As the world continues to broaden its shine on mental illness, I discover more and more people in my daily life that have anxiety just like I do.

And just like me, all their lives other people said they were shy, and were ashamed because they didn’t understand why they were so terrified to do activities everyone else did daily.

So here are some basic tips for anyone with anxiety that may help in their every day-to-day life.

  1. Take yourself seriously. 

    Anxiety is real. Even though other people can’t physically see it, you can feel it, and that’s what matters. Don’t let yourself feel ashamed because you can’t do things other people can do.

    You’re not like those people, and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up; there are a lot of other people who go through the same things you do. You’re not the odd one out, and you have plenty of time in your life to experience those things. You can build up the courage to do anything; just give it time.

  2. Once you Learn #1, Scrap It. (Aka, learn to laugh at yourself.)

    Yes, anxiety is very real and it can be awful to deal with. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are no joke; they make you feel like you’re dying (literally). But once you learn to laugh at yourself, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to do small things.

    That guy at the register? If you can, imagine he’s a guy from a movie and he just got done picking a massive booger. He’s currently hoping that no one will find it stashed on the underside of the counter by accident. He has other things to worry about, and so does everyone else.

    Laugh a little. It’s okay.

  3. Cut the sodas–and NO ENERGY DRINKS!

    These are all bad for you health, anyway, but beyond that, they give you energy–too much energy sometimes. Especially energy drinks.

    I had my first anxiety attack during a period when all I was drinking was Monster. While delicious, they made my heart race too fast. Recently, I noticed that I had inadvertently cut sodas from my diet–I’d just been drinking water and lemonade.

    And you know what? No anxiety. Until I started drinking sodas again.

    It’s not a magic cure, by any means–but it helps an amazing amount.

  4. Get comfortable talking about it.

    Sure, it’s awkward to talk about at first. And maybe you shouldn’t just throw it out into a conversation about the weather–unless some of your anxiety happens to come from something weather-related. But the more you normalize it in your conversation, the more comfortable you’ll feel talking about it.

    I would not have been able to write this blog post a few months ago; I would have been too embarrassed. But I began revealing it to more people and found more people who had anxiety, as well, and learned that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

    It’s a fact; the grass grows, paper is from trees, and you have anxiety.

  5. Life goes on.

    This, or a variation of this, can be your mantra. Life goes on. When you’re panicking, remember these words. Life goes on. Life goes on beyond this moment.

    There’s so much to look forward to after this moment. In the years to come, this moment won’t matter; it won’t even be a blip on the radar, a thought in your mind.

    Life goes on. What’s happening now will not stick.

    Remember your goals; what you’re going to do later. Not obligations, but the good stuff–get that work published, get that job, have a family. Those things are exciting and important.

    Right now? This anxiety-ridden moment that’s making it hard to breathe? This isn’t important.

    Life goes on.

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