Six Tips for Keeping Anxiety In Check For a Brighter New Year
If you suffer from anxiety, every day can be a struggle. Whilst you may outwardly appear to be calm and in control, the frightening storm raging within you can feel crippling at times and can prevent you from living your life to the full.
Anxiety disorders are very common. The last national Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in 2014 showed that around one in six adults (17 per cent) surveyed in England met the criteria for a common mental disorder.
A positive aspect of the survey noted that more than one in three adults aged 16-74 with conditions such as anxiety or depression in England were accessing mental health treatment – an increase from around one in four (24%) since the last survey was previously carried out in 2007.
If you suffer from anxiety or mild depression, you may be tired of hearing well-meaning friends and family tell you “not to worry” or to just “calm down”. If only it was that easy. Anxiety is all-encompassing; it can affect every aspect of your life – and it seems to be particularly difficult to manage at this time of year.
Of course, there isn’t a miracle cure, but our six tips to help reduce anxiety could help you get your New Year off to a brighter – and braver – start.
1. Focus on the moment
It is very hard when your world is filled with constant fear and worry, but finding a way to enjoy the moment can relieve anxiety in the short term.
One of the most important things that psychologists and counsellors teach those with anxiety is to say, “Okay, you’re anxious. So what?” Learning to embrace the idea that you have anxiety and trying to live a great and exciting life anyway is important. If you can learn to develop the mindset to let yourself experience the fear and try to live your life regardless, you will hopefully find that your anxiety will start to dissipate. It’s not a cure, but it can be a useful strategy to help you cope.
2. Learn to breathe through it
About 60% of anxiety attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation. When we hyperventilate, we can feel as if we haven’t enough oxygen in our body, when actually the opposite is true. With hyper-ventilation the body has too much oxygen, but is actually a shortage of carbon dioxide that exacerbates problems. This chemical imbalance isn’t harmful, but it can be extremely unpleasant. Learning breathing techniques can help restore the correct balance and help you start to gain control over your anxiety.
Concentrating on your breathing helps to calm you. There are a wide range of techniques you can use to calm your breathing during an anxiety attack such as these on the NHS website.
3. Take more exercise and eat better n the New Year
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. You can put this to good use by taking on a bit of physical activity to burn off that extra nervous energy. Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms as well as releasing stress. Moving on from point 2, it also forces you to breathe properly, getting plenty of oxygen into your blood stream.
What you eat can also affect how you feel. In January, The Daily Mail published a list of mood-boosting foods – and the great news is, that chocolate is high on the list!
4. Find ways to distract yourself
Reducing anxiety is often about distracting yourself from the feeling of panic. A very effective technique is to talk to someone who you like and trust when you feel an attack coming on. If you’re on your own, you could perhaps call a trusted friend who will be happy to talk to you whilst your symptoms subside.
5. Learn to relax when you can
We all have our own ways of letting off steam and chilling out. Downtime is important, and if you are constantly fighting a stream of anxiety, being able to relax is quality time indeed. When you feel anxious, try and relax as soon as you can. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage – just do whatever helps alleviate your anxiety rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed.
6. Try a licensed Herbal Remedy
St John’s Wort is a popular non-prescription herbal remedy traditionally used to alleviate the symptoms of low mood or anxiety – you can read more about its uses on the website of the mental health charity MIND which explains that it is a herbal medicine that is used to treat symptoms of mental health problems including seasonal affective disorder, SAD, mild anxiety and sleep problems
HRI Good Mood is a traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety based on traditional use. It provides the highest dosage of St John’s Wort available in a licensed product in the UK.
Do remember, if your symptoms do not improve, or if you feel that your anxiety or low mood are getting worse, you should consult your doctor.
Anxiety is a disorder that can affect any of us, at any stage of out lives. Finding ways to deal with it, and move forward is the key to making 2017 our most successful and happy year yet.