How to Manage an Anxious Life in London
If you are like me and not from a big city, moving to one can be very daunting and worrisome. During my first 6 months in London, I encountered situations or moments where I felt anxious and out of control. This prompted me to write down some of the situations that make me anxious and my tools for managing them.
It is good to note that there are 2 main things to help you overcome your anxiety. The first is to understand why you become anxious. For example, I discovered that I did not like riding the Tube because I felt like I had lost control. Once you understand the true nature of you anxiety, like loss of control or the fear of the unknown, you can then move into the second step.
This step is figuring out what tools help you combat your fears and anxieties. For me, I use the Tapping Solution Method. The way it works is the moment I start to feel anxious I start tapping the area between my pinky finger and ring finger, and soon enough I start to feel much better. I also use a mantra word that I have associated positive feelings and thoughts to. Mine is, "Yes" but it can be any word or phrase that you think will ease your anxiety. It takes a few weeks of practice to master these two techniques together, but it is well worth the time and effort!
The above techniques have truly changed the way I am able to handle anxious situations and has helped me get through some very stressful moments in London.
Whether it be during rush hour on transportation, visiting the British Museum, or walking in Piccadilly Circus, crowds are a large part of London Life. Try to not let this stop you from visiting places you want or changing your daily habits. If you can, try and find a walking path that makes you comfortable or an area in the museum where you can find your peace.
I know it is difficult in the moment, but discovering what you need to do to find yourself again will benefit you greatly, no matter where you are.
Transportation can create anxiety for many reasons such as crowds, sitting next to strangers, unsure of routes, and so much more.
For me, the best way to control my anxiety while on the Tube is by counting how many stops I am away from my destination. I also remind myself that I can get off the train at any stop, no matter what. Figure out when your line is less crowded to avoid people or find a spot in the train where you can feel comfortable. For me that is the last or first car or next to the pole in the middle of the train. Also make sure to bring water with you as the Tube can get hot no matter the season, possibly increasing your anxiety as it does mine.
I also take busses often and the most anxious part, for me, is when the bus is in traffic. This is stressful because I am unsure of when I will reach the next stop and be able to get off. Again, I try to count my stops knowing that I can get off at any point. Remember that you are in total control and can use your tapping technique anywhere.
Making New Friends and Meeting New People
Living in such a large city like London means that you will meet many people, but finding true friends may cause anxiety for some. London has a vast amount of organizations, sports, societies, volunteering options, classmates, and colleagues to help connect you with others.
It will be difficult to get out there but once you do you will find amazing people to spend time with. Plus, who wouldn’t want to hang out with someone as cool as you?
Speaking English Full Time
It comes to no surprise that many students who study in London are not native English speakers. However, London has loads of English classes readily available to you and it would not be difficult to find one that fits your level and schedule.
Also, once you start your job or course you will be surrounded by English giving you the opportunity to practice. And guess what, nobody's perfect. I am a native speaker and still mispronounce words, misspell them, and even don’t fully understand when to use a colon (:) versus a semicolon (;) when creating a list. Languages are hard and it takes a large amount of courage to come to a foreign country.
Be proud of yourself.
I know there are so many other points that can make living in a big city nerve racking like not knowing what your next steps in life are, handling your living arrangements, and even budgeting, but know that you are not alone and there are many resources to help you.
London has so many various support systems in place from therapist, to meditation classes and yoga, so do not feel trapped in your surroundings. You can also check out various apps like HeadSpace, Breathe, Moods, and Worry Watch for additional support. Check out Mental Health UK for more information on various tools and services you can find in the UK, and look at the NHS's Mental Health page for information on how to receive care through the NHS.
I have learned that life in London will have ups and downs, but you can always find support when you seek it.
You CAN do this!