Understandably, living with anxiety can prove challenging. There are, however, things that might help. Learning practical tips and techniques can help reduce the symptoms. Therefore having strategies in place can really help someone to cope better during more difficult times.
This article identifies some of the more common symptoms. You can read all about our practical tips and advice on what to do if you're struggling with anxiety.
How Anxiety Affects You
Anxiety is where you have a feeling of mild or severe unease, such as fear or worry.
At some point in life, everyone experiences feelings of anxiety. For example, when sitting an exam or having medical tests. People's experiences however can be different. Some people may show some symptoms but other people don't. Below are some signs and symptoms for example:
Mental symptoms could include:
- Uncontrollable overthinking
- Concentration difficulties
- racing thoughts
- A heightened state of alertness
- Sleep issues
- Feelings of dread, panic or 'impending doom'
- Changes in your appetite
- Disassociation from your thoughts and body
Physical symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Excessive sweating
- Hot flushes or blushing
- Heavy and fast breathing
- Dry mouth
- Racing heart rate
- Extreme tiredness or feeling lethargic
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
Top Tips to Handle Anxiety
1. Stop and Breathe
People often experience anxiety when worrying about a future or past event. Most importantly, try to bring your awareness back to the present moment. In fact, this is called being mindful or using mindfulness. It is really useful because it helps to clear your mind of worry. For that reason, try this simple mindful breathing exercise that you can do anywhere at any time.
- Start by sitting in a comfortable position.
- Allow your eyes to close.
- For the count of 3, inhale slowly through your nose.
- Deeply and slowly exhale from your mouth for the count of 5.
- Continue following these steps until you feel calmer and in the present moment.
2. Work Out What is Worry You
It is really beneficial to try and understand what is worrying you. In addition to this try and identify the underlying cause. In other words, set time aside just for you to explore your thoughts and feelings. That way, you get a better understanding of what is making you feel anxious or worried.
3. Look at What You Can Control
We all know how life can be unpredictable at times. For that reason, when things seem tough, look at what you can control. Focus on things that you can influence and control instead of worrying about the things you can't. Write down on paper everything that is affecting you negatively. After that then work out a plan of action for each one, which will make you feel better. In fact, this process will help you:
- Hit fear head-on
- Increase your confidence
- Reduce your anxiety
4. Focus on Something Else
There are benefits to focusing your attention on something else whenever you are struggling. Here are a few ideas to get you started for example:
- Go and do some chores.
- Listen to some music.
- Get creative try doing some drawing, painting, or writing.
- Watch a funny film.
- Take a walk or do some exercise.
- Practice Mindfulness or Meditate.
- Read a book.
5. Develop a Positive Mindset
Overcoming obstacles and experiencing challenges are a part of everyday life. Therefore, learning to cope with them effectively is an important part of anyone's mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Start your day on a positive note.
- Make sure you practice positive self-talk.
- Practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal or simply saying what you are grateful for every day.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Understand your triggers for negative thoughts.
Can Meditation Help with Anxiety
Your GP may recommend medication once other treatments have been explored. For example relaxation techniques and therapies. They can prescribe various types of short-term and long-term medication as a way of treatment.
If you are considering taking medication, then your GP will discuss the various options. For example, they cover with you:
- They will cover the different medication types available
- The length you may need to take them
- Any side effects
In addition, you should make sure you have regular appointments with your doctor. That way you can both assess your progress. These will usually be every 2 to 4 weeks for the 1st three months. After this period they could then be moved to every three months, depending on your progress.
Can Hypnotherapy Help with Anxiety
Hypnotherapy is used to treat and alleviate a variety of psychological and physical symptoms. As a result, you experience deeper levels of relaxation. For that reason, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It is also highly effective with the alleviation of panic disorder symptoms.
During Hypnosis, you will be guided towards coping with specific symptoms and overcoming limiting behaviours and beliefs.
Can Yoga Help with Anxiety
Multiple studies confirm that Yoga can be a powerful tool to calm our nervous systems and help reduce stress and worries.
Several factors seem to contribute to Yoga's effectiveness in reducing stress. To illustrate here are a few for you:
- It lowers tension and promotes relaxation.
- It helps us regulate our breathing, which is connected to our nervous system.
- Worry cycles are interrupted.
- Our body awareness increases.
- Doing Yoga demonstrates self-compassion.
- Yoga fosters self-acceptance.
How Does Music Help with Anxiety & Depression?
As we all know listening to music can bring pleasure and is soothing. Equally as important is that music also brings many other psychological benefits that can help. It enables the mind to relax, energizes the body, and even helps manage any physical symptoms.
Music influences your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It has the power to shift your state of mind immediately. For example, have you ever felt "pumped" when you listen to your favourite fast-paced song? In contrast, maybe you have been reduced near to tears when you hear a live performance?
There are wide-ranging and potent psychological effects of music. To illustrate this, here are just a few benefits:
- It can help reduce stress levels
- Improve your mood
- May Reduce Symptoms of Depression
- It May help you sleep better
- Increase motivation
What Songs Help with Anxiety?
Many people agree that music is a very personal thing. What uplifts or relaxes some may not have the same effect on others. For instance, some studies have shown that listening to uplifting lyrics makes a difference in the brain.
We would recommend you create a calming playlist. Most importantly, when you choose which songs to add, make sure they are ones that make you feel relaxed. In addition, ff you feel anxious, take time to listen to this playlist and notice how it makes you feel. Here are a few uplifting ones to get you started for example:
- Happy - Pharrell Williams
- All of the Stars - Ed Sheeran
- Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
- Born This Way - Lady Gaga
- Don't stop believing - Journey
- Firefly - Ed Sheeran
- Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
- Good Vibrations - Beach Boys
- Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake.
Seeking Help For Anxiety
Most importantly, if you feel anxious and nothing seems to be working get the help you need. However, get help immediately if you feel life is not worth living and are considering harming yourself.
- Call your doctor and make an appointment.
- For out of hours, you can call 111 – they are there to help you find the support you need.
- You can contact the Samaritans for support 24-hours a day.
- Make a self-referral to see a counsellor/therapist. We have qualified therapists and counsellors as part of Turn2Us Counselling service waiting to to support you.
Is Anxiety a Mental Illness?
Having occasional experiences of anxiety is alright. In contrast, having a diagnosed anxiety disorder is different. These are a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming worry and fear.
What Causes Anxiety?
It may be triggered by a significant event. It may also be a result of smaller stressful situations as well. For example:
- A death in the family
- Financial worries
- Work-related stress
There are also people with certain personality types that are more prone than others.
How Long Can a Person Suffer from Anxiety?
In most cases, if a person has an anxiety disorder, their symptoms will remain for more than six months.
Does Anxiety Get Worse with Age?
Firstly, it doesn't necessarily get worse with age. In fact, it is most common amongst middle-aged adults. It can also become more common with older age.