From Our Readers

Things To Do When You’re Anxious

I have a problem with anxiety. Having had several panic attacks and a week-long period where I constantly imagined myself falling through the floor, being hit by a truck, and generally dreading the wrong thing to happen at every turn, I feel that I am qualified to make this list. At first I thought I’d overcome it eventually, which gave me hope. For the most part, I did. I balanced my life, and God was a big part of that. However, not all people can just ‘overcome’ anxiety. I still occasionally get an ugly feeling in my stomach due to anxiety. Aside from religion, maintaining some sense of hope and waiting it out is often all you can do. Those are the most important things to do: remembering that in the end, it always gets better.

It’s the waiting it out that’s the hard part. Negative thoughts send you out swimming deeper and deeper into the sea, water lapping at you. The ocean of your mind turns cold and blue as you move further. You know this place, you’ve been here before, yet the familiarity does not lend comfort. You begin imagining that sharks in the water will come any second, thinking of the ways that they would carry out the kill, imagining how the smell of your blood will draw more. You listen to the thoughts of anguish, thoughts of worry, predictions of a storm and impending doom. However, all of these things won’t help. You need to lie on your back in the water and remember that none of these predictions have come true before. Close your eyes. Relax your body. Feel yourself float and think of a sunny day. You need to find that place.

This is similar to advice I received from a friend of mine, who is twice my age with five times my wisdom and was an abundance of help when I was really struggling. I would call her up and run over the list of my fears, worries and imaginings – she got it. She had been through it. And she was such a help. I hope I can be that to you now.

So, here is a list of things I learned I need to do when anxious:

Stop thinking of myself, and stop over thinking. This is crucial. In times of anxiety, I’ve noticed that the main idea appearing in my head is a selfish slapping “me.” However, you can’t just turn your thoughts off like a light switch. That’s kind of the point. So, we come to the next thing:

DO Something. I know sometimes you feel like curling up into a ball and just falling asleep, but that doesn’t help in the grand scheme of things. You need to get up, go out and find something to do. These things particularly help:

Be Thou Artistic. Do you dance? Put on a song you love and dance your heart away. I don’t care if you’re good. I do this when I’m anxious, but I put on my happy songs and use up my energy. Do you write? Do it. Write about what you’re feeling, but only if it helps. If it doesn’t, write about a good memory and why it was that way. Make lists – good lists. Keep them in a journal and really take the time to read over them. If your worries are based on something you can change, like your lifestyle, then make a list of how you can change it. Set yourself up for a victory. Paint. SING. That’s a big one – let your worries flow through and out of you. Make sure not to sing only sad songs, though. Mix the hope in. I’d suggest ‘You’ll Be Okay’ by A Great Big World, that’s a good mix.

Focus on giving. This one I cannot stress enough. If you take your focus off of your own worries, problems and life, and focus on making someone else happy just by giving your time, attention, and help, you will feel 10000% better. However, you need to commit yourself to whatever you’re doing, and not let the noise of negative thoughts enter in. Surround yourself with the things you love dearly, and dash the things you don’t. And finally…

Talk about it. To your mom, dad, coworker, best friend, internet friend, spouse, partner, little sibling, big sibling, aunt, uncle, or lady at the grocery store who you feel would understand something like this. I’m serious, people are very receptive to conversations about these things, and it shouldn’t be shocking. It actually instilled more hope into me when I realized how many people can just listen and understand.

Focus on the humor. Don’t be afraid to make fun of your own worries. That is not to say that you should treat them like they’re nothing and put yourself down, but oftentimes all we need to do in our moments of anxiety is have a laugh. So call a good friend, and tell them you just need someone to cheer you up. My brother was great at this. In fact, he wouldn’t let me talk about my anxiety with him; I had my mom, sisters and friends for that. He instead provided warm humor and stories about his life. I learned to forget about my worries and focus on the good. He’s sneaky like that. Maintain your sarcasm, and laugh when you know your worries are ludicrous. Sometimes, they truly are. Learn to laugh at the things you can’t do anything about, and use all of that determination that you have welling up inside of you to make changes to the things you can.

