We all experience anxiety at times, anxiety is a normal response to our perception of threat. What we perceive as threatening can vary, we would all feel anxious if we anticipate we are about to trip over or perhaps if we are going to a job interview, but we can also feel anxious about things that others may not find anxiety provoking. This maybe anything such as heights, spiders, rats, buttons or cotton wool or attending a meeting or social gathering.
Anxiety is both a physical and an emotional response. Physically we may feel tense, our heart may race, we may shake or have uncomfortable feelings in our stomach. Anxiety presents differently in everyone, but if you want to find out how to manage it day-to-day, keep reading for our top tips.
1. Increase your self awareness
Perceiving danger results in the fight or flight response. Our brain tells our body to prepare to run or to fight, adrenaline is increased and this brings about the very uncomfortable physical symptoms we experience. When for example our heart starts to beat stronger and faster we notice it, we focus on the changes and then feel further anxiety regarding the symptoms themselves. Reminding yourself that this is a normal response to something we perceive as threatening and that these symptoms are not dangerous can help us to manage these symptoms.
2. Use breathing techniques
Below are 3 simple techniques, utilise them for a few minutes at a time:
- Focus on your breathing, recognise the pattern of your breathing and as you breathe out, focus on the word relax, you may just think of the word or say it out loud.
- Put your hand on your abdomen and breathe into and out from your abdomen. Your abdomen should expand as you breathe in.
- Breathe in to the count of 5 and breathe out to the count of 5.
3. Distraction techniques
- Call or message a friend
- Listen to music or a calming podcast
- Watch your favourite TV programme
- Go for a walk and focus on what you can see around you
4. Balancing automatic negative “fortune telling” and “mind reading” thoughts
- Recognise the thought that is triggering your anxiety, for example, “today will be a bad day” or “nobody will like me”.
- Reframe the words to express a more balanced statement, for example, “I think today maybe a bad day” or “I think that nobody will like me”.
- Question whether the thoughts are true. Look for factual evidence that may not support your thought, for example, “I thought yesterday would be a bad day but some of the things that happened were good” or “I thought that my boss would not like me and now we are friends”.
- Utilise this evidence to balance your thought “Today maybe a bad day but it maybe an okay day” or “I think nobody will like me, but often people do like me”.
- When the negative automatic thought pops into your head again repeat the balanced thought, and actively look for further evidence to support the balanced thought.
krysallis offer specialist, bespoke support with managing anxiety and stress. We are currently offering online counselling or our new Walk and Talk sessions. If you give these tips a go and are still struggling with managing your anxiety, get in touch for a free consultation to see how we can help you.