Many individuals deal with anxiety when they have Bipolar Disorder. In fact, a large percentage have a diagnosis of a type of anxiety along with their diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.
I not only have been diagnosed as having Bipolar Type 1 but I have GAD, otherwise known as General Anxiety Disorder. I can get anxious in almost any situation. To reduce my anxiety, I implement a variety coping skills and preventative measures.
I hope you will try these and tell me what you think. If you have your own protocol to deal with anxiety, will you share it with us too?
Remember that this list is not at all exhaustive.
Let’s get started:
1) Focused Breathing
Many professionals simply state that you need to try deep breathing to calm down. I have learned that focusing on my breathing is the key.
Put all your thoughts and energy into focusing on breathing slowly in and out. You should only be thinking about your breathing.
Think of breathing in all the good and positivity in the world very slowly. Next, breathe out all the negativity and anxiety that you have built up in your mind and body.
2) Go to Your Happy Place
Before you get to the point you are anxious or have a panic attack, think of a place where you are at peace and is very serene. This can be on the beach, up in the mountains, by a lake, or wherever else you have been that has helped calm you down.
Now that you have your so called “happy place”, it is important to have that image in your mind so you can bring it up when you need it.
When anxiety or a panic attack starts to well up, bring up the image of your “happy place” in your mind. Next, focus all your energy and thoughts on this calming place. If you start to have unwanted thoughts enter your mind, simply let them go by and try not to dwell on them. Refocus your thoughts on your “happy place”.
The same intense focus that I described in your breathing exercise should be used here.
Continue to practice thinking of your “happy place” until you are in a peaceful state and can function.
Remember, not all these strategies work. Try one and see if it helps. If not, go on to another idea on the list.
I have mentioned exercise several times throughout my writings. It is one of the most important preventative measures you can take, after taking your medication. It has so many mood stabilizing, blood pressure reducing, anxiety reducing, and energy enhancing effects.
If you have not started exercising I recommend you try. Even going on some short walks for 30 minutes a day to start out is beneficial for your overall well-being. I have my diploma in both personal training and sports nutrition. So, fitness is another passion of mine.
If you need some ideas how to get going, I am in the middle of creating an eBook to help guide you on your journey. Stay tuned for more details!
4) Alone Time
Alone time is a great way to decompress from the fast-paced world around you. It gives you a chance to focus solely on yourself and your thoughts.
You can have alone time in a number of different ways. Simply going into another room to be with your thoughts. You can meditate. Mindfulness is another strategy to try. You can also listen to some music while you go for a walk or run. Maybe pursuing a hobby is your thing.
It is a good idea to figure out the best way to have your alone time. Then, when your anxiety increases you can immediately do whatever activity you thought of before. It is already overwhelming when you start to have anxiety or a panic attack. Make things simple and be prepared.
When you are anxious, it can be beneficial to change your surroundings and get to a place by yourself. Try this suggestion and see how you like it.
5) Talking to a Friend or Professional
The simple act of talking to a good friend can help your anxiety. Getting these anxious thoughts off your chest can be highly beneficial.
If you do not have a close friend you can count on, it is helpful to talk with your therapist. Your therapist can give you professional advice.
A friend or professional can help calm you down. Usually, if it is a close friend, they know what to say. If you chat with a good therapist or social worker, they will know what to say too. Both individuals can do pretty well at diffusing anxiety in your situation.
I am not an expert on aromatherapy, but I have extensive experience with the subject.
There are a variety of ways to disperse the scents. Personally, I have a diffuser in my bedroom. I fill up the diffuser with distilled water and put in the oils to create the mixture. It only takes a few drops of the oil. You can also mix the oils together in the diffuser depending on the desired effect.
When purchasing oils, it is in best to get pure oils. This is not only important for your own health but the potency of the oils as well.
With anxiety, I enjoy eucalyptus, lemon, and a combination that the company I buy from has created specifically for “calming”.
I also purchased a eucalyptus sugar scrub from Bath and Body Works. I am in no way trying to sell you this product, but I had to mention it because of my positive experience. You use it in the shower when you are all done cleaning yourself. After breathing the fresh smelling scent in for a couple of minutes, my nerves really do calm down.
Do you use aromatherapy to help reduce your anxiety? I would love to hear what scents you use.
7) Get a Massage
Getting a massage can relax your entire body. If you find a good massage therapist, they can release all the tension in your muscles from head to toe.
Anxiety is infamous for contributing tension to your head, neck, shoulders, and pretty much anywhere throughout your body. Since a massage can release the tension in your muscles, it can physically reduce your anxiety.
The body and mind are interconnected. It is hard to get one healthy and not the other. So, it makes sense if you are anxious that your body tenses up. Instead of targeting your mind to reduce your anxiety, we focus on the body.
If you have not tried a massage, I recommend getting one. You can usually find an independent massage therapist or parlor that has reasonable introductory pricing specials.
This is not my favorite strategy, but I feel I need to mention it because some individuals need it. I have tried anti-anxiety medication before for a short period of time. The medication I used was a benzodiazepine.
My doctor explained that the class of benzodiazepines has shown to increase the chance of Alzheimer’s in recent trials. He also mentioned that Benzodiazepines have a high incidence of abuse and addiction.
I decided to get off the medication because of the possible increase of Alzheimer’s disease in long term use along with possible abuse and addiction.
Some antidepressants have been used because of their anti-anxiety properties as well. It just depends on the class and which antidepressant.
I wanted to try different avenues other than medication. Talk therapy has now been shown to have better results helping anxiety than anti-anxiety medication. This seemed like a great place to start. I quickly found talk therapy to have the positive outcome its reputation could uphold.
Some of the ideas I have mentioned on this list I learned about in therapy. So, these are not merely suggestions but professionally backed coping strategies.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this article.
I love getting feedback and would enjoy any comments you have below.
If you would rather e-mail me with your comments, questions or concerns, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, take care of yourself! 😊