When you are experiencing anxiety, it can cause you to feel loneliness, a sense of being trapped, scared and in a state of panic. You may feel physical reactions to the anxiety such as, dizziness, increased heart rate, lightheaded and general feelings of low mood. When in this state, it seems impossible to bring your self back round to your usual way of thinking and feeling.
Anxiety is a natural reaction inside of us, triggered by the subconscious mind to keep us alive. It kicks in when there is a perceived danger, or what it perceives to be danger. The subconscious is built up of patterns and behaviours from our previous experiences and the subconscious uses these.
So how can you make these reactions easier to bear?
Top tip number 1: Knowledge
It is thought that the more we know about anxiety and its function within us, the more we can control it within our bodies. If you do choose to read about it, I suggested using the NHS website or another reputable website. In short, do not just google information!
Top tip number 2: Breathing
If you can learn a relaxing breathing technique it will allow the body to relax. I teach my clients deep belly breathing. As you breathe in through your nose you fill the belly with air and then as you continue the breath you fill the lungs with air. As you release the breath out of your mouth you empty the air form the lungs first and then deflate the stomach.
This not only gives you something else to focus on but activates the parasympathetic nervous system – that’s the part of the body which helps us to relax.
Top tip number 3: Affirmations
Chose two affirmations to repeat in your mind, even at times when you are not anxious. These should be affirmations which promote calmness in the body and give you the confidence to be in control. One of my favourites is: I am calm, I am confident, I am in control.
Top tip number 4: Diet and lifestyle
Believe it or not, the things we eat can have an impact on our anxiety. Eating too much sugar and having too much caffeine in our diets can activate the feelings of anxiety so the restriction of these can have an impact. If you like a drink or are a smoker, this can also influence anxiety. Finally, lack of sleep can cause us to feel more anxious so making sure you get your required hours is a must!
Top tip number 5: Favourite place
This is my favourite way to forget all about the anxiety and one which I use with all my clients. If you sit back and close your eyes, use your breathing technique and at the same time build up an image in your imagination of your favourite tranquil place this can help relaxation and encourage you to think about something other than the anxiety. This could be a place you have been to before or simply one made by your imagination. Examples are a favourite holiday destination, the beach or your garden.