Hi, my name is Sharad Mahajan, and today I would like to discuss coping strategies that I use to help with my generalized anxiety disorder. I have been suffering from anxiety disorder since I was a junior in highschool. I am now a junior in college, and I have found that anxiety can be quite insufferable sometimes. The burning sensation, overall dread, and overwhelming fear of whatever situation you may fear can be so much to handle, but with coping strategies, I have been able to lessen my anxiety significantly.

First, I think it is important to say that not every coping strategy is going to work for you. Each person has to find their own coping strategies that fit what they expect to get out of the activity. When I was a freshman in highschool, I decided to start practicing mindfulness and meditation. I began doing Koru mindfulness exercises from their free website. I think that one of the reasons mindfulness and meditation help so much with anxiety is because they teach us to be aware of the present moment. Their meditation exercises are very easy to use, and if you look up the website, https://student.korumindfulness.org/free-guided-meditations.html, the meditations have explanations as well. In terms of practicing mindfulness, I like to pay attention to what I am thinking about while I brush my teeth or shower. Much of my anxiety comes from me forecasting how anxious I will be in the future. Using these meditation and mindfulness tools really helped me learn to be in the present moment. However, as the year continued, I found it harder and harder to meditate. Now, I meditate on and off. During meditation, I have found it important to not judge myself or get frustrated for not having a successful meditation session. Even with me realizing this, meditation is still hard and frustrating, and like any coping method, can wane in its effectiveness. In the future, I am going to make it my priority to meditate ten minutes a day. I want to enjoy the present moment as much as I can, otherwise the days pass very fast. 

Another coping strategy that I employ is exercise. Besides the obvious health benefits of exercising, it really helps me alleviate some of my anxiety. For me personally, a lot of the anxiety I feel manifests itself in tension, either in my chest or arms. When I exercise, my body feels so much more loose. I also try to wake up and stretch for ten minutes to signal to my body and mind that the day is beginning. Similar to meditation and mindfulness, the time I spend

exercising, I am working on myself and feel better at the end. In terms of how I exercise, I try to always at least spend 20 minutes exercising on busy days. On days where I have more time, I try to get outside and make the time to go for long runs. When I exercise twenty minutes, I will do push ups and jump rope or mat exercises. Although it does not feel as gratifying as an hour long workout, it helps me clear my head and once again spend some time focusing on the present moment. 

Overall, I think the most important thing is to try new coping mechanisms. Doing new hobbies and finding different ways to engage your mind is always helpful. Some ways I decompress are reading, cooking, and learning a new skill. With whatever you do to try and help your mental health, remember that it might not work everyday. You can also always try new things.

Blog Post by Sharad Mahajan

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