Strategies for Managing Anxiety
Learning techniques to help you manage your anxiety and cope better with the symptoms can really make a difference. So, by having some strategies that work for you, helps you not to let your anxiety rule your life.
1. Take the anxious thoughts and ground them in reality
Try to identify what exactly you’re afraid of and assess how likely it will happen. Frequently, we automatically imagine the worse-case scenario. Once you identify your fears or anxious thoughts, ask your logical brain whether they are actually true, or might you be exaggerating things.
- Examples of these thoughts could be: “This person is judging me,” “I sound incompetent,” “I’m hopeless,” and “Nobody ever listens to me.”
Good grounding thoughts would be: “I don’t really know what this person is thinking and it is possible that they are interested in my opinion. I might not know much about what we are talking about, but nobody can know everything. If they choose not to listen to me, that’s their choice and it’s not about me.”
2. Take a deep breath in and a longer breath out.
Breathing in deeply and then taking a longer breath out tells your brain that it’s time to relax. A ratio of 7:11 works well; in for 7 and out for 11. Try adding to this by imagining you are breathing in the colour blue (count of 7) and breathing out the colour red (count of 11).
3. Ask your logical brain “What would I tell a friend in this situation?”
Asking this question helps to view the situation objectively and logically, instead of responding with emotion.
4. Stay active and eat healthily
Coffee, alcohol and cigarettes are stimulants and may disrupt sleep, speed up your heartbeat and make you feel worse. Staying active and exercising may help as it’s an opportunity to combat stress and release tension. Exercise also encourages your brain to release serotonin which may improve your mood. You don’t have to follow a strict diet or a tough workout regime, but eating healthy foods and staying active can improve overall well-being.
5. Join a support group
Joining a support group provides an opportunity to talk to people who face similar challenges to you. This could be either on-line or face to face. But, either way, talking about the difficulties you face and sharing what you’re going through can remind you that you’re not alone, and help is available.
6. Don’t be afraid to get help
Managing these intense responses to anxiety might seem overwhelming or too difficult to do on your own. If so, some of these solutions could help:
- See your doctor. Your doctor may discuss medication with you and/or refer you for counselling.
- Don’t dismiss other interventions. Join a meditation class, or many people find that something like yoga can be extremely effective.
- Seek a private counsellor.
- Use mindfulness resources.
Counselling Can Help
If you are considering counselling, you can talk to your GP who may be able to access free counselling for you or you can seek a private counsellor for yourself.
If you decide to seek a counsellor for yourself then choose one that’s properly qualified and accredited. The Counselling Directory (www.counselling-directory.org.uk) undergo checks to make sure everyone they list is properly qualified and belongs to a professional body.
Read More: Anxiety and Taking Back Control