Anxiety. Paranoia. A million thoughts strike like lightening.
Your heart races… you feel nauseous… your chest feels heavy… breathing becomes difficult… your sight becomes hazy… people become colourful blurs… and walking feels like gusts of wind hitting against your face.
Mental health is usually a term we collectively dread to be lectured about at school BUT daily or at least a couple times a week we silently experience some form of anxiety where we momentarily feel ‘on edge’ or worried. If you haven’t felt this way before well good for you. Two years ago, I definitely did not think I would recognise myself as having anxiety especially during one of the most important years of my education.
Beyond Blue revealed that in Australia, approximately 45 per cent of adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In one year, 1 million Australians have depression and over 2 million have anxiety. Anxiety is like a heavy dark cloud which I wish could banish from the face of the Earth but the reality is that it cannot, hence, to understand how the human mind works is pivotal.
From my personal experience, anxiety can attack so spontaneously especially during times you’d least want it to. I don’t personally don’t like labelling anxiety ‘disease’ but rather a condition; it’s a complicated jumble of our emotions that can either force you to build a mask, or detach yourself from the rest of the world. It’s essentially a series of giant mood swings.
Anxiety can be a real test of your emotional and mental strength that unfortunately comes with a variety of undesirable affects. However, although it can’t be entirely overcome in an instant as it comes with time, there are a few quick tips I’ve received from others that can hopefully help if you do feel like your world is endlessly spinning:
1. BEATHE – something that is pretty obvious but can also be easily forgotten during a hectic week. Take time to close your eyes and just allow oxygen and blood to circulate throughout your body. This can be incredibly helpful when the nerves kick in… remain calm no matter what.
2. Have a break and walk around every 20-30 minutes – again, allow for oxygen and blood to circulate in your head and legs. Also, it’s essential to rest your eyes after constant exposure to blue light from electrical devices.
3. Exercise – sometimes a break from study can call for a quick workout session or a run around the block for at least 30 minutes. It’s important to let yourself be immersed in another world of physical activity and can help you to refresh your mind after hours of study.
4. Positive self-talk – pessimism can really get in the way of striving for our goals BUT never forget to remind yourself of how worthy every opportunity and achievement is. In a journal or wherever else you’d prefer, begin noting down your goals, the big and small achievements in your life, and allow for that positive self-talk to flow. It can be quite difficult at first but I can assure you that it will eventually help to overcome your worst fears and anxieties.
5. Talk to a friend you deeply trust/counsellor – speaking to someone about your experience with anxiety can be really beneficial especially when receiving advice from a different perspective. Sometimes it can be quite challenging to discuss with your parents and you may prefer to have a meaningful chat with a close friend who you can trust. If you feel that you desperately need advice to overcome your anxieties, talk to a counsellor to seek for professional guidance. There is definitely no need to feel embarrassed when speaking to a counsellor; all conversations are confidential and solely aims to help you alleviate any fears.
So there are my small reminders that could hopefully help you if you’re experiencing anxiety. Anxiety can be difficult to avoid but just remember that you are not alone. Being an adolescent and a student can be incredibly challenging to juggle but don’t forget that there are so many more years of new experiences and opportunities awaiting!