I have a friend who’s been with me ever since I was a small child and has never really left my side. The relationship has been rocky over the years and I’ve often tried to distance myself from her, because to be quite frank, she causes me a huge amount of stress. There are times when she’s completely overbearing and smothers me so much that it feels like I can’t breathe; now don’t get me wrong I can handle her in small doses and on occasion she even motivates me to overcome a few of life’s hurdles, but overall she’s very negative and can’t seem to see the bright side of anything. You can imagine then her reaction to the current situation surrounding the current outbreak, this pesky virus that has us all a bit on edge; yes, she’s freaking out daily and making sure that I know about it!
Many of us will experience anxiety at some point in our lives and this is completely normal, it is our body’s natural response to stress. For some, it will only show up during particularly stressful periods and may leave us just as soon as has it arrived. For others, it lingers in the background all the time and just won’t leave us alone. It can make us feel so unwell that it starts to have a detrimental effect on our health, both physically and mentally, and at its worst we may to start to experience panic attacks which can be really scary, especially when happening for the first time.
During a period like this when life has changed so dramatically and left us feeling very uncertain, it’s understandable that many of us will feel anxious and nervous, and for those of us suffering with chronic anxiety, it may be a time of absolute fear that is difficult to switch off from. It’s so important therefore to find ways to try to calm the mind and centre yourself in the moment.
It would be unrealistic to expect the worrying and rumination to disappear completely, but there are some things we can do to help us feel better. Below is some valuable information and tips help get you started
1. What exactly is anxiety?
Although we may have heard the word, do we know what anxiety is? Sometimes we can experience many of the symptoms without really understanding what we’re going through, this can make it much harder to deal with. In this article the mental health
charity, MIND, lists many of the symptoms’ both mental and physical that are associated with anxiety, understanding can really help alleviate confusion and worry https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/anxiety-symptoms/
2. Mindfulness and Meditation
When we are anxious our thoughts race, it’s difficult to stop thinking and over analysing every little thing, there’s things we can do to help reduce the noise and calm us down, meditation is one. Maybe you’ve meditated before and you find it useful, maybe you’ve never tried and think it couldn’t possibly work for you. Meditation is simply the practice of quieting down the mind to reduce stress. This article offers some useful tips on mindfulness and a guide to meditation for anxiety https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-meditation-anxiety/
3. Think about your diet
Ever wondered if the things you eat and drink can have an effect on your mental health? Some of them can! This article explores and explains why they should be avoided when you’re experiencing anxiety https://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-avoid-foods-anxiety-depression
Sometimes when we’re stressed, we literally forget to breathe, our bodies tense up and our breathing gets shallow, increasing the effects of anxiety on the body and making us feel more panicked. Try to remain conscious of your breathing and take slow, deep breaths, for some techniques on breathing for anxiety check out the article here https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercises-for-anxiety
5. Talk to somebody
This might seem like an obvious thing to do but for a lot of people dealing with anxiety, it’s very difficult to open up. The stigma surrounding mental health issues make people feel embarrassed about discussing their feelings, and fear they won’t be believed, or worse, that they’ll be judged. If you can, talk to a close friend or family member that you trust and tell them how you feel, just being able to get stuff off your chest often helps relieve some of the stress. If you don’t have somebody to talk to, Anxiety UK offer a phone service where you can have a chat with a volunteer, anonymously about your concerns they can offer a listening ear and signpost you to professional services if needs be https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help/anxiety-uk-national-infoline-service/