We all experience anxiety at some point in our lives. The level of anxiety can vary enormously depending on what is going on at the time.
When we experience several events or situations over a period of time, and we feel that we have no outlet for these emotions and feelings, then we can feel overwhelmed. This can potentially lead to feelings of anxiety, loss of control, feeling helpless and lost.
As I write this blog, I am reminded of times when I have felt this way.
I felt as though I was drowning in my feelings, with no way of stopping them. I felt vultures were hovering above me, ready to swoop and destroy me. I felt there was no way that I could stop them.
So, what helped to distract me?
Counselling helped and encouraged me to find additional ways to support myself outside of the sessions.
As I thought my experiences may benefit others, I am sharing my 5 top tips that worked for me, along with a little bit of the science behind each one!
Tip #1 – 3-3-3
Wherever you are:
- Focus on 3 things you can see…
- Then focus on 3 things you can hear…
- Then move 3 parts of your body such as your fingers, elbows, ankles, etc.
It may seem strange and simplistic, but it is really difficult to hold onto our anxiety when we focus on other things and move our bodies. We really cannot multi-task!
Tip #2 – Breathing
This may sound ridiculous; we have to breathe right?!
Of course, we do, but if we can control our breathing, it helps to calm the hormones flooding our body. To calm our brain, it can help to do this via our body. The link between our body and our brain is the “vagus” nerve, which is the longest nerve in our bodies. So, aim to take 6 breaths over 1 minute and this will help to stimulate the “vagus” nerve which will help to alleviate the anxiety.
Tip #3 – Avoid alcohol
Sorry to be the party pooper but alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other “neurotransmitters” in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. In fact, you may feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours, or even for an entire day after drinking.
Tip #4 – Ditch the caffeine
Drinking too much caffeine can make you more anxious than normal. This is because caffeine can disrupt your sleep and also speed up your heartbeat. If you’re tired, you’re less likely to be able to control your anxious feelings. Avoiding drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and energy drinks, may help reduce your anxiety levels.
Tip #5 – Write it out
Journaling is a tried and tested method for relieving anxiety. It breaks up the cycle of rumination and helps to challenge your thoughts.
How to do it?
- Start by writing about what is happening right her and now for you.
- Keep going until you feel you have exhausted your mind of thoughts.
- Describe the events that are currently causing you difficulties.
- Keep in mind that sometimes it isn’t what is currently happening that causes stress, but the concerns that you may have about what might happen
These were just a few of the practices I tried and found helpful.
I would suggest you try one or two and consciously practice them. You may find these could reduce your anxiety and have a positive impact for you.
Remember, if you continue doing what you always have done, you will always get the same results as before. You will never know how something will help until you have a go!
Feel free to message me for more support or just to share your thoughts and successful tips too.