You'll probably be quite familiar with that stomach wrenching, impending doom feeling if you, like me, have anxiety. I imagine everyone gets anxious from time to time, but anxiety is like a constant - on the verge of panic - feeling which looms over you, just waiting to ruin your day. Recently I've been looking into some different methods to help combat mine, so thought I'd share them in the hope that they even help one anxious babe.
Just before I get into the things I'd recommend to try, I thought it was worth mentioning that one thing that has really helped me this month is medication. I know this is not an option for everyone, but as the meds I'm on seem to ease the adrenaline, I don't get that horrible nervous butterflies sensation I'd normally get panicking about something that hadn't even happened yet. Definitely worth chatting to your doctor if you think they'd help you out.
1. Breathe. This might sound pretty straight forward as you're hopefully already breathing anyway, but i know when my anxiety is building my breathing quickens and I start panicking about anything and everything. What I've recently started to do is just take a moment to take a few deep breaths and have them as my main focus in that moment. It helps our bodies switch from the 'fight or flight' response, to the relaxed, balanced section of our nervous system.
2. Look at Apps. There's an app for literally everything, so it should be pretty easy to find a stress-relieving app you get on with. I can recommend two which I've been using this month - the Calm.com app, and Relax Lite. The Relax app is so easy to use, no sign up needed and you can get into breathing and meditation exercises within a few clicks. The Calm app is separated into a load of different mental health issues, for example - anxiety, PTSD, depression. You select the issue you want to work on and can monitor your sleep, and work on meditation exercises directly through the app.
3. Speak to someone. It can be really difficult admitting when you need help. I had that exact feeling recently when my anxiety got so bad it was affecting me daily mentally and physically. I spoke to my doctor who referred me to a talking therapy service, and after only my initial telephone appointment with someone, I feel like I know a lot more about my triggers and what is making me anxious. Definitely google services in your area or talk to your doctor about it. Also worth talking to someone you trust, maybe your partner, a friend, or someone you know that suffers from anxiety. Talking through your worries - big or small - can really help.
4. Find something that relaxes you. Whether that's reading a book for 10 minutes to get your brain on a more balanced level, or meditation/yoga, find that thing that helps you get back into the realm of rational thinking. For me it's been two things - audio books, and watching PearlBabes. I love reading, but when I'm anxious I overthink a lot, so trying to read when you're overthinking every sentence isn't that relaxing. I'd say I now listen to about an hour a day whether thats in the bath, editing some images, or just when I can feel anxiousness start to creep in. I never expected pearl parties to help with my mental health, but they definitely have, specifically my lovely pals over at PearlBabes. They're the most positive lovely girls, and its just a nice couple of hours where I have something specific to concentrate on. You can find them here on Facebook.
5. Focus on a specific activity. Quite like number 4, this is all about focusing on something meaningful that you can see through to the end. My anxiety likes to tell me that I shouldn't leave the house to go to do something nice (like go to an event, go for dinner etc). When these thoughts happen I try to steady my mind through breathing, and force myself to go and do that activity. I know once I'm outside that I'll be fine, which is a much better alternative that sitting and worrying about 'what might be'. You're then teaching your mind that going to do that activity wasn't actually a bad thing. You saw it through to the end and probably had a nice time, even though you were anxious you were still able to live your life.