How Can I Keep My Anxiety From Controlling My Life?
I fear that my anxiety is keeping me from living my life. I recently moved away from my friends and now I rarely leave the house. How can I live my life without letting my anxiety control me?
Moving—whether it’s across town or across the world—is tough on everyone, and people cope with it in different ways. It’s a big life change! Saying goodbye to your friends, your school, your old house, and everything familiar is enough to shake up anyone’s existence. So if you’re feeling anxious, that’s totally OK.
But at the same time, you don’t have to feel this way—and you shouldn’t. We recommend talking to someone you trust about how you feel. It doesn’t have to be a parent, but it can. Also, finding a school counselor or even a therapist who you can unload your feelings onto is always a good idea (because let’s be real, sometimes you don’t want to tell your parents every single thing you’re thinking).
Anxiety is suuuuuper common, which means there are tried-and-true ways to make it better. We aren't therapists (see above) but if you find yourself stressing or feeling overwhelmed throughout the day, take one minute and just focus on your breathing. Count your breaths and only think about that. Chances are, when those 60 seconds are up, you’ll feel at least a little better. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety, so if you’re interested in giving it a go, we recommend downloading a (free!) app like Calm or Headspace. The hardest part of the whole thing is simply getting started, and if you’re like most people, you’ll start to notice a difference right away.
While deep breathing and a tiny bit of meditation can ease some of that anxiety, being friendless in a new area definitely doesn’t make it easy to ditch it completely. Finding new friends is hard, but it’s not impossible. Especially if you’re in school or at a job or any other environment where you’re around people your own age. Lots of other girls have been in a similar situation—read some advice about that here, here, and here—and while that might not make the process any simpler, at least you know you’re not the only one.
Finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself! It’s tempting to want to snap your fingers and feel 100% at home in this new place, with a brand-new set of besties and all of your anxiety gone. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut. So while you’re using this time to get to know your new surroundings (and new people!) don’t forget to get to know yourself a bit more. Grab some coloring pencils and draw, jog around your new neighborhood, start journaling, or maybe take up an instrument. Or cross-stitching. Or anything to keep your hands and mind busy.
Goodbyes suck, but there’s a lot to be said for fresh starts. They’re awesome—and usually infrequent. So try to make the most of it, and soak this one up.
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