Anxiety can affect anyone at anytime. For the most part it's a natural by-product when facing a challenge situation and usually we're able to process it fairly quickly. However for many anxiety can be a prolonged and debilitating affair which can severely impact the sufferers ability to enjoy life.
Nik and Eva Speakman have compiled a list of useful advice which might help ease the feeling of anxiety if you feel overwhelmed.
Anxiety can be all consuming and affects millions. Whilst anxiety can seem to emerge out of nowhere, it is a symptom, and if the cause can be found and positively altered through therapy or a more positive approach, then the feelings of anxiety can ease.
A cause may stem from recent, current or past events, or a culmination of events sometimes going as far back as childhood.
Anxiety can be triggered through something you think, see, hear, smell, touch, taste or experience, albeit that you may not remember consciously what this trigger is or where it originated.
The cause will often be a trigger incorrectly linked to the ’flight, fight or freeze' protection mechanism, pumping the body with adrenaline in order to give a surge of energy enabling you to run from the imminent danger, freeze and play dead or acquire a brief power surge to fight.
If you suffer with anxiety, please rest assured that you are not alone. Anxiety is a normal and often life saving function, but if it occurs often when you are in a safe environment, then here are a some tips to help.
Your mind is trying to protect you from something that is uncomfortable or fearful. If you know that you are under no danger you can reassure yourself by saying, "I am in no danger right now, I am safe and feeling this way is a misunderstanding, because I am safe".
Documenting when, where and also the environment in which anxiety occurs, can highlight a pattern which may offer clues, as will writing a timeline.
Writing a timeline looking back at your life and identifying positive and negative events should enable you to identify possible causes of anxiety, and will certainly arm you with a list to address if seeking therapy.
If you’re out, don’t add to your wave of anxiety. Find a place to sit down and gather your thoughts. Concentrate on your breathing, and imagine that everything around you has gone into slow motion including your breathing. Some people find that counting backwards from 50 slowly with their eyes closed is very beneficial or breathing in slowly for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7 and breathing out for a count of 8.
Distract your mind and occupy your thoughts to distract your anxiety. The easiest way to do this is to identify simple goals for example what to cook for dinner, going for a walk, watching something light on TV, listening to music or reading a book.
With your eyes closed, trace the feeling of anxiety in your body. It is likely to feel like the anxiety is going round in a circle that comes into your stomach or chest and comes out of your throat or head (or vice versa), looping round like a big circle. Trace the feeling, mimic it with your hand, and when you feel that you have the right circle size and speed, reverse it, turning it in the opposite direction and then begin to slow it down until you feel better.
Anxiety can be scary, and dealing with it is no laughing matter, but laughter is at entirely the other end of the ‘fear’, ‘panic’ and ‘anxiety’ scale, so you can't be at both ends of the scale at the same time. When you first begin to feel the onset of anxiety, immediately remember images of a time that you laughed uncontrollably with as much clarity as you can. The positive hormones and endorphins could entirely stop the anxiety, and this will also assist in distracting your mind.
Yoga, mindfulness, talking to a friend and exercise are often very beneficial as is reminding yourself that anxiety is normal.
Overwhelm can also contribute to anxiety, so try writing all the things in your mind down on post it notes. Write one challenge on one post it note, and then just concentrate on addressing one challenge at a time. This will not only help to get the challenges out of your mind, but when you concentrate on just one challenge at a time, it’s often easier to resolve and less overwhelming.
If your attacks are frequent, and causing you concern, it is always advisable to speak with your GP for referral and guidance.