One last vital thing: Focus on hope. Hope is a wonderful thing. Focus on what you believe in. You will find your way. You may not fully believe it in times of anxiety, but even the smallest seed of hope can get you through.

If you are struggling, know that someone loves you, and there is always hope. You will find your place. You are still growing.

Kayley a 17-year-old teenager spilling into adulthood, which means frequent random dance parties are necessary and happening. She’s a Southern California native, but home is now in rainy, wonderfully weird Oregon. Kayley loves getting first drafts which are filled with red marks handed back to her, because it means that she has something to improve and somebody cared enough to tell her! Kayley likes to sing, dance, write, read and have conversations about life with her mom over ice cream at 3 AM. She gets really excited about new stickers, journals and music. You can find her at:

Featured Image via Shutterstock


Related posts:

Spreading a Little Anxiety…Info

Explaining Your Mental Health Issues To Friends

Surviving A Panic Attack

  • Amanda Panda

    As someone who suffers from anxiety as well, I absolutely love this article. So beautifully written and you managed to give some fantastic advice without sounding condescending. Brilliant, thank you!

    • Kayley Salgado

      I’m glad you got something good out of it, Amanda! Thanks very much for the comment, it made me super happy 😀

  • Javiera Pérez Morales

    Thank you so much for this article! I’m 19 and I’ve been struggling with my anxiety since I was 14 and been in treatment for almost 2 years, but I think that that list is really gonna make a difference! Seriously, I can’t thank you enough, it’s so hard to find someone who suffers from anxiety and fully understands how you feel now and then. Thank you!

    • Kayley Salgado

      Thanks for the comment, Javiera! I love all of the exclamation points and positivity in your comment, haha :) I’m glad I could be of some help!

  • Cindy Therrian

    What a beautifully written article! I also deal with anxiety and it can be very distressing. Religion helps me a lot also, focusing and making quiet time is also a big help. But I also found that I was really deficient in a few vitamins. I live in northern Idaho and we rarely see the sun during the winter months. I started taking Vitamin D3 and a vitman B complex and it has helped a lot!

    • Kayley Salgado

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Cindy! I very much appreciate it. I’m glad that you’ve found ways to keep on the sunny side :)

  • Jennifer Stewart

    Struggling is a great word for an attack. I’ve been using that word for a few years now and it defines it so clearly. I’ve done most of what you’ve suggested but have also discovered acupuncture which has also led to relaxation and a flow of Qi in the right direction. There are pressure points on the bottom of your feet that can often help ease the pounding heart and pulse when you are struggling to get back to normal. Another piece of advice is to walk your way to back to center. My heart aches for all so suffer with this issue.

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hey Jennifer, thanks for the comment and compliment! I’m glad that you found what works for you, and I hope you have a lovely day.

  • Stu Mosby

    The biggest downfall to suffering with anxiety (that i’ve found) is that people think you can “just stop it” when in fact it’s the complete opposite. I am hopeful that articles like this will become more common and that people will try to understand anxiety better.

    There is no greater time that you will need someone, than when the palpitations start, when your mind steps up a gear and the almost terror, of an anxiety attack sweeps in. I’ve suffered with it for years, i’ve read many articles on ‘how to deal with an anxiety attack’ and a large chunk of them appear to be written by people who have never actually had a full blown attack.

    It’s nice to read an article written by someone who has been through it, who actually understands it, who knows ‘what lies beneath’ so to speak, the inner torment and anguish that flows through you while you’re having an attack and it’s great that you’ve even listed a few techniques for coping with them.

    Thank you, for posting it.

    • Kayley Salgado

      It was my pleasure, Stu, thank you for your genuine and kind comments on the article! I definitely belonged to the “why don’t you just stop it” school of thought before I experienced it, so I don’t blame those who don’t understand, their exposure to it is obviously very limited. Still, I’m glad you found my writing to ring true, that means a lot!

  • Carla Morales

    I have noticed that I get anxious around guys I have or I’m dating… I feel sick! Nauseous…. I can’t have a relationship. I end up putting excuses just not to see the guy because I feel like I’m going to trow up on him. I can’t go out to eat… I’m okay when is not about eating. I have considered that I’m crazy… am I the only one?!
    I’m worried, its been happening for the past 8 years.

