5 WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY
We've put together some simple ways to help you deal with anxiety & tone it down. If you suffer from stress then you’ll need to know how to deal with anxiety, it’s also more common than you might think. Nearly 1/3 of all mental health issues seen by GPs relate to anxiety and it’s likely that far more of us suffer from mild to moderate anxiety without fully realising it. We all know someone who tends to over-worry about things.
Research has also shown that anxiety levels tend to be far higher in women than in men.
Anxiety shows itself in a multitude of ways, from fears right through to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) but the most common type is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). An example of GAD could be someone who is over worrying about things which can begin to cause problems with sleep & and tension in the body. We can all feel worried or anxious about things at times but if it's affecting your life then it's time to take action.
If you feel you might have an issue then the first step is to recognise this and speak to your GP and just go from there. Here are a few tried and tested, evidence-based ways to help you manage your anxiety.
1. CHANGE OF THOUGHTS
Nope it’s not a long-term solution, but a change of thought can really tone down & kick an onset of feeling anxious. Thinking about something else can also help you to break specific patterns anxiety, for example every time you walk into supermarket or every time you need to ask someone a question in a shop.
Here’s how, the moment you start noticing anxious feelings or thoughts, just say to yourself NO! Then immediately find something else to do & think about. Do some writing, or go for a run, call a friend or family member, whatever works for you.
Breathing calmly in a controlled way helps to diffuse anxiety in the brain by stimulating the opposite of the “Fight or Flight” response. Breathe in counting to 7 and exhale counting to 11, count as fast or slow as you wish, it’s the ratio that’s important. Continue to breathe in and out until you begin to feel calm.
3. THEY’RE JUST THOUGHTS
It’s important to take a step back & verify your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t mean it’s true, in fact anxious thoughts are often irrational or distorted. If you‘re having anxious feelings then remember your mind will tend to think “worst case scenario” which is usually the most unlikely outcome. Just breathe & put things back into perspective.
4. KEEP A LOG
Keeping a day to day log of how you’re feeling can really help you verify your thoughts & puts things into perspective. Just get exactly how you’re feeling down on paper & trust me it’ll feel really great just letting it all out. Studies have shown that being grateful can really boost your feelings of well-being so write down a list of things you’re thankful for. It could be, “I’m grateful for my family, my pet, my job, my friends it could be anything. Then finally. write some of the positive feelings you have such as, I’m feeling in control, I’m feeling relaxed, I’m feeling motivated or I’m feeling strong. Do this each day, maybe just before bed or first thing in the morning.
This one is simple but super effective. Write down your worry and then give it a 'rational response' to verify it. E.g. if you write, 'I’m going to completely mess up the presentation tomorrow & probably get sacked'. Your rational response might be, ' I've never heard of anyone losing their job over being nervous for a presentation, I’ve practiced enough & yes I’m a little nervous but nerves are good. Everything usually goes pretty well and I’m sure it will tomorrow' - You’ll instantly feel a little better. Getting in the habit of writing down any worries you have and verifying them will help train your brain to see things more rationally so do it for every worry.