Kick starting your anxiety control
Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their life. For some it’s the dentist’s chair, for some the exam hall. Stressful situations, tight deadlines and social situations can all cause us to feel anxious. Mild anxiety can be a good thing, it keeps us alert and focused in fast changing situations especially if there is an element of threat. However, usually the threat passes and our anxiety passes with it.
Yet for some with anxiety disorders this is not the case the fear and worry that grips them does not go away but can be a companion as they go about their daily life. The great news is that everyone can take simple steps to deal with and manage their anxiety, taking back the control.
What are the steps to control your anxiety
What are the steps if you are one of the sufferers of anxiety in the UK? Some things are very simple and you don’t get much simpler than breathing. Deep slow breathing helps to promote relaxation and moves us away from anxiety responses.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit then inhale for a count of four. Breathe from your diaphragm. Hold onto your breath for three, and then release it over a count of four. Repeat this several times.
Try to stay in touch with friends and family, taking a walk and talking and connecting with loved ones really helps to lower anxiety levels. If you don’t have friends and family close perhaps you could consider a class or something where you are likely to engage with other people.
Similarly try to be active. This is not necessarily joining the local gym but rather build some exercise into your daily routine. It could be walking or climbing the stairs. Research has shown that exercise releases endorphins which make us feel better.
Anxiety is usually associated with negative thought patterns. Often you will be convinced that the worst is going to happen, each scenario builds as the situation in your head spirals out of control until you find yourself in the direst of circumstances. Learning how to challenge these thoughts is the key. Challenging them early on and asking yourself what evidence there is that makes them true, remembering that feelings and assumption are not evidence. Usually by challenging your thought process in this way you can keep the negative thoughts under control.
Of course sometimes it is better and easier to start to manage your anxiety with a counsellor or therapist. Professional help can make the difference both in offering other viewpoints and in helping you with practical steps that you can take to control and reduce your anxiety. There is also something comforting from having help from someone who is not there to judge you but who is there to challenge you and to help you to improve and to get back to the life that you want.
A final thought about anxiety
While anxiety can be overwhelming at times, it can be overcome; taking small steps make a big difference over time. Perhaps the reality is that the sooner you can get started the sooner you can be in charge of your anxiety.
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.