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What are you favorite coping mechanisms for anxiety?

I am a soon to be college undergraduate - graduate! I am majoring in Psychology at CSUMB. I am very interested in cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, and forensic psychology. I have aspirations to get my Masters degree as well as a PhD. mental-health-counseling psychologydegree

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Mason’s Answer

I have found a particular exercise that has helped me with my anxiety a great deal. It's called a mental push up. What you do is this: Close your eyes and breathe; all the way in and all the way out. Bring the central focus of your attention to your breath itself; concentrate on the air flowing in and out. You will almost immediately find that some stray thought or thoughts interrupt your concentration. This is OK. What you do is acknowledge the thought itself as a thought, forgive yourself for being interrupted, and return your focus to your breathing. When you return your focus to the breath, that is one push-up. Do this a few times in a row. You will find that it builds a particular psychological muscle that you'll find invaluable in coping with your anxiety. It helps you better command the focus of your mind's eye, so that when depressing or anxious thoughts intrude on your life, you are more equipped to acknowledge their existence, forgive/love yourself for experiencing them, and then redirect your attention away from them. You are not ignoring the stressful thoughts; you are letting them come at you and pass you by like a leaf in a river. You'll find your mind to be more agile and focused over time.
I hope this helps. It is my go-to coping exercise and it has changed my life.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Allison,

It sounds like you are going to learn a lot more than I can offer during your undergrad experience. I would say that my favorite coping mechanism for anxiety is actually music. The tension or nervous energy that I feel when I am anxious needs a way to escape. Rather than letting the anxiety run freely through my mind, I channel it into something physical. And I don't mean to always play upbeat music. Sometimes it is not about feeling like I am at a party. Sometimes I need to vent my anxiety with tears too. It is all about a release of emotions. When I was in college and I lived in a dorm, there was a nightly ritual during mid-term and final weeks. Every day, at a certain hour in the evening, everyone in the dorms opened their windows and yelled and screamed for about 5 minutes. This is channeling anxiety in a way that is physical. And in sharing the experience, we felt less alone. And it also made us laugh like idiots, yet another wonderful way to chase anxiety away. It was also a break from what was giving us that anxiety.

So I would leave you with do something physical and walk away from what is causing you anxiety.

Good luck with your college experience. Have fun along the way.

Gloria

Thank you very much for your response Gloria!! Allison R.

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Nick’s Answer

I have provided a similar answer to several CV questions so here we go. Anxiety can be caused by overwhelming feelings about our responsibilities and desires. These feeling's can be controlled in a simple and systematic way. Get a notebook, could be digital, but writing on a page in a notebook is part of the solution. Make a list of all the things you need to do, want to do, long term, short term, immediately. Include general subjects that are part of your life. It's not necessary to organize the first list, just write it all down in simple terms, two or three words per item if possible. This could take days. Eventually, organize the list in your own categories, but suggesting long and short term categories, need to vs. want to etc. . The categories should include small steps that lead to bigger achievements.

Act according to your list. Complete the most urgent small items and check them off. Put dots next to items where you have made progress but not complete yet. Some items will get many dots before completion.

Read the list every day. Sometimes you will act on less important items that just feel right to do now. This is good.

Add new thoughts as they arise. Often we have precious new ideas and insights that we are sorry to forget.

Refresh the entire list periodically, maybe every month or two, bringing the incomplete items forward and adding new. Put an X next to items on the old pages that you are putting off or abandoning.

Soon, you will be in control, getting things done and reducing your anxiety.

I have 40 years worth of these notes and could see what I have done and not done during a successful career and lifetime, empowered by this system.

Best Wishes.
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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Allison,

My favorite coping mechanism is reconnecting with nature while disconnecting from the internet. I've found out over the past few years that when I don't get out to nature, I just become this stress ball and fall into an anxiety pit where I don't really want anything and all I do is worry about worry itself. As I've found different coping mechanisms, the best one, the one that keeps working for me, is this nature one.