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hey Carla! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m no expert, but I think what you’re dealing with is a harmless, albeit extreme, case of butterflies. The good thing is once you find the man for you, you will likely become comfortable enough around him that you won’t feel sick anymore :)
      Still, if you’re concerned about it, you should ask your doctor or someone who can give you a sturdy answer. :)

  • Mariana Ferreira

    I relate to everything written in here. I still have to deal with anxiety and the problems that came along with it. Unfortunatley I keep on forgeting how to deal with it, I never get used to the feeling.

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hola Mariana! Thanks for commenting, I really do appreciate all of the comments. I’m glad you relate, and I hope the article helped you :)

  • Kerry Nance

    This is great :) I’ve struggled with anxiety so much the last two years and I definitely agree that doing something to take your mind off of YOU is the absolute best medicine. This was encouraging, thank you!

    • Kayley Salgado

      Thanks for the comment, Kerry! I’m glad you liked/could relate to it.

  • Erin Vance

    Such wisdom from a 17 year-old. Thank you for bringing up God. I feel like sometimes anxiety is a taboo thing in the church but if you open up about it, you’ll find there are LOTS of other people who are struggling too and afraid to admit it because they feel like it means they don’t “trust God enough.” It’s really a shame, because that’s not it at all and people could really be encouraging others (which would help them not to focus on their own anxieties).

    I hope it’s not weird to say, but if I was 17 and I lived in Oregon I feel like we’d be good friends.

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hello Erin! Thanks so much for the comment and your kind words! We could totes be BFFs. (I cringe every time I type like that haha)

  • Claudia Fanzecco

    Hi I’m an Italian girl and I don’t speak English very good but I have understood every single word of this beautiful article. It’s a big gift! I came to the same conclusion as you: I sing, dance, write a lot and always fight so that nothing can let me down. I think that this moment is a part of my walk of like and maybe one day I will understand why. Thank you for this beautiful article. I really appreciated it because it’s written with all your heart!

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hi Claudia, I love your comment! It’s really cool to read from someone who’s so very positive about such a negative thing in their life, which you obviously are. Thank you so much for the comment!

  • Aubrey Correa

    I really liked this post because i can totally relate to having the feeling that your chest is going to explode from being so overly anxious. I also connected a lot with it because i myself am an 18 year old girl in Oregon (originally from California) attending the University of Oregon and reading this post from my dorm room while listening to the pouring rain outside my window as we speak. I have also always wanted to write a blog post for hellogiggles but thought that i was too young and not very good at writing to do so, so reading your bio was very inspiring to me. Thanks for all the wise words, from one Cali sun-deprived girl to another!

    • Kayley Salgado

      Haha you’re awesome, Aubrey! It’s so cool that you go to the U of O, all of my friends are duck fans 😀 (I’m not one for sports haha). I really encourage to submit an article, they are very receptive and got back to me quickly, so I’m sure they’ll do the same for you!

  • Cindy Leechoe

    I was crushed when my lover of three years left to be with another woman. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help. And i saw a testimony of a spell caster ( who help a girl to get her boyfriend back with a love spell and i said let me give it a try so i contact him for help and he cast a love spell for me which i use in getting my love back and now i am a happy woman. For what you have done for me, i will not stop to share your goodness to people out there for the good work you are doing. I hope God bless you as much as you have help me to get my Love back……

    • Kayley Salgado

      I’m thinking this is spam/advertising?

  • Melissa Wiebe

    I have been writing stuff down in a small notebook for the past 2 years when I get anxious. While it hasn’t been a straight two years, I have found that it does help get those anxious thoughts out of the system. And I find that writing down allows me to get out the stuff I am thinking in a positive light and helps me see the absurdity of them. It also helps to alleviate the pressure that sometimes build when I am so anxious.

    • Kayley Salgado

      Hi Melissa, thanks for commenting :) Writing is a great release! I’m glad it’s helped you, it certainly has helped me!

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