I have this irrational fear of talking to people on the phone. I can never pick up the phone if I don’t know the number, and I can barely order takeout food over the phone. These triggers sound like they are so stupid to be anxious about, and that makes my anxiety even more frustrating. Getting anxious when going on a plane, I feel, is much more understandable and easier to justify, but you’d think something as simple as using the phone shouldn’t make me anxious.
I can never pinpoint when or why or how my anxiety starts. Sometimes I just start feeling like I can’t breathe. My chest tightens up, my heart rate goes up, I start shaking, and then I can’t breathe. I start hyperventilating. This can happen anywhere and everywhere… it has happened in some very inconvenient spots. It’s something that I just have to be prepared to deal with on the spot, without any warning. Yeah, it’d be helpful to know what triggers my anxiety, but I’ve learned a few ways to make myself feel better. For starters, I always carry a bottle of cold water with me, and as soon as the pit of anxiety starts to come up from the bottom of my stomach, I start to sip it. I’m not sure if there’s any science behind that, but it works for me. Another thing that really helps me is mint flavored gum or mints…again, not sure if there is any science behind this but it really settles any anxiety or nerves that I have.
Living in a constant state of anxiety just because you don’t know when you’re anxiety is going to creep up on you is not an amazing way to live, especially when you’re trying to get through college. I’ve learned that surrounding myself with the best possible people makes me feel a lot better, and my anxiety acts up less frequently. So that’s my one piece of advice for the people out there like me: surround yourself with positive energy and you’ll begin to feel a difference.