Do you feel like you’re always stressed out, and like anxieties and worries are preventing you from moving forward in your life? A quarter of the UK population will suffer from a mental illness during just one year, with depression and anxiety at the top of the list. Anxiety comes in many forms, from social anxiety to PTSD to health anxiety – if you feel that you might have an anxiety disorder it is important to find out which type, and then to address your particular problem. No matter which type of anxiety you may have, severe fear or worry that is ongoing is characteristic of all anxiety disorders. Be aware of the following signs of anxiety:
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
mind gone blank
lack of concentration
feeling of dread
Physical Symptoms of anxiety include:
shortness of breath
How to Calm Anxiety
There is a lot you can do yourself to calm anxiety and take control of stress.
Here are 3 helpful tips to help you achieve a state of wellbeing:
It’s really good to evaluate your lifestyle and ask yourself is it contributing to your stress and anxiety levels?
Ask yourself the following questions…
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Is my schedule too demanding – how’s my work/home balance?
- Too much Coffee/Tea? (Caffeine is a mild stimulant which can create anxiety)
- How’s my emotional support?
- Do I have recreational time/rest time for myself?
If your lifestyle is unbalanced, stress, anxiety and exhaustion is likely to result.
Take your time to ponder you lifestyle and you may see there is something you need to change, and take action today to make that change. Last week I couldn’t sleep and found myself tossing and turning into the early hours of the morning. I started to feel worry that I would be too exhausted to cope with life’s demands the next day – but after some reflection I realised that 1. I’d had caffeine too late in the day for me personally to get to sleep early, and 2. I hadn’t given my mind any time to wind down all day. I knew I needed to look after myself a bit better so as to feel more rested and up for living to my full potential the next day. By a few minor tweaks in your lifestyle, you can increase your sense of wellbeing – small changes produce big results! Perhaps you need emotional support and would benefit from scheduling in time to see friends. Or you just really need to get to sleep an hour earlier? Maybe you haven’t been playing your sport for a few weeks and that helps you to wind down and relax. Take some time to think about where your lifestyle is at and take action today to create a healthier you!
2. Journal Your Worries
If you are continually trying not to focus on particular worries you will notice that you probably end up focusing on them more! Try writing worries down – addressing and naming them can be very effective – by processing them in this way you can let them go and this will free up your mind. They are now out of your head on paper/filed away in your hard drive, and are more likely to disappear more quickly, as you have consciously faced them.
The way you breathe when you are anxious – fast and shallow, perhaps hyperventilating; creates an imbalance in your body, as you are breathing in more oxygen than your body needs. This causes you experience even more symptoms of anxiety – sweaty hands, dizziness, a fast heart rate, confusion. It’s hard for you to think clearly. Sound familiar?
If you can manage to get your breathing under control when you first notice yourself becoming anxious, it will go a long way towards helping you to remain in control.
You can do this by learning a few breathing techniques. The key is to slow your breathing down, because when you are relaxed, your breathing is naturally slow and deep. Learning breathing techniques is a skill, so don’t be discouraged if you find it hard at first – it becomes easy if you keep doing it. If you can do it every day your mind and body can become accustomed to it, and that will help you when you most need it.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position
- Take a deep breath in for 4 seconds through your nose
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds
- Release your breath through your nose for 6 seconds
- And repeat as many times as you like
If you commit to these 3 steps: refining your lifestyle, journaling away your worries, and making time for breathing every week, I’m confident that you will begin to see less stress and anxiety in your life and will start to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life!
Sometimes it helps to have a professional alongside to help, especially when anxiety and stress is more severe and disrupting your daily routines. The good news is anxiety responds very well to treatment. Therapy for anxiety can involve CBT and mindfulness techniques. CBT focuses on changing destructive thought patterns – how you think affects how you feel, and your emotions influence your behaviour. You are what you think. What you think is what you will become!
One does what one is; one becomes what one does. Robert von Musil
Should you choose to work alongside me, we will:
identify unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs
examine the validity of those beliefs
establish realistic beliefs to help you when you are anxious
create plans for overcoming fears with gradual exposure
learn mindfulness & relaxation techniques
Note: The information provided on this blog is by no means a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. No guarantee can be given that the information on this blog will have the most recent developments or research with respect to a particular topic.