How to cope with anxiety | Luce's Eternal Sunshine: How to cope with anxiety

1 May 2015

How to cope with anxiety

The twist and turns of life are mostly breathtaking and sometimes cruel. You may think you are on the road to having it all figured out when out of nowhere, you're blindsided by something you thought was in your control.

This year, my resolution was to be more mindful - to live in the moment and take each day anew. I started out okay but the last few months have proven to be the most challenging of my life and I have been feeling more anxious than ever. Anxiety is basically the opposite of mindfulness and rears it's ugly head in the form of constant over thinking, stressing and worrying over the daily grind to every possible future outcome. It's exhausting, but at the same time it's manageable. In the hope that this can be a comfort to other people going through similar problems, or even just having a bad day, I've listed a few things below that help me remain mindful and reduce my anxiety.

Exercise. I could go on and on about this but when I'm running, playing netball or doing yoga, there is nothing on my mind but the next step, the next intercept, the next stretch. Exercise is the most amazing mindfulness tool, plus it's scientifically proven that you release some crazy happy endorphins when you exercise, which is an added bonus.
Be aware of your anxietySarah Wilson said in this post "Notice your anxiety. Witness it deliberately. Don’t let it wash over you. I used to let it build up, subliminally pushing it back, thinking it shouldn't be there. But simply saying “Hello there Anxiety” lessens it’s havoc." I completely relate to this as I have tried to ignore my anxiety for quite a while and it only worsened with each denial. When you're aware, you are more able to combat the thoughts and use them to your advantage through breathing and helpful thinking exercises. Start 'checking in with your breath' by breathing in deeply for four seconds, hold for two, then exhale for six, and cultivate it as a habit by repeating it every time you do something in your regular routine i.e. going to the toilet or opening a door.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. While most people drink coffee to give them that extra burst of energy, it tends to make me shaky and more hyper than usual. I make sure I only have one shot every other day, and I have a personal rule that I have to eat before taking a sip of my iced latte. Alcohol is a depressant and whilst can provide a temporary high, it also develops into a prolonged low so I steer clear when I'm already feeling on edge.
Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. It goes without saying, but your brain and your body are intrinsically linked. I try to eat balanced meals that include some protein, good fat and carbs, as well as reduce my sugar intake (which is always difficult for my sweet tooth to handle). I notice a stability in my mood when I fill up on nutritiously dense, wholesome foods and plenty of water.
Meditate. I use the Smiling Minds app but sometimes it's as simple as closing your eyes and listening for your breath. Meditation is good for anxiety as it encourages you to focus on the moment and experience every breath and sensation as a singular, rather than jumping ahead or giving your attention to too many things at once. Tip: Start small or 'bite sized'. It's a lot harder than you think.
Socialise. I'm an extrovert through and through, so I find that I'm most at home when I'm having a good chat and laugh with my best friends and family. Allow yourself to be in the moment and appreciate the people around you because you are seriously lucky to have them!
Practice self care. Yes, I love to socialise but I am also guilty of running myself into the ground and overbooking my time to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. Take some time out to be by yourself and do some of the above mentioned exercises or read a book, take a nap, watch a silly movie, whatever helps you relax.
Face your fears head on. This is the hardest one to put into practice as it means you have to dig deep to discover where that fear is truly coming from. I find that my anxious feelings come from a fear of change and failure. Yes, these things are scary but it's about transferring those negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones. When I finally went to see a psychologist, she told me something that makes so much sense, but was still revolutionary to me - your thoughts are opinion, not fact, and they determine your feelings. Therefore, if you are able to remove yourself from a situation or circumstance and paint it in a different light, with a different thinking pattern, it will never be as bad as first envisioned. 

In fact, it's most likely not something to be feared at all.

xx Luce

All Images from Pinterest


  1. I'm so proud of you Lucy! You're so brave, this is wonderful!
    Keep going girl, yoga and meditation for the win! xxx

  2. Finished off nicely at the end there. Love a good quote!

  3. This is great Luce, good on you for facing fear! Ironic this post a week before a massive setback for you... Your tips will keep you on track as you face the challenge! Love you. Xx