5 ways to cope with anxiety

It is estimated that around 8 million people suffer from anxiety in the UK, women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared with men. Yet, anxiety is a normal, innately human reaction to stressful situations, in other words, anxiety is our ‘flight or fight’ response.

Anxiety is an emotional state of internal disturbance, which is often accompanied by a feeling of anticipated dread, an expectation of being inadequate or mocked with belittlement; this is otherwise known as social anxiety.

Symptoms may include an increased heartbeat, excessive sweating, dry mouth, chest tightness, irritability and restlessness to name a few. Anxiety may impinge upon your daily life; prevent you from doing certain things; participating in work meetings or going to social events.

While anxiety might be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, it could likewise be caused by excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, and certain types of prescription medication too. It may be useful for you to eliminate any of these factors as being the root cause of feeling anxious.

There are a number of things for you to consider and experiment with when it comes to beating anxiety. There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to managing anxiety, symptoms and causations remain complex, and you cannot know what works for you unless you try different approaches.

5 ways to cope better with anxiety

Here are five self-help tips to enable you to cope better with anxiety:

1. Notice your thoughts, beliefs and expectations. Once you are aware that anxiety is present, you can begin to view it for what it is; an innately human, but unwelcome intrusion, and not your fundamental self; there is far more to you than the anxiety itself. It may be useful to view anxiety as a signal of uneasiness, rather than evidence that there is something ‘wrong’ with you. 

2. Challenge your self-talk; that critical internal voice which tells you that you aren’t good enough, or that you have nothing to contribute, and that other people do not like or value you. Be kind to yourself and accept that this harsh self-critique is not a universal truth by any means. 

3. Make use of relaxation techniques; breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, notice any muscle tensions and allow your shoulders to drop into a more comfortable position, place your feet firmly on the floor to enable you to feel more grounded. Meditation and mindfulness might also aid you in feeling more connected. 

4. Engage with ongoing self-care, this can be anything which gives you enjoyment; going for a walk, exercising, listening to uplifting music, reading a good book, soaking in a hot bath or cooking yourself a nice meal. The possibilities are endless; it is merely a matter of finding out what works best for you. 

5. Avoid screen-time before bedtime, limit your alcohol and caffeine intake too. This will help you in getting a better night’s sleep; leaving you feeling more relaxed and better prepared to embark on a new day ahead.

Should you need further support, contact a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you manage 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.

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Brighton, East Sussex, BN2

Written by Maja Andersen

Brighton, East Sussex, BN2

Maja Andersen is a BACP registered counsellor in private practice, working with individual adult clients across clinics in Brighton and Hove.

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