Friday 29 September 2017

Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety

Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety help support mental health illness wellbeing panic attacks OCD depression

I know all too well what it's like to struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks can be terrifying, you feel like you are going to die. The reality is you're not. Although scary, panic attacks will not kill you. It often feels like you are having a heart attack, I know what that feels like but it's just your mind tricking you. 

Over time I've picked up quite a few little coping techniques to help keep my anxiety under control. Sometimes they won't work, that's okay because I learn from the experience and maybe sometimes I even pick up a little coping mechanism from it too.  

Keeping anxiety under control and dealing with panic attacks do not have to be complicated. Which is why all of these methods are very simple and to some of you will seem completely obvious. However, if anxiety is something you have only recently been struggling with, you may find these super useful.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Method 

This little tip is perfect if you are struggling with a panic attack. The idea is that it grounds you, making you feel more aware of your present surroundings. The idea is you name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. The order doesn't really matter nor does it matter if you can't name something in each category. 

This tip is also perfect if you know someone who suffers from anxiety or has panic attacks frequently and you don't know how to help them. Distraction is often the best way, and this technique is simple to follow and easy to remember. 

If in doubt, breathe out 

This seems ridiculously easy but when anxiety is getting the best of us it can be easy to forget to breathe out. Our amygdala in the limbic system controls feelings of panic and anxiety. When we are having a panic attack or feeling very anxious, we can start to take very shallow breaths. Our brain has gone into fight, freeze or flight response because it thinks we are in danger. By breathing out, we are taking back control and telling our brains that we are safe and there is no reason to be anxious.

Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety depression support yoga tips meditation help panic attacks OCD

Finding a 'safe smell.' 

This may sound so strange, but I promise it's not as weird as it sounds. Some people find smells help ground them when having a panic attack. Calming smells like lavender, tea tree or albus oil are particular favourites among lots of people. You can also buy rollerballs in lots of different scents which are perfect to carry around with you if you find yourself having a panic attack or just feeling anxious in public. 

Self-care Diaries 

I've lost count of how many times I've said we are not robots, we are humans, and therefore we need rest and breaks. But it's important, so I'll keep saying it. You may think you can work nonstop all day from the minute you wake up till you go to bed, relying on a concoction of caffeine, very little sleep and willpower. The reality is you can't, and eventually you will burn out. 

Which is why you need to schedule in times during the day for dedicated self-care activities. A diary is an excellent way to keep track of what you do and plan for the week ahead. Try to mix it up a bit, use different activities at different times of the day. You could do some yoga or meditation in the morning or read a book before bed. It's important to find whatever works for you. 

Trigger tables 

Trigger tables are an easy way to control anxiety. By recognising your triggers whether that be an idea, particular situation or something different, you can plan to tackle it differently next time. Simply grab some paper and draw up a table which identifies your trigger, for example, it could be going to the shops. Write down what happened and then in the last column plan what you will do next time. You maybe want to take someone with you for support or go at a less busy time. Try and be as specific and detailed as you can. 

By doing this, you deal with your anxiety head on and learn from your experiences. Hopefully, this means you become more in control of your anxiety and move further along the path to recovery. 

If you suffer from anxiety, I hope you find these methods and techniques useful. Some of these ideas were taken from The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge. If you want more tips and advice on overcoming anxiety, you can buy Chloe's book here. 

What techniques do you use to manage your anxiety? I would love to know in the comments below.  

Thanks for reading, as always X

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