Anxiety - five simple steps
Many people know and live with the disruption that anxiety brings to their lives. The triggers are many and varied, because there are many types of anxiety. Yet, they all have that feeling of unease or dread that something will happen (typically unpleasant) alongside the feeling of powerlessness and a lack of control.
Anxiety can come upon you in an instant: a swarm of thoughts buzzing around your head at 100 mph with seemingly no answer or way out. Often it prevents you sleeping or getting on with your life. Yet there are some simple ways to help you deal with your anxiety.
Breathe it out
When we get anxious, our breathing often changes - it gets faster and shallower. If you take time to breathe slowly and deeply it will help. Breathe in for a count of five, called for five, breathe out for a count of six.
Take a time out
We need time to be ourselves; unwind and let our thoughts and feelings settle. If you are always on the go, always at the back of the queue, always going to get round to it, you are going to have a problem. Take your foot off the gas and do something that is important to you. The “what” does not matter, just that it is something important to you and helps you to unwind.
Look after yourself
In recent years, we have all heard the healthy eating message and understood that we need to exercise for our physical health. Yet it can also make a big difference to our mental health, so there is even more reason to take time to look after ourselves.
Connecting with others
Often when we are anxious we attempt to withdraw and hideaway. Yet good support from family, friends and colleagues can make a big difference by offering you a different point of view of your anxiety, seeing things in a different way. This might be having a chat over a coffee, or simply going to a regular exercise class with them. Talking things through with someone who listens can often help us discover answers to our own problems.
Challenge unhelpful thoughts
Examine the thought using facts. What facts make this thought true? What facts make this thought false? Is there a thought that better fits the facts? Often our anxiety will deliver a thought that focuses on the worst-case scenario. When challenged in this way we end up with a more realistic thought putting our fears into perspective.
You may feel that taking these basic steps is not helping with your anxiety and that you need more help to overcome the problems you face. You might want to consider talking to your GP or to a counsellor about the practical help that is available to assist you.