One of my good friends has Social Anxiety Disorder, and I rarely see her because of her mental health issue. The last time we were out in public was eight months ago, and it was our worse “Girls Night Out” date ever. I have known her for a little over ten years, and this was the first time I saw her with her condition. Ever since she got attacked, which was last year, my friend has been anxious in public and had these “panic” episodes.
What Happened To Her?
Her whole life changed when she was attacked by a serial mugger last October. The criminal stuck his knife in her, and she almost died. The police caught him shortly after the incident, and the guy is behind bars now. My friend may have recovered from her physical injuries, but the mental damage she incurred from it is far from repair. “Most people with anxiety know they’re being irrational, but it doesn’t help because in the moment, fear takes over.” Regine Galanti, Ph.D, explained.
We Only Talk Online
Guess how we communicate with each other? Yeah, online. It is ridiculous, I know, but she says that she’s not up to seeing people as of yet. I told her that she must overcome her anxiety if she wants to have a healthy life. My friend replied that she’s working on it with a counselor and some self-help techniques.
She also sent me a blog written by Liz Nieman from Love and Marriage Blog. It’s about the 21-Day Anxiety Challenge. She says that most days, the challenges mentioned are conquered by her, but there are also days when she finds them almost impossible to do. “The constant surges of adrenaline create highs and lows that leave your body and mind absolutely exhausted.” It is how says Sally Winston, PsyD expresses it.
The following challenges came from the said blog. (The same thoughts are expressed herein.)
The 21-Day Anxiety Challenge By Liz Nieman
Day 1 – Go out of the house and spend at least 20 minutes in public.
My friend said that this was very hard for her to do. Once she steps out of her house, she’d be shaking and trembling. The involuntary actions on her part are due to her anxiety which she is trying her best to surpass. But she did it anyway, with eyes closed and a ton of sweat.
Day 2 – Explore your creative side and color at least one page in a coloring book.
I gave her a Mandala coloring book a few months ago, and she said that’s what she’s using for this challenge. Art therapy is helpful indeed.
Day 3 – Be grateful for your life and find five blessings in you each day. Write it down in a journal.
This challenge came easy for her, she said. If only going out is also as natural, then there won’t be an issue anymore.
Day 4 – Drink lots of water.
Her words: “It’s fun to get hydrated!” She has no problem drinking lots of water.
Day 5 – Play music, sing, and dance!
My friend is a singer and a music lover, and it’s her self-help technique when she feels anxious.
Day 6 – No social media day.
She had a hard time with this challenge and didn’t complete the day.
Day 7 – Go on a relaxing bubble and aromatherapy hot bath.
Who can’t relax with this one, huh?
Day 8 – Meditate for 10 minutes today.
It was a fail day for her, she told me. On her next 21 day challenge, she is bent on successfully doing this thing.
Day 9 – Do cardio exercises for 20 minutes.
Day 10 – Sleep early tonight.
Fail! She is an insomniac and slept around midnight during that challenge day.
Day 11 – Take vitamins starting today.
Done. She is now taking Vitamin C and Vitamin E, for starters.
Day 12 – Hug your pet.
No pets, so she bought a turtle.
Day 13 – Mediate.
She wasn’t able to do it.
Day 14 – Learn about Hygge.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – that’s the book she used for this challenge day.
Day 15 – Put essential oils everywhere.
This “challenge day” was her favorite day of all.
Day 16 – Create a stress ball.
My friend wasn’t able to make one, but she bought one and used it.
Day 17 – Pick a “you” time.
Day 18 – Do something that you’re good at and which makes you feel good.
She sang “Never Enough” by Loren Allred, a soundtrack of the movie, The Greatest Showman.
Day 19 – List down your anxieties.
Everything she ever felt anxious about was written down.
Day 20 – Find a solution to your anxiety issues.
She didn’t complete every solution to an anxiety issue on the list, but she will circle back.
Day 21 – Find ways to be happy; one way is by doing Liz Neiman’s happiness challenge.
Follow the 30 days Happiness Challenge. (My friend is on her Day 3 at the time of writing this article.)
So you see, she didn’t perfect her 21 days. But right now, she is more than determined to achieve success in every “challenge” day. I told her that as long as she is trying, that’s the whole point of the self-help activity. With that, it is okay to believe Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D. when she says that “anxiety is a normal emotion which helps us recognize real problems and solve them.
Let’s see if she can perfect it this month and maybe, you’d like to try it for yourself, too.