Dealing with anxiety
Ever had a strange experience where you can feel your heart pounding in your chest? Sudden sweaty palms? An overwhelming sense of nervousness or a debilitating fear? This could be anxiety. It’s our body’s response to stress and it’s usually triggered by a situation we feel nervous about – an upcoming public speech, exam or college assignment or maybe an interview or a super-tight deadline.
How to deal with it when it creeps in?
- Get enough rest. Your body and mind needs rest and recuperation to repair so aim for 8 hours.
- Move your body & feed your soul. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help you feel balanced (inside and out)
- Focus on your outlook. Make a concerted effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Get to know yourself. Take time to understand what situations trigger your anxiety.
- Surround yourself with support. Invest in relationships with friends and family who accept and support you.
Dealing with it vs addressing it?
Those may be 5 effective tips but they may not actually address the ‘core reasons’ that you’re experiencing anxiety. If you want to explore ways to get to the bottom of it, perhaps consider allowing yourself the chance for a one-on-one with someone who can listen and empathise with your feelings? Someone who understands you and what you’re going through. A peer. More specifically, a peer counsellor who can help you feel less anxious.
Online peer counseling for anxiety
The practice of peer counseling is rooted in empathy, active listening, interaction, sharing stories and positive advice. Peer counselors will help develop tailored, practical coping mechanisms that can assist in easing anxiety or even just grow an awareness for what could be triggering it.
One of the great things with this alternative to traditional therapy is that you select a peer counselor. By gender, identity, sexuality, ethnicity and or life experience. You can find someone who will gel with your personality and who makes you feel safe to chat about the challenges you’re facing. Many people find that just having an outlet to talk about what’s weighing on their minds can be a big relief. Peer counseling for anxiety is designed to be exactly that. A relief. (one you certainly deserve).
Anxiety doesn’t stick to a schedule (neither does peer counseling)
You need access to someone to speak to when your anxiety spikes. That’s not always something that can be planned for. Peer counseling services allow you to book on-the-fly, finding time slots that are convenient for you. Physically and emotionally. And ‘cause they’re more affordable than traditional therapy, it can be more convenient financially, too.
Peer counseling isn’t a replacement for therapy
Think of it as a holistic coping mechanism that prioritises peer-to-peer interaction. You pair up with someone who’ll offer the resources, tools, and techniques to move through the chaos caused by anxiety. It’s not a once-off solution but peer counseling could be the one step that’ll get you on your way to getting on top of your anxiety.
Tim Desmond is the founder of Peer Collective, and a Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Antioch University New England. His areas of academic expertise include mental health outcome research, mindfulness, and self-compassion and he is a globally renowned author of several bestsellers. Tim was a caregiver to his wife Annie who tragically passed away from cancer in 2018 which drove him to find new ways to support those in need.