Wednesday, 4 May 2016
8 ways of dealing with anxiety
When you're feeling very anxious, things that normally seem easy start to become difficult and little niggles can become big worries. Whether it's dealing with a presentation in front of a lot of people or even trying something new on your own anxiety often creeps up, sometimes even when you don't expect it. Having suffered with anxiety that feeling of panic and edginess is very predictable and I can start to recognise the patterns. For me anxiety essentially comes from the fear of the unknown, of being thrown into situations where I don't know anyone and I'm essentially alone. I'll then start to doubt myself and think I'm not good enough. Anxiety is essentially a feeling that comes from the thought that we can't cope. By using these 8 techniques you can start to overcome this anxiety and learn of ways of dealing with it. A lot of these have helped in dealing with anxiety in my life.
Take time out
Often being thrown into a whole new situation can seem very scary and cause a lot of anxiety to build. For example if you went to a event on your own and knew you had to mingle so you didn't look alone. If that doesn't come naturally to you it can be a very anxious time. Take 5 minutes to assess the situation and come up with a strategy, i.e. I'll choose to talk to those people first and then go from there. The same thought process can be applied to any situation where you feel anxious.
Take deep breaths
So you've got to do a presentation in front of hundreds of people? I can feel your terror already! Public speaking is a skill and it doesn't come easily to everyone. Before your presentation make sure you make key notes for pointers and know what you're going to say. Focus on one place (like the back wall) so you're looking at your audience and eventually you should start to gather your confidence. If you feel stuttery or wary at any time just take a deep breath. Again in any situation where you feel anxious, slow your breathing down by thinking calm thoughts and focus on your breathing. If you can get one, a paper bag will help.
Don't burn the midnight oil..
If you're burning the wicks at both ends, chances are eventually you'll burn out. Don't try to please everyone, if you can't fit a certain activity into your day be honest about it. It's important to get at last 6 hours a sleep a night so your body can rest and restore itself. Sleep is vital for a healthy mind.
Keep it balanced
Having a good healthy diet will give you all the nutrients and vitamins you need to keep your brain in the best condition. If you just eat junk food all day you'll be filling your body with fat and sugar and very little else. Whilst I wouldn't say eating a lot of junk can directly cause anxiety, it would start to give you poor digestive health which in turn can lead to worry and anxiety. Fill your diet with a equal mix of fruit, vegetables and lean proteins to give your body the best nutrients it can have.
Exercising is great
Exercise is fantastic for creating feel good endorphins that make you feel amazing. So not only will you be getting healthier but those feel good hormones will help to drive the anxiety away. Some fabulous exercises for deep relaxation include Tai Chi or Yoga which use slow rhythmic movements rather than energetic exercise.
Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
Alcohol and caffeine are extremely addictive and if taken in excess can start to cause you a lot of problems. Heavy dependence on these products can lead to anxiety and panic attacks, especially if you don't have any for a certain amount of time.
Sharing is caring
Don't you feel better when you're having a great catch up with your friend? Life just seems like a better place doesn't it? Connecting with people you love is a great way to help share any worries you have and improve your mood. You'll also find if you mention your anxiety that you're certainly not the only one to feel that way!
Connect with the world around you
Nature is beautiful and so many lovely things can be discovered just by embracing it. Take a walk in the park or the woods, ride a bike or even take a hike. The fresh air will help to clear your mind and help you to take perspective on your situation. You're also exercising which again releases feel good endorphins.
I hope you find this article useful in dealing with your anxiety and find strategies to help you cope. If you suffer with panic attacks I have written a poignant article which you can read here.