Asking for a Friend: How to deal with anxiety


A. Nonymous, Columnist

From “Linda:” My friend has severe anxiety problems and doesn’t know how to deal with them. It affects her life and limits what she can do. How can she manage her anxiety?

Hello Linda,

In my experience struggling with anxiety, I’ve come to rely on multiple ways to ease my nerves.

If this is something you’re constantly struggling with, my first recommendation would be to talk to an adult. This is the most common response to questions like these for a reason: Adults CAN help. Whether it be your parents, counselor, or another trusted adult, they are in the best position to provide relief — and they genuinely want to. However, since communication through technology seems to be less stressful than a face-to-face conversation, the following links can provide information and support.

For the National Alliance on Mental Illness, visit:

For something a little closer to home try:

In the case of a crisis, contact Denton MHMR at or 1-800-762-0157

There also is the Safe Schools alert; posters are up all over school with information, as well as on the counseling web site (

Shortness of breath, chest pains or pressure, tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands are all symptoms of a panic attack. I know this might be a little late, but don’t stress too hard. Having a panic attack doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, or that you have a mental illness (not that that’s anything to be ashamed of). Roughly 3.3 million Americans are hit with panic attacks on the daily. One thing I like to do when I get them are breathing exercises; they slow your heart rate and release the tension in your body. My favorites are Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing” (breathing in for four counts and out for four counts, all through the nose) and square breathing (in for four, out for four, in for four, out for four, repeat four times). There are a bunch of breathing exercises you can do. The most important things to remember during your panic attack are to breathe, make yourself feel comfortable, and know you’re not alone.

If breathing is not your thing, try another one of my tips: distraction. If I feel anxious or uneasy, I distract myself by doing something I love. Go out and paint, play a scrimmage match, or immerse yourself in a good book; do whatever you need to get lost in good vibes rather than worry.

We all have bad days. They’re inevitable, but we’re not required to sit back and let them get to us. My first suggestion is to send your troubles packing with a good Netflix series (my current favorite is “Riverdale”) and some comfort food. The best comfort food within a five-mile radius HAS to be Palio’s mac and cheese with chicken.

Another way to chill out is to do yoga and exercise. When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins that make us feel good. So while cardio is no fun, it might be the key to making you feel refreshed.

Whatever you do, just remember there’s always someone ready to listen. The worst thing is believing you’re alone in this when you’re not.


A. Nonymous