The most potent types are camping trips where I'll go away for multiple days and I won't have cell signal. So I'll just camp, hike, read, cook, etc at camp, then come back to my home/work ready to conquer my inbox and things I need to get done. Less potent are longer hikes, day trips, etc; but still effective in that, it's better than not doing it.

I think this is effective for me because I'm hyper connected when I'm at home, and the lack of internet just forces me to not worry about how others feel so much, and just focus on myself and my needs. I also grew up in the country, so I do just feel more at peace when there is less activity around me.

Anyways, I hope you find this useful and I wish you success in your career!

--
Dexter

Hope is the foundational quality of all change, and encouragement is the fuel which keeps hope alive. John Frick

Thanks John! :) Dexter Arver

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Michael’s Answer

Hi,

Great question. I'm a very anxious person and have learned a few ways to cope with my anxiety. Exercise helps me the most. If I'm anxious at work, I leave work and go for a long walk. If I'm home, reading a comic book or watching a movie helps me. Also a long shower helps me immensely. Breathing deeply also helps.

You should take some time to yourself. Think of things that make you happy and relaxed. Those answers could be how you cope with stress.

Do some soul searching and I bet you find your answers.

Michael
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Apurva’s Answer

It can be a lot of things- music, going for a walk or some other exercise, bottom line, finding or doing something that you enjoy and get your mind off of whatever you are anxious about seems to have worked for me in the past.
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Mark’s Answer

I have found that a few simple habits will leave me much calmer throughout the day and reduce my stress. These are not exciting or gimmicky, but they work for me.

Drink plenty of water. Get plenty of sleep. Meditate for 20-30 minutes total throughout the day. Take breaks. Limit caffeine. Exercise every day. I also find some calming music in the background helps me but some people find it distracting.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Allison! I majored in Psychology too; definitely an amazing field and you learn so much! Throughout the years I've definitely been my own counselor for many things! My coping mechanism is meditation, reading, watching a movie, listening to music, working out and solving puzzles. I also feel less anxious and more relaxed when I take a break from social media; I'm not sure why but maybe it is more helpful for me when I keep to myself and listen to my thoughts. I also love to be outside and run, so I just plug in my headphones and run while listening to music!

I hope this helps! Best of luck with everything!
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Dyon’s Answer

Hello!
I find anxiety can be found in both my personal and professional life. I have anxiety currently with my performance at work, in the everyday life of living in a world with Covid and even in planning for my future. I like to think of coping mechanisms that I can use for all situations, from the minuscule to the most complex problems that will cause the greatest anxiety.

With that, some of the coping mechanisms that I use calm my mind and soul are:
1. Take 5 in and out super deep breaths. - There is something major to say about stopping whatever is causing the anxiety, breathing, and then having fresh eyes to see the stressors.
2. Taking a break, how ever long that needs to be. – If I sense that something is causing a super amount of anxiety, I’ll stop what I am doing and walk away. 10-15min is usually a good amount, and do something that doesn’t cause anxiety for myself, like making a sandwich or reading a few pages in a book. The goal here is to break the hold the stressor is having, potentially forgetting the tension, and then when coming back, you are relaxed

The main thing to remember is that if and when you feel anxious, take a mental break and focus on something else to break the hold.
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Apurva’s Answer

It can be a lot of things- music, going for a walk or some other exercise, bottom line, finding or doing something that you enjoy and get your mind off of whatever you are anxious about seems to have worked for me in the past.
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Nora’s Answer

Hi Allison,

My favorite way to help cope with anxiety is to do a workout - whether that be running, cycling, or going for a walk! I find that getting some energy out through a good sweat helps me release any fears I have for the day. I also notice my mind is much more clear after even just a 20 min workout! I recommend finding a physical activity that you enjoy and can look forward to every day not matter what else you going on in your life, you always have some special time set aside for yourself!

Wishing you the best!
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Landry’s Answer

Hi Allison,

Great question. I really enjoy exercise to help cope with anxiety and stress. Meditation and prayer (if you are a person of faith) can also be beneficial. Finally, giving back to others can be a great opportunity to broaden your perspectives and center your focus which I have always found help with anxiety and stress.

All the best as you continue to work toward your goals!

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