Anxiety is our mind and body’s response to stressful and / or unfamiliar situations. Everyone experiences anxiety at times – in fact, it is a natural reaction to certain situations.
Anxiety can cause our heart to race, feel sweaty, shaky or short of breath. It can also cause changes in behaviour, such as becoming overly careful or avoiding things that trigger anxiety.
A certain amount of anxiety helps us to stay alert and aware. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, our worries can be out of proportion to the situation at hand and can interfere with our daily lives.
Here are some tips to help you manage day-to-day feelings of anxiety. If your anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, consider seeking further professional support.
Identify your triggers
Certain things can cause us to feel anxious. These are known as anxiety triggers. Sometimes they can be obvious for example drinking caffeine or alcohol or not getting enough sleep. Other times they are not so obvious and can take time to figure out for example, work or financial related matters. Identifying your triggers can help figure out the best action to take.
Change your environment
To help stop anxious thoughts, sometimes the best thing is to walk away from the situation and change your environment. Go for a walk outside, exercise, make a cup of tea, dance to some music etc. Taking time to focus on your body rather than your mind can help stop anxious thoughts.
Question your thoughts
Slowing down your thoughts and questioning them can help to identify the negative thoughts. Challenge your fears by asking if they are true. Watch this reframing unhelpful thoughts video by the NHS to help tackle anxiety.
Face your fears.
Our expectations of a situation are often worse than the reality. By facing what we have been worried about, a positive outcome often helps us learn to better manage and reduce our anxiety in the future.
Practice deep breathing
Try to slow down your breathing by counting in for 4 and out for 4 for five minutes in total. This will help to reduce tension and bring perspective to the situation. Try an NHS recommended relaxation exercise.
NHS Every Mind Matters has plenty of resources to help cope with anxiety.