Top 10 tips to managing anxiety
Managing anxiety needs to consider several aspects:
- How do I manage in the present moment?
- What is causing my anxiety?
- How do I address the underlying cause?
- How do I manage a panic attack?
As a therapist working with anxiety in clients, there is no simple answer, as each individual will have their own path to managing and healing. However, here are some common tips and skills that can help.
Managing in the present moment
1. Acknowledging that you have anxiety is the first step to managing it
2. Letting others know (people you feel safe with and trust) that you feel anxious can help
3. Creating a sensory box of calming objects
4. Include all the senses when choosing items – things to touch, things to smell, something to listen to, something to taste, something to look at. Spend time making the box when you feel calm
5. Consider wearing an elastic band on your wrist, in case of panic attacks
6. Sleep – a good night’s sleep is integral to good emotional health. Consider your bed time routine – limit screen time and ensure at least a 30 minute break before bed (extreme tiredness can be confused with anxiety, as the feelings may be felt the same in the body and your mind might be making sense of the tiredness in this way)
7. Consider a supplement like magnesium, which supports the body’s relaxation processes. Consider keeping a diary of feelings, writing them down can help to make sense of your feelings
8. Take some gentle exercise. A walk in the park, some gentle stretching or perhaps a swim
9. Consider your diet; are you getting enough nutrients for your body to function well?
10. Drink water! Pay attention to the feeling of the water filling your mouth and running down your throat.
Underlying cause and addressing these concerns
1. Talk to someone you trust and feel safe with
2. Talk to a therapist
3. Begin to notice triggers for your anxiety
4. Consider your current life path and what it means to you
5. Consider your current relationships and what they mean to you, including romantic partners, friends and family
6. Look at other influences in your life for example your community
7. How are bigger influences such as world events impacting you?
8. Do you feel fearful about the future?
9. Have you been impacted by your childhood and does this need some attention?
10. Consider where you do feel safe and ask what that means for you.
Managing panic attacks
1. Stop what you are doing. Sit down if you can do safely
2. If you have an elastic band, snap it on your wrist
3. Take five deep breathes and ensure the out breath is slightly longer than the in-breath
4. Look around you, what do you see? Name the things that you see. Name the objects, the colours, the shapes. If you are with someone you feel safe with, engage them in the conversation and tell them how you feel. Let them know you need them to remain calm and name objects with you
5. Notice what the temperature is. Can you feel any wind or heat on your skin?
6. Notice any smells around you
7. Feel your feet on the ground and notice how solid the ground is
8. Stroke your arms or forehead and notice if you begin to feel calmer
9. Take out your sensory box (as above and spend some time going through the items, remembering how it feels to be calm)
10. Have faith that this will pass.
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