Ten top tips for dealing with anxiety
Last week I touched on why the situation with coronavirus is causing anxiety in ways you may never have imagined, and I promised to share some top tips for dealing with anxious feelings.
There is no one size fits all, but adding any or all of these small steps into your life could amount to big change.
1. Turn off the news, throw away newspapers and delete your news apps - if something major happens, you will hear about it one way or another. The media’s constant stream of negativity is likely to be really unhelpful if you are feeling anxious or find yourself constantly ruminating, so stop away.
2. Keep to a routine - To retain a sense of normality, we need to feel a sense of normality. So get up at the same time, put a plan in place for the things you know you need to get done and follow a routine.
3. Exercise - Not necessarily a full-on workout, just whatever you can manage to get your blood pumping. A brisk walk or bike ride, dancing around the kitchen to the radio, an online yoga session. My husband swears by yoga to manage his anxiety - it has revolutionised his life in recent years in a way he never thought it could.
4. Time alone - If you are part of a family this is vital. Living on top of one another all this time is hard, so escape to the garden, your bedroom, read a book, listen to a meditation recording or your favourite music, have a soothing bath, learn something new - whatever floats your boat and makes you happy. Chat with your family and ensure they understand this is your time. And of course - do the same for them in return.
5. Express gratitude - it’s easy to scoff when someone suggests you count your blessings, but it really does help. Make a note every night of three things you are grateful for. You’ll quickly find those three things rapidly turn into a whole list and it will trigger a sense of happiness and joy for what you have in your life.
6. Sleep well - I cannot stress enough just how important sleep is to your entire wellbeing. Get to bed at a reasonable time - remember that routine mentioned earlier! Without good quality sleep we feel lethargic and fuzzy and generally less able to cope with life’s challenges. A good sleep hypnosis recording might help - you can just nod off while listening to it and allow all those positive suggestions to filter into your unconscious.
7. Be sensible on social media - don’t get involved in debates if you know you are feeling fired up or emotionally fractious. Love yourself enough to step away when you see things that trigger an undesired response in you; unfollow if necessary. Steer clear of groups where members often have such an extreme cognitive bias going on that they have become inflexible to another perspective. Be aware that some people have an agenda and thrive on stirring up ‘debate’. That’s all well and good for them, but those who fall into the trap of responding may not always be emotionally robust enough to cope with the constant comebacks and interrogation of their words. Remember you can step away at any time; you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.
8. Be kind - to yourself and others. That old adage of “you never know what someone else is going through” has never been more true. People are dealing with all sorts beyond the smokescreen of Facebook. It’s normal to worry, it’s normal to feel anxious. But if you feel it’s becoming a problem be your own best friend and seek out some of the excellent professional support that is available.
9. Remember to breathe - it sounds obvious, but when we are in the grip of panic our breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try the 7-11 breathing technique - breathe in for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11. Do this for 5 minutes and notice the calming effect it has on your body and mind. Our out breaths decrease blood pressure and slow the heart rate, which is why a longer exhale is more effective at lowering a heightened emotional state.
10. Time passes, feelings are fluid. Look how different things are to 3 months ago - there is huge progress and every reason to feel optimistic. At some point in the future we will all realise that the ‘new normal’ has sneaked up on us and the worrying thoughts and feelings we are currently experiencing have dissipated and been replaced by other thoughts and feelings.
If anxiety is a factor in your life I will soon be running a free group hypnosis session that will allow you to make the positive changes you need in your life. It’s a chance to switch off, close your eyes and allow your unconscious mind to make the necessary adjustments to release you from the grip of fear. Keep an eye on my page for details. I care about you and I want you to be well. You can be well.