Thankfully, we live in an age where mental health is spoken about more openly. Many high-profile celebrities and sports stars have publicly come forward about suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues. Anxiety affects all of us at some point during our lives, while some may suffer more frequently and more severely from it.
The next time you find yourself suffering from anxiety, here are a few tips that might help you cope.
It sounds simple but practising deep breathing can calm that panicked feeling you might start getting when anxiety rears its ugly head. Try breathing in for four seconds and out for four seconds. Do this for three to five minutes to slow your heart rate and calm yourself down. You can also try 4-7-8 breathing. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and breathe out for 8 seconds. Continue this until you feel calmer.
Anxiety is caused by triggers such as job stress, alcohol, financial worries, phobias, trauma, medication, or other mental health issues. It may not be simple to understand your trigger, or you may identify it quickly. Nevertheless, understanding what is causing your anxiety can help prevent it. When you have figured out your trigger, if possible, limit your exposure. If this is not possible, look to other coping techniques to help you through.
Yes, it’s cropping up again. Although having anxiety may make you feel lethargic and lacking in energy, spending some time focussed on your body is a proven way to reduce anxiety. A short 20-minute walk, 15 minutes of yoga, lifting weights, or a bike ride are great ways to reduce anxiety. Just pick your preferred method of exercise and start small. Something is better than nothing.
A great coping mechanism that helps calm thoughts and clear your mind is the 5,4,3,2,1 technique. Start by looking around the room and naming five things you see around you, such as a painting or a bird flying outside. Afterwards, name four things you can touch, your chair or the ground beneath you, for example. Then, name three things you can hear, maybe your breathing or a fan. Next, identify two things you can smell, for instance, your perfume. Finally, notice something you can taste. It might be something you last ate or drank or some lipstick. For even greater calm, team this exercise with some deep breathing.
If you suffer from regular bouts of anxiety, it may be worth finding a therapist. There are many different techniques and approaches to therapy, and it might take a few goes to find a style that suits you. Still, finding a good therapist can help in a myriad of ways. While it may seem intimidating or embarrassing to some, there is nothing to be ashamed about. Lots of people see therapists, and you probably don’t even realise. Also, they work, and there should be no stigma in visiting a professional. After all, it’s no different to visiting a dentist when you have a niggly tooth.