The Best Ways to Manage Anxiety
While feeling anxious is a perfectly reasonable reaction in scenarios like public speaking, job interviews, or when confronted by dangerous situations, it is not beneficial to feel anxiety every day for no reason.
Unfortunately, this kind of general anxiety is all too common in modern Britain.
In the UK, around 6% of the population is thought to suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), according to the mental health charity Mind. Meanwhile, one in 6 people in England is said to experience common mental health problems (including anxiety) in any given week.
There can be many causes, but there are just as many strategies to manage anxiety – some of which we will explore in this article.
The old proverb ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is still true to this day! However, in the UK, we are a nation of bottle-uppers. Research by Age UK found that 57% of the nation do not talk about what’s worrying them.
However, talking about your problems and worries with a trusted person can really help manage anxiety. Even if you aren’t worried about anything in particular, just speaking about your anxiety symptoms to someone else can really help.
Find people you trust, explain that you want to discuss what is bothering you, and then enjoy a good old chinwag.
Even if they are unable to provide answers or solutions (and it’s probably best not to expect these), the act of sharing your problems can be incredibly cathartic.
We love a hot cup of coffee as much as the next person, but when you are suffering from anxiety, it is worth putting that coffee (and other caffeinated drinks) on hold.
You may already know that caffeine can raise your heart rate, but it can cause more than just jitters. A review of eight studies in 2011 showed that caffeine aggravated symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder.
Meanwhile, too much caffeine in your system can disrupt your sleep, which can negatively affect your mood and emotional health.
So, when you are feeling anxious, it is wise to reduce the number of caffeine-containing drinks you consume. This includes tea, coffee, and energy drinks. Switching to decaf or finding an alternative may help.
Enjoy Some TLC
When you feel anxious, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation, which is good for your body, mind, and spirit.
Go for a massage. Join a yoga group. Walk-in nature. Watch your favourite film. Do something fun with friends. Or try a long hot soak in the bath!.
While bathing has been a traditional method of relaxation for centuries, science now backs it up. One 2018 study found that regular bathing appeared to be more beneficial to mental health (including anxiety) than routine showers.
When taking a bath, add in a few handfuls of our popular Relief Salts. These natural Epsom salts are infused with essential oils like frankincense and eucalyptus that can help cultivate a sense of relaxation.
You can learn more about the benefits of Epsom salts by reading our article on the Top 7 Uses for Epsom Salt.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Your physical health is naturally connected to your mental health. Living off fast food, little sleep, and poor movement may keep you feeling anxious. So, focus on the areas of your daily life where you can improve.
Eat more fruit and vegetables, consume less sugar, get a good night’s sleep, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and reduce alcohol use.
Of course, this is all common-sense stuff – you will have heard this advice before! But it’s repeated so often because these fundamentals really do make the difference.
If it feels overwhelming to do a complete overhaul of your life, just start by focusing on one area. Make it your aim to change just one thing this week, then gradually continue to improve as the weeks go by. It really will help.
Be Kind to Yourself
Whether you have an ongoing anxiety disorder, or you are just feeling particularly anxious, mental health problems are not pleasant.
Please be kind to yourself and practise self-compassion during this time. Never berate yourself or tell yourself you just ‘snap out of it’. You are not weak or inferior. You are simply suffering from anxiety – and it will pass.
This article will have given you some ideas to start your anxiety management. However, if you feel you need more help, you can call Mind’s Infoline on 0300 123 3393 for non-urgent information about possible mental health support and services.