It is normal to experience some Anxiety in everyday life. It could be due to starting a new job, having financial worries, or taking an exam, and so anxiety is a natural response to pressure or stress. It can sometimes be helpful to keep us alert to our surroundings, or to spur us on to complete a task if we have a deadline. However, it can become a mental health problem when it starts to overtake your life by making simple tasks difficult, or by becoming an out of proportion reaction to your situation. It can also produce physical reactions such as an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, or chest pain.
It is important to remember that there is always help out there and to speak to your GP if you are feeling that your anxiety is getting on top of you, and to check over any physical symptoms you may be having.
You are never alone.
In fact, The Mental Health Foundation has picked this theme this year “to kickstart a nationwide conversation, encouraging people to share their own experiences and any helpful ideas on how they manage anxiety”.
And that is exactly what I would like to do in this blog today! As someone who has struggled with their own anxiety, I would like to share three tips that have helped me to handle my anxiety better. But always remember it is a process and it is normal to have good and bad days.
In the past, my anxiety used to present itself most often at nighttime. When laying down ready to drift into a gentle sleep, my brain would decide that would be the perfect time to ponder on all the upcoming tasks I needed to complete, or just throw in an embarrassing memory from my childhood to stress over!
If you’re like me and your head is full of worries at nighttime, try having a pen and paper beside you so you can offload any thoughts, or make any to-do lists ready for the next day. Hopefully this will free up some headspace and help you to feel calmer.
Also, I find reading before bed, or taking a relaxing bath can also help me to unwind and activate sleepy mode.
Have a think about what nighttime routine might be suitable for your lifestyle and what you are able to maintain.
Getting out in Nature
There have been multiple studies which suggest that spending time in nature has a positive impact on your mental health. Examples could be taking a walk in a forest, exercising outside, or gardening- even if just tending to a small tub of flowers on your windowsill.
Nature can bring a sense of peace to your mental wellbeing, which can be great to calm the racing thoughts in your mind by focusing on your surroundings. Taking a walk in particular has the added bonus of increasing your movement, which also positively affects your mental health.
Talking to your loved ones
When all my thoughts are racing around in my head, it can be hard to distinguish what it is that I am worried about the most. Talking to people I trust and expressing how I feel can be a helpful way to pick apart my thoughts and lift some weight off my shoulders. I find that speaking my negative thoughts out loud can take away their power and I realise that I am being quite harsh on myself! Your loved ones can also offer another perspective which you haven’t thought of before.
If you are not sure who best to connect to about your anxiety, then the Samaritans are always here to listen- you can call them on 116 123 for free or check out their website https://www.samaritans.org/.
Struggling with Anxiety can feel lonely and debilitating at times but with the right help and support it can get better. The Mental Health Foundation has some great additional tips and resources on their website about how to manage anxiety so make sure you check them out!