Tips on tackling anxiety

Having suffered from bouts of Generalized Anxiety myself, anxiety can be life crippling.
The constant fear and tightness of chest and cold sweaty hands can really affect your everyday life.
Personally, whenever I get overly anxious it is usually as a result of something major in my life that is stressing me out. Sometimes I feel the way my brain copes with a major life stressor is by focusing and stressing obsessively about something else. A subconscious attempt to distract the mind from something else.
Below are the following things I do whenever I suffer from a period of anxiety.
I attempt to engage my five senses to calm me down and help curb my anxiety.
You can also do the same by doing something that you love or helps wind you down. Over time your mind will associate these habits with winding down and your attempts to self-regulate your anxiety will become more efficient.
I aim to target the five sense when I try to ride out a bout of anxiety.

Sight

Engage your vision with something that makes you feel more relaxed when you see it.
For example, my living room is my haven with soft cool pastel colours. It is quiet and when I sit there the colours help me unwind.
Many visual aids can calm you down.
Hanging a picture of a serene landscape in a quiet corner and looking at it and remembering happy memories while slowly breathing may work.
Creating an ambience by lighting candles in your favourite room.
Watching a funny movie.
Drawing/painting/sketching/colouring or doodling.

Sound

Listen to calming noises, there are many audios of forest sounds or sounds of waves crashing that may help you relax.
There are also many audios that help with guided meditation.
Listening to your favourite songs while doing something like cleaning the house if it relaxes you or going for a walk.
Listening to an audiobook…this is great for when you are out doing something in the house or at your children’s training/practice or driving.
Calling a friend or family member and talking about something funny and light hearted.

Sensory

Wearing a soft comfortable outfit or pajama.
Getting underneath a fluffy blanket in winter or sit in a cool airy place when it is hot.
Having a long hot bath or shower.
Doing a facemask.
Getting a massage
Working out to a dance or Zumba workout in the gym or on Youtube.

Smell

Wearing your favourite perfume.
Spritzing a relaxing smell around your house like ‘clean linen’ or lavender.
Lighting scented candles.
Using aromatherapy oils in an oil burner…Lavender and lemongrass really help relax.
Baking your favourite treats or cooking your favourite food.

Taste

I don’t encourage this one when you are stressed in case it leads to stress eating every time you get anxious.
But sometimes it is good to have a hearty nutritional meal that is quick and easy to make when you are feeling anxious.
See this link for my hearty vegetable soup which is a meal in itself.
Sometimes when we are stressed and depressed, we can rely on convenience meals. These are usually nutritionally bereft and studies have shown that proper nutrition is linked to better mental health.
My personal favourite way to unwind is long hot shower. I usually light my scented candles before so when I get out the room smells amazing.
This can be followed by a facemask while I sit on the recliner and watch a YouTube video or listen to an audiobook or talk to my kids.
Talking to my children helps calm me down (if they are not misbehaving) their innocent unfiltered outlook on life is refreshing.
The most effective thing I found that helps banish my anxiety is writing down everything you are grateful for.
From being able to go to the toilet unaided to the roof over your head. Thinking about the basic things you have when so many have so little can help keep you grounded in reality. Being thankful for what you have will soon replace the fear and anxiety over losing people and things around you.
Most importantly if your anxiety is affecting your quality of life and is making it very hard to carry on with your day to day work and activities. I highly recommend you seek professional help. Anxiety is closely linked to OCD as in they are both disorders which render the victim unable to stop thinking or doing a certain thought or behavior.
These are just suggested tools to help you feel better but in some cases medical intervention can be necessary.

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