Living with anxiety can be hard. We have put together some top tips for anxiety management...

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. It can creep in at any moment, often when you least expect it.

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious in some situations, for example a job interview, sitting an exam or having a medical procedure. However, some people find it extremely hard to control their feelings of worry and unease. Their anxiety may become more constant, to the point that it starts to affect their every day life and mental health.

You may feel like it’s impossible to ever be relieved of your anxiety, but there are ways to manage it.

Here are some top tips and advice to reduce your feelings of anxiety.

Take a deep breath

The best thing to do when your anxious is to breathe. Deep breathing is an anxiety reducing technique that activates the body’s relaxation response.

Breathe in slowly and deeply from the belly to the chest, gently hold your breath to the count of four and slowly exhale.

Repeat this several times until you feel your body change to a state of calm.

Use positive language

Anxiety can often cause you to speak negatively to yourself. Try to talk to yourself in a positive way, using positive words.

Changing the way you speak to yourself doesn’t change over night, but it’s something you have to be aware of and make a conscious effort to change.

For example, if you’re having a panic attack, it can cause you to feel panicky and light headed; it can also make you feel like your chest is going tight, you can’t breath and every worst-case scenario is running through your mind.

Rather than thinking negative thoughts to yourself like “I’m going to die, I’m having a heart attack, I cant breathe” try to say to yourself “This is just a panic attack, I will be fine. I need to breathe slowly and I will be fine”.

Changing the way you speak to yourself will make a big difference to how you feel.

Remember – anxiety is just a state of mind, you can manage your thoughts and take control.

Use mindfulness

Mindfulness is thinking about the present moment, taking in your surroundings and being completely in the moment.

Using mindfulness can reduce anxiety and stress. It will stop you thinking about the things you are worrying about, whether they are in the past or if you’re worrying about what could happen in the future.

Stay in the moment, use mindfulness and feel your anxiety drift away.

Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and anxiety. During exercise, your body releases endorphins which are often classified as the ‘happy’ hormone.

Research shows that exercising helps you sleep better, improves your mood, provides you with more energy and reduces anxiety, stress and depression.

Exercising also reduces your risk of developing dementia, along with a number of other health related issues.

What we eat and drink can have a large impact on our emotional state. The most common foods associated with anxiety are ones containing caffeine and alcohol.

Studies have shown that even if caffeine is consumed in small amounts, it can cause anxiety, panic attacks and increased feelings of nervousness and irritability. Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, tea, chocolate and fizzy drinks such as coke.

Alcohol can also cause anxiety. Alcohol acts as a depressant, it can affect your balance, feelings, thoughts and actions. If you drink a high quantity of alcohol and drink regularly long-term, this can lead to depression.

Accepting that you have anxiety

Accepting that you have anxiety and understanding the feelings will provide you with the key to controlling your anxiety and your negative thoughts. Find yourself an anxiety-reducing method that works for you and use it to bring yourself back down to a state of calm.

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