Understanding anxiety and finding relief

Anxiety is a common condition that affects many people. It can show up in various ways such as worry, generalised anxiety, panic, social anxiety, or specific phobias. If you are struggling with anxiety, it's important to know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help.


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress and perceived threats. It triggers a range of physical and emotional reactions including increased heart rate, restlessness, excessive worry, and difficulty concentrating. While some level of anxiety is normal, persistent and excessive anxiety can negatively affect our daily lives and overall well-being.

Strategies to reduce anxiety

1. Deep breathing and muscle relaxation

Learning some deep breathing and relaxation techniques can be an effective way to manage anxiety. These techniques help to activate your body's natural relaxation response and can leave you feeling more relaxed and at ease. One great example of this is the Sa-Ha method, but there are many other techniques you can try, such as meditation, guided imagery (I like this Sci-Fi one on YouTube) and progressive muscle relaxation.

Also, Oprah Daily offers a fantastic set of breathing exercises that I highly recommend. Practising these techniques when you don't need them can be beneficial, as it can enhance their effectiveness when you do need them.

2. Moving your body

It's really important to move your body regularly to help reduce anxiety. Engaging in physical activity can be a powerful tool to help you feel better. When you exercise or move around, your body releases endorphins that can act as natural mood boosters and the best part is, you don't even have to go to the gym to experience the benefits.

Activities like walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing around the kitchen table can be great ways to get moving and feel good. If you have trouble moving, even stretching can help reduce anxiety.

3. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT has been shown to be a highly effective approach to managing anxiety. CBT can help individuals develop coping strategies, challenge negative thought patterns, and learn relaxation techniques. If your anxiety feels overwhelming, it may be worthwhile to consider seeking support from a counsellor who uses CBT in combination with other therapy styles for more meaningful and long-lasting change.

4. Maintain a balanced lifestyle

Prioritise self-care by ensuring proper sleep, maintaining a well-balanced diet, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. These lifestyle factors play a significant role in managing anxiety levels.

5. Connect with others

Share your feelings and concerns with trusted friends, family members, or support groups. Talking openly about anxiety can help alleviate its burden and provide a sense of relief. Surround yourself with a positive and supportive network. Side by Side is an online peer support community from Mind where you can connect with others who understand what you are going through.

Resources for anxiety support in the UK

Here are some reputable resources to explore:

  • Mind: Mind is a leading mental health charity in the UK that provides support and information for individuals living with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Visit their website for more information.
  • Anxiety UK: Anxiety UK is a national charity dedicated to helping those with anxiety disorders. They offer a helpline, therapy services, and support groups. You can find more details on their website.
  • NHS Mental Health Services: The NHS offer a range of services across the UK. Find helplines, support services, and local resources on the NHS website.
  • Headspace and Calm: These popular meditation and mindfulness apps offer guided meditations, soothing music, and relaxation techniques to help manage anxiety. Both apps are available for download on iOS and Android devices.

Seeking professional help is crucial if anxiety significantly impacts your daily life. Everyone's journey in managing anxiety is unique, so finding the right approach may take time. Be patient with yourself and embrace the support and resources available to you.

If you are looking for support, then together we can work towards reducing your anxiety and creating a healthier, more balanced life. You can contact me via my profile.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Olney MK46 & Milton Keynes MK14
Written by Gareth Eglinton-Pacitti, DCounsPsych, MBACP
Olney MK46 & Milton Keynes MK14

I’m a therapeutic counsellor who works with people looking to improve their emotional well-being, build healthier relationships, make life easier, and move forward from the past. I provide a solution-focused and compassion-based service that is relaxed, safe, and productive. Sessions are held...

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