Ways to help calm anxiety
It is thought that around 6 million people in the UK are currently suffering from Anxiety and Depression, with 3 million living with anxiety.
Some people have circumstantial anxiety, where a stressful trigger causes a feeling of anxiety. This kind of anxiety is usually fairly short-lived, going away again when the trigger or stress is removed. But for other people anxiety is part of their daily life, and makes doing normal, day to day tasks almost impossible.
So what can be done to help reduce anxiety?
Here are some practical ways to help calm anxiety
Distract yourself either with an app, or with a task or by playing some cheerful or calming music. Set a timer for 15 minutes and go do something else. Useful apps for anxiety include
All of which can be found on the Apple App Store and/or on Play Store
Challenge your thinking
We often believe everything we tell ourselves or totally buy into the ‘facts’ we create about any given situation, so for a second ask yourself if this is just a thought or a fact. Remember thoughts and facts are two very different things and we can with practice change our thinking!
Write down an ‘if this then that’ list
If you are worrying about a specific thing, try writing down a ‘if this then that’ list. Basically this is stating if *this* happens then I’ll do that…
It gives you back a sense of power and control over the situation. There may be a number of solutions to the problem in hand and if so, list them all. This gives you a range of options to consider, if whatever you’re worrying about actually happens!
If you find that you are breathing rapidly it can help to slow your breathing right down, breathing in for 4 and out for 7.
Here’s a useful grounding exercise. Look around the room and notice
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Consider if whatever you’re worrying about really is important?
Most things we encounter aren’t really that important in the global scheme of things. Richard Carlson, Author of ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ wrote ‘Ask yourself the question will this matter a year from now?’ Chances are it won’t and if that’s the case don’t worry about it!
Be kind to yourself for the small steps you make
If you suffer from anxiety which often prevents you from doing day to day stuff, set yourself a small challenge each day and then profusely praise yourself for any progress you make.
If going out is uncomfortable but you get as far as the gate, then you’ve made progress. Even if you just make it as far as the door, that’s progress. But then build on that progress and tomorrow see if you can get as far as next door and then praise yourself for that too.
Consider how long the ‘pain’ will last
If you’re anxious about a driving test, exam, job interview etc, consider how long the ‘pain’ of the situation is going to last for. A driving test will probably last less than an hour but once you’ve passed, hopefully you’ll never need to do that again, and the gain from sitting the test will last a lifetime. A job interview also generally lasts for around an hour and again even if it’s very painful the ‘pain’ will go fairly quickly afterwards.
Get rid of unnecessary stress
I remember one day a while ago needing to be at a meeting in an unfamiliar part of a city nearby. For days panicked about getting there, finding the venue, finding the parking, allowing time to get lost, not knowing what I would do if there was no parking available etc etc. In the end I cancelled my appointment and the whooosh of relief was huge. It made all the difference not having to tackle it. It wasn’t life cruical, I wasn’t letting anyone down by not going, and to be able to gift myself the knowledge I just didn’t have to go, was all that was needed to bring my anxiety back down to normal levels.
Cut back on Sugary Foods and Caffeine
Studies have shown that Sugary foods and Caffeine both affect people’s anxiety levels so try drinking water, herbal teas and drinks without caffeine and avoid having a sugar rush.
Have regular Treatments
Complementary Therapies that may help with anxiety include
These all calm and soothe and can help you to relax and feel less anxious. Some treatments can be available as home visits which would be good for those who have agrophobia.
Useful Essential Oils to help with anxiety
Essential oils are great for helping reduce anxiety. The best ones for anxiety are
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Over to you!
What helps you with your anxiety? Please let me know in the comments box below
Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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