We all experience anxiety of some level – that’s what makes us human. It’s the body’s natural response to stress, but sometimes it can become too much and turn into the ruler of our lives. When it becomes excessive, uncontrollable and irrational, it can affect our work, relationships and social lives, as well as make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks.
The good news is there are manageable steps you can take to strengthen the brain against anxiety. If you feel that your worrying it out of control and would like help dealing with it, this information about dealing with anxiety may help. We also urge you to get in contact with us so we can arrange an appointment with one of our mental health specialists, ensuring you receive the best possible care and attention.
What are the signs of anxiety?
- Excessive worrying that lasts for weeks or months
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Being irritable
- Having tense or sore muscles
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling easily tired
- Feeling a sense of dread
- Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Seeking reassurance from others
How to deal with anxiety
Practice focused, deep breathing
By focusing and evening out your breath, you can slow your heart rate down which should help you feel calmer. When you feel anxious, try breathing in deeply for 4 counts and out for 4 counts – do this for about 5 minutes in total.
Stay present in your thoughts
Negative thoughts can take root in your mind and evolve into even more negative thoughts. Try and stay present in the moment, open up your senses to the world around you using the 54321 mindfulness trick. Look around and name 5 things you can see, then 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and then finally, 1 thing you can taste.
Do a daily or routine meditation
Plan some time out of your day to carry out mindful meditation. During this meditation, you should be sat comfortably in a quiet room away from the world. Pay attention to any thoughts that pass through your mind – don’t judge or become involved with them, simply observe. Take note of any patterns, and remain fully conscious. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or on your breath while you observe bodily sensations, feelings or thoughts.
Eliminate your triggers where possible
Identifying what triggers your anxious episodes is an important step in managing them. What causes anxiety is likely a combination of factors including genetics and past experiences. However, some events, emotions and experiences can cause the symptoms to become worse – generally, these triggers include:
- Social media
- Skipping meals
- Financial concerns
- Strained relationships
Sit or stand up straight
When we’re anxious, we tend to slouch and hunch over to protect our upper body. Pull your shoulders back, open your chest and breathe. It helps your body sense that it’s back in control.
Treat yourself with some ‘you’ time – get a massage, get your hair done or relax with a face mask. Make you feel better about you.
Stay away from sugar
It may be tempting to treat yourself with something sweet when you’re stressed, like chocolate or fizzy pop. But, it can do more harm than good – sugar can worsen anxious feelings. Instead, eat something high in protein or drink a glass of water, as these will provide your body with slow energy which we can use to recover.
Be patient with yourself
Be patient with whatever you are feeling, and understand that no thought or feeling lasts forever. However big the problem feels, know that you will always be stronger and more resilient. It takes time, and should be done in small manageable steps to avoid it becoming too much and reverting back to old habits.
Speak to a specialist
Our inhouse mental health specialists are on hand to sensitively diagnose, prevent and treat anxiety disorders. If you would like to get professional and effective help for yourself or a loved one, you can book an appointment through our online form or by phoning our psychotherapy clinic on 0207 132 1440.