Managing Anxiety… Naturally!
Everybody feels anxious at times. It can feel unpleasant but often it’s a natural consequence of living in a busy, high-pressure world. Of course, anxiety can be positive sometimes, it alerts you to the presence of threats and helps to keep you organised, prepared and safe. It’s when anxiety becomes overwhelming, when we feel on constant ‘red-alert’ and start mixing up real threats with everyday events, that we realise that we need to take back control.
Statistics tell us that 1 in 6 people suffer with common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Many people go to their GP and, as a result, may be referred for counselling and/or offered medication to stabilise their mood. However, there are certain natural changes that you can make yourself to promote good mental-health. These changes can accompany treatment and help to alleviate your symptoms – or you can simply set up good habits to keep you emotionally safe. Small changes can make a huge difference.
Here are 10 simple ideas for you to try:
- Keep Active: for some people, exercise and keeping active can work as well as medication for alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Find a type of activity that you enjoy so that it doesn’t become a chore. The added bonus is that you will be physically healthier, fitter and stronger too.
- Give up or cut down on drinking alcohol: alcohol is a depressant. Although initially it makes you feel calmer, ultimately it doesn’t help your anxiety. If you are using alcohol to self-medicate or calm your anxiety on a regular basis, you may simply end up with an alcohol dependence issue.
- Reduce your caffeine intake: caffeine can make you feel ‘wired’ rather than calm. Try alternatives such as caffeine free coffee, green tea or fruit teas, which won’t impact your anxiety in the same way.
- Give up smoking: a US study in 2013 demonstrated an association between early smoking and anxiety disorders. Added to that, smoking is often used as a coping tool to alleviate anxiety but like drinking, is tackling the symptoms not the cause. As such, it simply doesn’t work because as soon as you stop smoking, the anxiety remains! And of course, it carries it’s own serious health risks and consequences of its own. Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way to give up as many happy non-smokers will testify.
- Make sleep a priority: getting into good sleep patterns are essential to easing anxiety. Your bedroom should be a haven of calm and tranquillity. Banish technology and televisions and avoid caffeine or large meals before you go to bed. Sleep should be an important part of your day.
- Start writing a journal: getting everything out of your head and onto paper is a cathartic exercise. It helps you to wind down before you go to bed, for example, and empties your internal trash can. Some people like to set aside a ‘thinking time’ where they allow themselves some time to go through the worries and anxieties that have been bothering them. If you do this, writing things down signifies that you have thought things through and now it’s time to off load. You can keep your journal or, if you prefer you can rip your writing up to signify that that you’ve now moved on.
- Eat healthily: you can’t think rationally on a meagre diet. Good food is your fuel and a healthy diet feeds your body and mind.
- Find a way to relax that suits you: meditation, self-hypnosis, breathing exercises, yoga – there’s so much choice. The important thing is that you enjoy it and you benefit from it. Try a few different things before you find YOUR thing.
- Have some social-media free time: social media has many advantages and positive points. It can also lead, however, to comparison with others, to low self-esteem and to confidence issues. Allow yourself to switch off sometimes and just be yourself, rather than having to view things through other people’s perspective. Just BE for a while – it’s liberating!
- Lastly, don’t isolate yourself: lots of people love you and enjoy your company and want to support you, even during those times when you don’t always realise it. Let them in.