Did you know around 275 million people around the world suffer from anxiety disorders? Anxiety disorders are more common than you think and with COVID-19 it is no surprise that these numbers are only rising. Anxiety is the feeling of unease and is the body’s natural response to stress. Some symptoms of anxiety include: feeling restless or nervous, sweating, breathing rapidly, increased heart rate and feeling that something bad is going to happen.
We have been in and out of lockdowns for a year now and it is completely natural to feel nervous about adjusting back into your normal life, interacting with strangers and being back in public again. This feeling is known as social anxiety and can seem like quite a daunting prospect. Learning to better manage your anxiety and finding ways to adjust your life to work around anxiety can make a world of difference. Here are some of our top tips to better manage your anxiety:
This might seem like an obvious one but it is very effective. Find a breathing exercise that helps you to catch your breath again, slow down your heart rate and feel more centred by the end of the exercise. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise is an easy exercise that you can do wherever you are. Hold your breath for 5 seconds and release for 5 seconds, then hold for 4, release for 4, all the way down to 1. Sometimes if I feel that my body isn’t slowing down, I repeat the exercise from 1 back up to 5. If you are looking for a little bit more guidance, there are also apps such as Headspace and Calm which have exercises and videos you can follow to better control your breathing and reach a relaxed space of mind.
Alcohol and caffeine changes the level of serotonin in the brain causing anxiety and panic attacks. Hangxiety can last up to several hours or even an entire day after drinking. The best way to deal with this is by nourishing your body with the things it has been deprived of. This means staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. A greasy breakfast might seem like a good idea to soak up the alcohol but can make you feel worse. Swap out a greasy breakfast for some fresh fruits and a nutritious meal. Learn more about great hangover foods and drinks.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Writing down intrusive thoughts can help to get them out of your mind and onto paper. Journaling is a very useful tool for people who suffer with anxiety and even depression. The reasons for this is it always you to identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts instead. It can also be very useful to identify triggers. Triggers for anxiety can include: stressful work environments, alcohol, caffeine, travelling or uncomfortable situations. Learn more about why you should journal and how to journal.
A Positive Attitude
A big part of anxiety is feeling like you are not in control and coming to terms with the fact that you cannot control everything in your life can make a difference. Do not be so hard on yourself and appreciate the little things that you accomplish in everyday life. For example, if you catch yourself having a negative thought and replace it with a positive one, that is an amazing achievement and you should feel proud of yourself for taking a step in the right direction.
Talk to Someone
Talking to a friend or family member can help to put your problems into perspective and they might be able to help you come up with solutions or take some of the burden of you. Like I previously mentioned, anxiety is more common than you think. Talking to someone who is also experiencing anxiety can help you to realise that you are not alone. Anxiety is a mental health disorder and there are professionals who you can seek to help. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or psychological counselling, is the most common treatment for anxiety offered by psychologists.
It can take a while to come to terms with your anxiety and find the best ways to better cope with it. Appreciate the fact that dealing with anxiety can be a journey but there are always people who can help. Request a free consultation from a professional. We hope you will find these tips useful and feel more comfortable dealing with anxiety.
By Pooja Depala