Comforting tips for anxiety sufferers

Whenever you just need a break

About 40 million Americans (that’s about 18% of the population!) suffer from anxiety disorders. One of the most common problems amongst anxious individuals is the thought that they are alone in their battles, which, clearly demonstrated by the above statistic, just isn’t true. Here’s some helpful, comforting tips to those of you, like me, struggling with anxiety.

Adult coloring books

Colored from Secret Garden Coloring Book

Colored from Secret Garden Coloring Book

One of my favorite calming activities is coloring. Lately, this has becoming a bit of a fad and with good reason! Coloring is not only relaxing, but a great creative outlet. Plus, you get a really cool picture when it’s all said and done


JMU pancakes

JMU and Halloween pancakes

Baking can be extremely relaxing and, I don’t know about you, but sweets always cheer me up. People who suffer from social anxiety, on their bad days, need to shy away ¬†from social situations. Here’s an alternative for those days when you still want to see your bestie in the comfort of your own abode. Invite him/her over for a baking day! Have some fun deciding on a recipe, baking the goodie, and decorating it! It’s just as relaxing as coloring, plus you have an excuse to eat sweets!


Cookies I put together for my neighbors

Or, if you don’t want to eat the sweets, you can give them to friends/neighbors and share the joy!


IMG_20140727_115849Crocheting is a really easy hobby to pick up that is inexpensive and fun. You can find how-to videos for pretty much every stitch on Youtube or find how-to blog posts for them if you’re not a video person. Free patterns can be found all over the web, as well, and the supplies to can be found at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Jo-ann’s, and pretty much any other craft/yarn/fabric shop.

A caterpillar plushy I made.

A caterpillar plushy I made.

A beard hat I made for my boyfriend a few years ago.

A beard hat I made for my boyfriend's father for Christmas.

A beard hat I made for my boyfriend’s father for Christmas.

Plus, you can make some really neat things (like beard hats and plushies) or just things you need (like pot-holders and wash-cloths).

A set of 4 coasters, 2 wash cloths, a dish towel, and a pot holder I made.

A set of 4 coasters, 2 wash cloths, a dish towel, and a pot holder I made.

Read a book

IMG_20150617_181157Reading a book can help improve your empathy as well as helping you get in touch with your emotions. If your struggling with anxiety, I highly recommend Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Her protagonist deals with anxiety throughout the novel and du Maurier beautifully captures the daily questioning of all of her actions.

Make a cup of tea

Tea is a very calming, relaxing beverage. My favorite two for calming down are Tazo’s Passion Tea and Chai Tea. If your dealing with anxiety issues, I’d recommend caffeine-free as caffeinated could exacerbate it more.

Pet therapy

IMG_20141229_011847Spending time with an animal can be very therapeutic and helpful. If you don’t have a pet of your own or a friend’s pet you can spoil, head to Cat’s Cradle downtown and volunteer. If you’re more of a dog person, up the street from Cat’s Cradle, Blue Ridge Dog has tons of dog stuff from clothes to homemade treats and the owners bring in their adorable dog, Indiana Jones, who will come and greet you and follow you around for attention. I’m sure you could purchase one of their treats for the adorable, Indiana, as well, if you so chose.


Go for a hike/walk

1439566772558JMU students happen to be some of the luckiest people in the world because we have tons of beautiful places to hike and adventure within 10 minutes of where we live! The Arboretum (on east campus) has tons of trails and is beyond beautiful, a great quiet place to calm down and relax.

1438869842021There’s also Lake Shenandoah, Hallandale Park, Purcell Park, and so many more!

1438869742158Get out there and explore the quiet, secluded outside adventures Harrisonburg has to offer. You could even go with just a couple of really close friends and get away from the stress of anxiety disorders.


Try your hand at drawing

I picture I drew of some friends a few years ago.

I picture I drew of some friends a few years ago.

Drawing can be a really relaxing way to tap into your creativity. If drawing’s your thing, it can be a really great way to calm yourself and quiet some of that anxiety.

Push yourself a little

20150620_162855Sometimes what your anxiety needs, is to be pushed. Test yourself a little and branch out of your comfort zone. Explore downtown Harrisonburg with some friends and go into shops. Meet people, have fun, and get to know the beautiful area we live in!


James Madison University