We are only human...
This post is to raise awareness of anxiety, as well as giving some advice on what to do when you are in the middle of an anxious episode.
There needs to be a greater understanding of anxiety worldwide and in the UK.
Anxiety affects approx. 3 million people in the UK and 40 million in the world (Anxiety and depression association of America, 2010-2018), and statistics unfortunately say these numbers are going up.
Anxiety is an episode of heightened fear receptors, therefore causing fluctuating temperature, heart palpitations, black outs, nausea, disrupted sleeping patterns, inability to stay still and the feeling of restlessness, there are many more symptoms that are unique to the individual.
Your body gets into this anxious state because it is responding to a fear trigger from the past that happened when your body was not ready for it. The fight or flight response is your body saying I will always be prepared for surprising events from now on. So even though you may feel it is a very negative time in your life, it is actually a healthy bodily response, and once you are able to manage your anxiety the whole thing will not seem so daunting and scary.
Here are some accesable tips for when you recognise you are in the midst of anxiety –
1. Say your anxious thoughts to a friend or family member you trust. Your thoughts may be intrusive and might be creating more anxiety, talking about them will help you get another perspective on the matter and will help to ground you.
2. Think to yourself about the issue you have become anxious about – Will this matter in an hour? Will this matter tomorrow? Will this matter this time next year?
This will help put it all into perspective. If you cannot do anything about the situation it is best to allow yourself to let it go, if you can do something, act on it.
3. As stated above, anxiety takes many physical forms, one way to help the physical reactions is to breathe. Breathe from the middle of your belly. Anxiety often causes a tightness of chest; this is because when we are stressed our breathing instinctively goes from our stomach to our chest area.
By taking control of our breath and breathing through the stomach, we can calm down and take control.
4. Have some water, don’t have any liquid with caffeine in. Drink a sip at a time, feel the water in your mouth, on your tongue, and be aware and feel it going down your neck and into your body.
5. Write down your anxious thought, and next to it write something positive that you could think instead. E.g. “I am a failure” instead think and recognise something you succeeded in that day – “I made the bed”, “I got up on time”, “I left the house”.
All of these examples may seem small but actually they are important and they are something to acknowledge and be proud of.
Anxiety can catch up with anybody, it can derive from a childhood trauma, a stressful life event, work stress, family stress etc. There are a variety of long term guidance from professionals that can help if you feel your anxiety is taking over your life.
The help we recommend is –
· CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This helps you understand yourself, and how to redirect your thoughts.
· REBT – Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. This is an action orientated therapy that helps you manage cognitive and behavioural disturbances.
· MCBT – Mindful Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is a modified form of CBT that uses breathing and mindfulness.
· Mindfulness – this helps you be in the present, be aware of your surroundings and grounds you.
· Join Anxiety help groups in your area, you can find the information for these groups at your local GP and the NHS website.
· Psychotherapy – This can come in the form of dance, art, music, drama psychotherapy or can be a talking therapy. In these sessions you delve into your own mind and learn about your reactions, transactions and ideals and therefore understand yourself better.
Everyone reacts to things differently, and not everything is designed for everybody. Explore different things and find what is right for you.
If all else fails, take a nap. Naps help everything ;)