Epilepsy Talk

10 Ways to Cope with Your Stress and Anxiety | June 24, 2020

You’re choking. You’re drowning. You’re going down for the count. How many times have we all been there?

I’m sure everyone has their own way of coping — or else we wouldn’t be here.

Nonetheless, here are some helpful tips to get you over that hump…

1. Take time to relax and calm down.

It feels impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear and anxiety. A racing heart, muscle tension and difficulty thinking as your adrenalin surges. So, the first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down. Physical stress can make all the symptoms seem worse. And stress can increase cortisol, known as “the stress hormone” because cortisol is secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

2. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

When you’re anxious about something, whether it’s work, a relationship or your health, it helps to think about the worst case scenario. Of course you’re overwhelmed and your thinking isn’t too rational, so that’s the time to turn to reality. Ask questions, do some research. Get some information. At the very least, it will divert you and you’ll be doing something pro-active, instead of freezing with panic. And you might find out that your fears aren’t realistic or it’s not as bad as it seems.

3. Face the fear — in a safe and controlled way.

Hiding your head in the sand isn’t going to make anything better. It will just perpetuate your feelings and fuel the fire. So look that fear straight in the face and go slowly towards your goal. Take baby steps…maybe one each day. Ask for help and support from your family and friends to guide you on this scary journey.

4. Welcome the worst.

I know it sounds counter intuitive, but each time you embrace your fears, it makes them easier to cope with the next time they strike. Sometimes when you imagine the worst, you realize the fear is scarier than the problem. The good news is that over time, they won’t be such a big deal. And you’ll have the necessary tools to deal with them.

5. Get real.

Fears tend to be much worse than reality. Often you’ll assume the worst without considering the possible outcome of the event. Think about it. Has this problem ever happened in the past? What did you do? What was the outcome? Does worrying actually help the situation? (No. But it sure makes you feel terrible.)

6. Don’t expect perfection.

Absolutely no one is perfect. And if you’re expecting perfection from yourself, you’re setting the stage for disappointment. Yes, you want to do the best job possible. (I have a friend who so wisely says: “Each to his own best ability.”) The main thing is you’re trying your best. And that’s what really matters. Yes, life is full of stresses. Bad days and setbacks will always happen. But it’s essential to remember — life is messy!

7. Visualize.

Just let go. Take a deep breath (Don’t forget to breathe out!) and imagine a place of safety and calm. For me, it’s riding horseback in Yellowstone Park. A moment of pure beauty and perfection. For you, it might be a walk on the beach, a happy memory from childhood, a fun occasion that still makes you smile. Relax. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you’re feeling better.

8. Improve communication skills.

Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. Just saying them out loud and acknowledging them, dulls the panic. If you’ve got a family member, partner or friend you can talk with honestly and openly, speak to them. If the fear is too big to handle, consider finding a good therapist. It could make a world of difference. (I know it did for me.)

9. Take good care of yourself.

Of course others matter. But how can you be there for them if you don’t take care of yourself? That means getting a good night’s sleep, wholesome meals, and a good walk to clear your head and start the day. Put your best foot forward and then, if something is worrying you, take a break and do something you enjoy. Not only will it help you gain perspective, it will also help you relax, so that you can go on.

10. Reward yourself.

Finally, give yourself a treat. When the dreaded deed is done, celebrate. How about a massage, a movie, dinner out, a book you’ve been longing to read? Even a little “retail therapy”. Whatever little gift makes you happy. You deserve it!

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela

With gratitude and thanks to Dr. Michelle Payne.

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  1. Take good care of yourself:

    if you experience serious or continuing depression, keep the number of the suicide prevention people handy.

    There are often separate numbers for people trained to help steer you away from other forms of self-harm.

    If you tend toward substance abuse, organizations both secular and religious provide numbers you can call, and online meetings.

    Consider ahead of time whether an emergency room will be a better place for you if you are having an emotional emergency. Have an alternative plan.

    While you might confide in a trusted friend or relative, individuals can’t be available 24/7.

    There are psychotherapists who specialize in clients with chronic illnesses.

