11 simple ways to deal with anxiety
Anxiety – best described by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear – is all too common. Chances are you’ve suffered from it in the past, or maybe you deal with it as an ongoing thing.
I’m no expert, but when I begin to feel that tight, uncomfortable feeling in my chest I turn my attention to my breathing and it usually helps. ‘But surely I can do more?’ I thought to myself the other day when the looming threat of deadlines hung over my head and my palms began to get a little sweaty…
So I spoke to Dr. Timothy Sharp to learn more, including simple tips and tricks you (and I!) can implement in our daily life.
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What is anxiety?
Dr. Sharp describes anxiety as “feelings of worry, unease and nervousness, as well as physiological arousal such as increased heart rate, sweatiness and tension, and there’s also usually a behavioural component involving either ‘fight or flight’ type responses.”
Is it ‘normal’?
Short answer, yes.
“Anxiety is a normal human emotion,” Dr. Sharp explains, “[it’s] something we all experience.” However, when it’s felt for prolonged periods of time, is pervasive and impacts significantly on daily life, then it may be characterised as a disorder. Even then, “approximately one in four people will experience significant levels of dysfunction associated with anxiety at some point in their lives.”
So, how do we cope?
“What works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next person”, notes Dr. Sharp. However, there are some common, effective strategies that will help most people when implemented in their daily life.
#1 “Practising mindfulness or meditation or relaxation – some version of regular, slow breathing and focusing [the] mind on something simple and calming”, Dr. Sharp points out. If you’re new to meditation, check out these fool proof techniques.
#2 Exercise! We recommend yoga, as it combines both physical movement and relaxation techniques in one neat package.
#3 Make a to-do list to break things down into small, achievable tasks. This will help control worry and stress.
#4 Tidy up: making sure your bedroom/living space/desk is tidy is essential. A cluttered physical space can lead to a cluttered mental space, plus it’s a soothing distraction.
#5 Change your focus: Dr. Sharp explains, “[Focus] on what’s going right rather than what’s going wrong.”
#6 Keep things in perspective: Dr. Sharp recommends asking yourself questions like, ‘is it really that bad?’ or ‘will this really mater in a day, month or year?’
#7 Acknowledge your feelings: you’re human, and it’s part of life to experience negative emotions. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Acknowledge and sit in your feelings for a little bit, but don’t let them control your life.
#8 “Practice acceptance and learn to tolerate uncertainty. This can be hard for some but like anything else in life, with practice we can get better.” Dr. Sharp explains.
#9 Distract yourself with a good book, Netflix or some music you love.
#10 Communication is key: talk to a friend or loved one, as “a problem shared is a problem halved!” Too right, Dr. Sharp.
Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you have any other tips and tricks that helps you cope?