We are living in a stressful time that none of us could ever have imagined a few weeks ago. It is only natural to feel anxious as we have no idea what the future holds.
Anxiety is a natural tool which helps us to plan for new and different possibilities, to work harder or in a different way, or try to work out what to do in difficult situations. However, prolonged or overwhelming anxiety can restrict us and prevent us from enjoying life.
Here are a few things that you could try that may help to ease things for you:
Deep breathing – breathe in deeply, filling your lungs, for the count of 4, hold for the count of 2, and then breathe out slowly for the count of 5. Repeat this at least 4 times. It is thought that doing this 12 times twice a day can be very good for your mental health.
Reflection – set some time aside in a private space to think about what your anxiety is about. Write down:
· What it is that is worrying you? Be specific.
· Why it is worrying you – what is the worst that could happen? How will it affect your life? . What is the best that could happen? Write down all the different possibilities.
· Will it be temporary or permanent?
· What is the likelihood of it happening?
· Is there anything I can do to change any of this?
It is important that you can keep your notes somewhere that no one else can see them so that you can be entirely honest with yourself.
Talk to someone you can trust – sharing your anxieties with someone you can trust can help to ease them. Working it through with someone else, naming it and sharing different perspectives can help to make it feel less overwhelming. It can be a challenge, but try to keep this conversation positive.
Think about the positives in your life – When we are feeling anxious and low we tend to focus on the negatives in our lives and forget about the good stuff. Set aside a few minutes every day to think about:
· The people and things in your life that you are grateful for
· Your own positive qualities – you can ask your friends or loved ones for their thoughts if you need to
· What good things have happened today
· What acts of kindness have you done – it doesn’t have to be big, just letting someone know you’re there for them, an electronic smile
· Has anyone paid you a compliment or done something kind for you
This is about taking time to value yourself.
Look out for others - being kind to others improves how we feel and distracts us from our own issues.
Anxiety, like most emotions, is not something that we can switch on and off and some people will always have a level of anxiety. However, taking steps to manage or reduce it can enable us to feel better and allow us to get on with the things that we need to do.