    As for “get enough sleep,” this can be outside one’s control, either due to what’s going on outside or because of your personal wiring.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by HoDo — June 24, 2020 @ 4:47 PM

    • I like that!! But honestly sometimes just the simple fact that I know someone is getting paid just to see me is what make me steer away from speaking to ANOTHER SPECIALIST!! Lol 😂 plus it almost makes me paranoid lol 😂 (between us)

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 11:51 AM

  2. Fabulous advice as always, HoDo! Thanks, once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 24, 2020 @ 5:14 PM

  3. Hi Phylis! Love this dis-ease.
    F alse
    E vidence
    A ppearing
    R eal

    I’ve got many many other quotes etc on the anxiety stress. My degree in college—-Psych with an emphasis on Psycho-Neuro-Immunology.
    Now with Epilepsy I we live in fear of another seizure let alone the daily events called life.
    Family Horrid Issues–Get a dog it is the only relative you get to choose.
    OK OK OK I am a wreck and am going to make T-shirts /signs saying BEWARE
    I am so angry about this it is not good for me even if I go nuts and sell these. It is passion overload and of course not good for me.
    I heard once Your Weakness is your Strength overdone. Probably the problem here.
    THANKYOU for the 10 ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by laura and michael hood hood allan — June 25, 2020 @ 11:19 AM

    • Anger can be a gift if you can find a way to channel the energy and use it wisely. You have the education and the linguistic gifts as well. I’m behind you all the way.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by HoDo — June 25, 2020 @ 3:28 PM

    • I never realized how a “face mask” could do SO MUCH TO ME!!!!!!! Because I have never wore a face mask without a respirator before!! But when I finally did wear one without a respirator I SINCERELY FELT LIKE A TIED DOWN MUZZLED DOG!!!!!!! Or maybe a horse who was being “halter broke”!! So I AM IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITG YOU ABOUT THE FACEMASKS!!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for raising the “FACEMASK” topic!!!!!!!!!! Weird how even wearing facemasks with respirators HONESTLY MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE THOUGH!! But they do take a little bit of getting used to as well. For me I think it was just a matter of FEELING THE AIR AROUND MY NOSE AND MOUTH

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 11:57 AM

  4. I love your anagram for FEAR.

    I saw a great mask that said: “If you can read this, you’re too close.” Love it.

    My birth family was horrid also. But I lucked out on the husband front. 40 years. That’s four marriages in my family!

    Yes, I agree. Your Weakness IS your Strength overdone.

    Don’t drive yourself crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 25, 2020 @ 1:18 PM


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 12:01 PM

  6. Lol I have a watch that TELLS ME WHEN TO BREATH!!!!! I always wondered why it keeps telling me to “BREATH”. Now I know why. Lol and I can’t even argue with it!! 😂😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 12:10 PM

  7. Lol ya I was just beginning to think my watch was crazy instead of smart!! 😂😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 12:49 PM

  8. I never even had a seizure one time and my watch TRIGGERED!!!!!!! Lol 😂 I was NEVER SO PROUD OF MY HUSBAND BEFORE!!!!!!! 😃😊. I didn’t realize he could run SO FAST UP 14 BASEMENT STAIRS UNTIL THEN!!!!!!! Lmao 😂 and I never even had a seizure!! 😳. Then it sent my best friends into PANIC MODE TOO!!!!!!! I took it off and now I AM AFRAID TO OUT IT BACK ON!!!!!!! 😰😰😰😰😰😰😰

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 26, 2020 @ 1:04 PM

  9. Stay away from people who are toxic to your psyche if you can.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by skolly9 — June 28, 2020 @ 7:33 PM

  10. No, my family Phylis, heehee. Stigma, denial, gaslighting all lifting their mighty heads, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by skolly9 — June 29, 2020 @ 6:34 PM

  11. Need guidance for controlling epilepsy

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Venkat Reddy — June 30, 2020 @ 5:02 AM

  12. I am a healthy 66 years old. May of 1978 I got a B.A. in Elem. Ed. July 1978 .I had my first complex seizures .2 years later. Taught school, coached wresting 8 years .
    After teaching I started managing grain elevators, working with many types of equipment. Retired this spring after putting in 25 years .Always taken medication, now take phenobarbital and lamictal. The last week I have had 5 complex partial seizures, that people have said I had. I have had many doctors, brain surgery in 1999 Mayo Clinic. 2005 I had a VNS inserted . Maybe it does control the number of seizures , but I still have them I am constantly worried what others think of me, if I have a seizure. Through the years, I didnt hold back what I wanted or needed to do. I also raise Appaloosas and break them to sell. My wife is always worried about me having a seizure and I dont want her to. I cant sit around being totally retired. So many people dont know about epilepsy. Some Think They should put you in a corner and watch you. More people die of epilepsy than breast cancer

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Danny Betty Wicke — July 18, 2020 @ 2:32 PM

    • I think your explaining it and what to do if you do have a seizure, goes a long way.

      As for the facts about epilepsy, they’re pretty staggering:

      Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological problem – only migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease occurs more frequently.

      Its prevalence is greater than autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined.

      As many people die from epilepsy as from breast cancer.

      There are 200,000 new cases of epilepsy each year, and a total of more than 3 million Americans are affected by it.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 18, 2020 @ 2:50 PM

  13. I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing it! feel free to check out my recent blog post regarding art therapy at home to ease anxiety ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Maddie — July 27, 2020 @ 1:38 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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