A Gay Man’s Guide to Coping with Anxiety

It’s not poverty that’s the villain right now. Yes, sure, it’s definitely been a villain for so long, but there’s another thing that’s slowly taking its place – stress and anxiety. It’s never good to be anxious or stressed out, but it’s even worse when you’re both anxious and gay. Gay people are known to suffer from mental problems such as depression or anxiety even in some of the most tolerant countries such as Australia or New Zealand. This is mostly due to the fact that they have been oppressed for so long or they simply cannot be who they want to be, and it’s very important to start working on yourself the moment you realize that’s something’s not peachy. So, what can you do to cope with anxiety? What are the small tips or tricks?

Surround yourself with positive people

Obviously, the best option would be to surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. You might have plenty of friends, but take some time to think about them and to reevaluate your relationship with them. Are they making you anxious or stressed out? Are they mostly negative? Do you feel bad after hanging out with them? If the answers are “yes”, then you might want to cut down on time spent with them. Try to use that time to be around people who will make you feel good about yourself, or simply take some time to be on your own. There are great ways for you to work on your mood while alone, so why not try that out?

Find a hobby

Finding a hobby and turning to something that makes you feel good is always a good option, not only when you suffer from depression or anxiety. However, it’s very important to think about the hobby that you will be taking up, as you want something that can keep you occupied most of the time. Painting is one such hobby, and if you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, now is the time. Make sure that you get all the necessary art supplies in Sydney or any other major city and have everything ready. Turning to art can be quite rewarding and fulfilling, and if painting is not your cup of tea, there are other things that you can do as well, such as reading, taking up an unusual sport or even committing yourself to school.

Accept who you are

If you’re not gay, then you will never know how difficult it is to feel that you belong somewhere. Not only does a vast number of gay people criticize themselves for being gay, but this is exactly what makes it more difficult for them to accept who they are and embrace their uniqueness. However, apart from the fact that being unable to accept one’s true self is a major trigger for depression and anxiety, it seems that one can find other triggers in the community itself. The body image and femininity issues play a big role here, especially after so many Grindr messages that read “No fats, no fems”. This might be even more difficult if you’re a gay introvert. It’s very important to note that it’s you who should be satisfied with yourself, not other people. Learn how to accept who you are, and never try to be anyone else but you. Make a list of the things you are good at or the things that make you special. Once again, surround yourself with positive people, and try to find experts who can help you feel better about yourself.

Travel

Finally, there’s not a better way to deal with anxiety and depression then traveling. Depending on the level of your anxiety or your preferences, you can choose if you want to travel to an LGBT friendly destination like many of the European capitals, or perhaps a nice and secluded Vanuatu island. The choices are endless, and there’s nothing that a good trip cannot fix. Even if you’re suffering from panic disorder, there are ways to overcome this issue and actually enjoy what this amazing world of ours has to offer. We need to do whatever we can to fight this awful villain called Anxiety. It won’t be easy, and it will require some time, devotion and courage, but with baby steps, anything is possible. Try to do one thing that will be good for you, and the rest will follow. But remember the most important thing – always put yourself first.

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Peter Minkoff

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a gay lifestyle writer at Woofd magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter @minkoffpeter for more tips.

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