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Five Ways to Help Ease Your Anxiety


Living with anxiety can feel debilitating, suffocating, and exhausting. It can consume you, freeze you in your thoughts, and leave you feeling like you have no room left to breathe.

Anxiety can affect your ability to manage your everyday life and affect your sleeping patterns. It can affect your mood and leave you feeling on edge and agitated; like your attention span has left the building. You may be feeling really frustrated and like you are stuck in a never-ending loop that you just wish could stop. You may even feel like you have lost control.


Before we begin, I just want to remind you that you are most definitely not alone. In fact, according to Mental Health UK, over eight million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time.


Here are some strategies that I believe are helpful, which you may find can help you, too.



1. IDENTIFY THE CAUSE


If you are able to identify what is behind your anxiety then you are more likely to be able to begin to ease it. Gaining a deeper understanding is not always an easy job and it can take some time to learn to connect, however, it is a starting point. Try to think about what happens before you feel anxious – can you see any patterns or triggers? When is the feeling most likely to occur? It could be finances, work, social events, relationships… there are endless possibilities; what is happening for you in your life? Do certain people put you on edge? What actions lead to stressful situations? Could negative past experiences or memories be affecting you today?



2. JOURNAL


Journalling can benefit you in multiple ways - but let’s focus on anxiety. Journalling can support you with identifying the cause as you can jot down anything that comes to mind. This can be how you feel when you are anxious, what happened before you felt anxious, or, it could be what you believe may have caused it. You can do this in the moment or once your anxiety has passed. It does not have to feel like homework or a burden if you are not much of a writer, it can be simple bullet points of what you notice happens when you experience anxiety. You could even draw your thoughts if you prefer! Or draw where you feel anxiety in your body. Anything will be a step forward to further self-awareness.




3. BOX BREATHING


Box breathing (also known as four-square breathing) is a powerful, simple technique that can relieve you from your anxiety fast. This can be done on the go, anywhere at any time. It is very beneficial for self-regulation and can help to combat panic attacks. Box breathing can help you to clear your mind, relax your body, and improve your concentration. It is a great way to minimise your stress levels and it is easy to remember, here’s how…


STEP ONE: Breathe in for four

STEP TWO: Hold for four

STEP THREE: Breathe out for four


You can repeat this cycle until you feel yourself enter a state of calm.




4. TAKE AWAY SELF-PRESSURE


It is natural to want to find a way to eliminate your anxiety. I mean, who wants to live with anxiety? Not you, otherwise you wouldn’t be here! Yet sometimes, the best way to support yourself is to acknowledge that you are already truly doing your very best. Being proud of your attempts to support yourself can really help to take the pressure off and help you to feel calm. Remember that perfect does not exist and aiming for this will be an impossible task that may leave you feeling worse. Feeling guilt or shame around not being able to ‘fix’ yourself is not going to be useful to you. It is crucial to be gentle with yourself and to be kind. Patience is key.




5. ACCEPTANCE


“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”. This is one of my favourite quotes from Carl Rogers. I love this because I feel it really resonates as it is just so true! Learn to accept yourself as you are in this moment. Learn that you cannot always control everything. This includes your feelings, emotions, and thoughts. As difficult as anxiety can be to manage, it is your body’s way of communicating your discomfort to you. It is signalling this alarm to try and protect you. Aim to put your anxiety into perspective and notice how you feel. Embrace it, question its purpose, and ask if it needs to continue to exist. Is it still beneficial to you or is it creating unnecessary internal chaos?

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