By Fiona Hekwin, Counsellor at The Eaves
Anxiety is really common and it is something that can affect anyone at any point in the lives. If left unmanaged anxiety can interfere with daily activities and negatively impact our quality of life. However there are tips and tricks that can help us effectively manage anxiety symptoms and improve our emotional wellbeing. This guide includes some effective strategies to reduce anxiety and promote calmness and peace of mind.
Understand the Basics of Anxiety
Anxiety is a perfectly normal response to stress or danger and can be experienced as feeling uneasy or nervous. However when it becomes overwhelming or persistent it can interfere with our lives. Understanding the basics of anxiety is the first step in taking control of your symptoms and improving your mental health.
Talk to Someone you trust
Talking to someone you trust about what is making you anxious can be a relief. It could be that just having someone listen to you can help in itself.
Identify Triggers and Unhelpful Thoughts
One important step in managing anxiety is to identify the situations or triggers that cause it. One important step in managing anxiety is to identify the situations or triggers that cause it. Make a list of situations or events that trigger your anxiety, and try to identify patterns in your reactions. You can also note any negative or unhelpful thoughts that arise during these times. These thoughts can contribute to feelings of anxiety, so it’s important to challenge them and try to replace them with more positive ones. By understanding your triggers and thought patterns, you’ll be better equipped to manage your anxiety and develop effective strategies for overcoming it.
Build your Coping Skills Toolbox
Coping skills are essential in managing anxiety, and you can build your toolbox by adopting techniques that work best for you. It’s essential to practice these coping mechanisms regularly so that they become habits when faced with stressful situations. Remember, everyone copes differently and what works for one person might not be effective for someone else – experiment with different techniques and find the ones that work best for you. Here are some of the things you can try.
1. Look after your physical health
Try to get some exercise each day even if it’s just a walk round the block. Getting outside is really good for mental health. I rate this so much I wrote a blog all about it here.
Get enough sleep. While it can be difficult to sleep if you are anxious getting enough sleep can give us the energy to deal with difficult feelings
Eat well balanced meals and limit alcohol and caffeine. I remember a point in my life when I felt a lot of anxiety. Cutting down the caffeine really helped!
Avoid mind altering substances. While most drugs make us feel better initially research shows that most recreational drug use increases anxiety symptoms.
2. Try breathing exercises.
These are incredibly helpful and can be done anywhere and nobody will know that you are doing them. A simple exercise is to breathe in for the count of 4, hold the breath for 2, breathe out for 6, repeat. It’s that simple! If you get confused with the counting just make sure you breathe out for longer than you breathe in. Try this at bedtime if you are having trouble getting to sleep, it really helps!
3. Complimentary Therapies
There are many to try, see what works for you:
4. Keep a diary
It often helps to keep a record of when you get anxious. This can help identify triggers and help you spot patterns.
Remember to make a note of what is going well. Don’t forget ANXIETY LIES it will tell you everything is awful and will never get better. It is important to be kind to yourself and notice the good things as well.
Seek Help When Needed
While coping mechanisms can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, seeking professional help is crucial when necessary. It’s important to recognize when coping strategies aren’t working as intended and that you need additional support from a mental health professional. Asking for help is a courageous act of self-care.
We have highly trained Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychotherapists available across Surrey in Guildford, Godalming, Haslemere and Farnham. Support is available to individuals of all ages, Monday to Saturday between 9am and 9pm.
To read more about Fiona, or to enquire about her lastest availability, please see her full profile here