Strategies to ease anxiety

Anxiety is the clinical term for people who have emotional, psychological and behavioural fears. It is something that we all feel at one time or another, and it affects people of all ages.

An anxiety disorder is more than just short-term worry or stress. People with anxiety disorders experience feelings they cannot easily control.

Physical signs of anxiety include a racing heart, fast breathing and swallowing, becoming sweaty, chest tightness, butterflies in your stomach, shaky legs, diarrhoea and sleeplessness.

Psychological signs of anxiety include difficulty concentrating, feeling panicky or overwhelmed, wanting to hide, feelings of nervousness and distress, and apprehension that something bad may happen.

Fortunately, there are many tools and techniques you can use to manage anxiety effectively.

Here are some tips for coping with feelings of anxiousness when they arise.

Exercise regularly
As with all aspects of mental health, exercise is useful for helping spark positivity and turn your mood around. Exercise promotes blood flow, improves neurotransmitter production and regulation, calms anxiety symptoms and much more. If you exercise daily you will feel a lot more positive about the things that you can achieve.

Take a deep breath and other relaxation techniques
Taking a deep breath activates the body’s relaxation response. It changes the way your body reacts from the fight-or-flight feelings you may feel when anxious, to a much more relaxed mindset. Inhale to a count of four, hold your breath for a similar length of time and then exhale to a count of four and then repeat. Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are other techniques you might like to try.

Get some shut eye
A lack of sleep will only increase your feelings of anxiety. Of course, this can be a vicious cycle, as you may be having trouble sleeping because you are feeling anxious. However, if you are able to work on your sleep problem first, you will go a long way to feeling better about things. Sleep is designed specifically to help control stress – both physical and mental – so if you’re not sleeping, get to bed earlier.

Distraction therapy
Anxiety tends to control your thoughts. Spend less time sitting back and thinking, and more time making it hard on yourself to worry because you’re too busy doing other things. Watching a few comedies on TV, listening to upbeat music, settling down with a good book or just getting out and seeing some friends can all provide a great distraction from your thoughts.

Get creative
Art allows you to express yourself in ways that are therapeutic, while also giving you an activity to do that serves as a great distraction from your mind. Take a cooking lesson, a life drawing class or try tango lessons at the town hall.

Do you have any tips for dealing with anxiety? How do you choose to relax?

 

Related articles:
Worry or anxiety?
Understanding anxiety
Tackling your anxiety

Written by Ben

RELATED LINKS

Worry or anxiety?

How do you know what is worry or anxiety, and when it is a problem?

Understanding anxiety: symptoms, strategies and treatments

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia.

Tackling your anxiety

No matter what your age, you are likely to experience worry and anxiety.



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