General Anxiety Disorder is a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:
a sense of dread
feeling constantly “on edge”
Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact (seeing your family and friends) to avoid feelings of worry and dread. (NHS Website)
1 in 4 people are diagnosed with a mental health problem in the UK, and one of the big perpetrators are anxiety disorders. Whether this is just due to changes in lifestyle, or more people are recognizing their own symptoms, either way anxiety is becoming more common in adults.
I work in mental health services, as well as suffering General Anxiety Disorder myself. I have always been quite an anxious person but I began showing signs of anxiety disorders about 6 years ago after a bad experience at work. It took me 5 years to seek help. I knew there was something up with my behaviour but I just thought that I was stupid. It actually took me having a panic attack in front of my Mam to go and get help from my GP to start gaining more control again.
Last year I used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help me get better control of my emotions and it really helped. Nowadays, I have a better understanding of my anxiety, and I can use my own experiences to help some of my patients. My life is a lot better and I feel a lot more confident as a person. Yes I do still have those dark moments, but I have found some little tips and ideas to help me get back to being myself again.
I wanted to share some of my favourite tips with you today.
It sounds such a cliche but talking really is the big thing that helps tackle anxiety. The worst thing that you can do is hold your emotions inside. It can get to the point where you’re ready to explode with all these really negative feelings about yourself and your relationship with others that it can have a negative impact on your life.
I have my family and friends to talk to, some who have mental illnesses themselves, and we tend to help each other through the darker moments.
If you don’t feel confident talking to others about anything that’s bothering you, write your feelings down in a diary. It’s better than keeping them locked up in your head.
I love hypnosis apps. They’re a great way to focus yourself on one particular thing without letting your mind wander to other stuff. Mindifi make some amazing apps for sleep and relaxation, but they’re more for when you have a bit more time to spare. Headspace is great for little 10 minute sessions. I tend to stick these on in an evening to help me relax before the rest of the night or if I am having a more stressful moment. It is free to download, although you can subscribe for £11.99 a month for more sessions, which I have recently started doing.
Going to the Gym
If anything, this takes my mind off whatever is bothering me. I especially love it when I have a kickboxing day. It helps tackle any frustration that I may be feeling at that moment. I’d much rather be aggressive with a boxing bag or a trained professional than a person that I love. Sorry Jonathon! Actually Jonathon is brilliant at knowing when I am stressed because he’ll taunt me to hit the bag harder to really work out any aggression. I think he’s forgiven me punching him in the face that time!
Joking aside though, exercise really is a great stress release. Even if you just go for a long walk rather than an exercise class. Anything that’ll take your mind off the anxiety.
Get Yourself out the House
The worst thing that you can do is stay in the house and let the anxiety get you even further down. Recently, I felt really shit and thought that my boyfriend was going to break up with me. There was no evidence to support this but my head kept going with it and made me cry. To prevent me actually wrecking my relationship and sending stupid needy messages to him I went to the beach and walked along the sand for an hour. The fresh air really helps clear your head.
Put the Debit Card Down!
My major setback is spending. When I’m anxious I spend. Sometimes, I actually leave my debit card at home and take the money that I’ll need for that visit in my handbag. I do keep a finance app now to help me budgetise my month, which does help, but I sometimes forget about a particular bill or any other little things which can fuck up the system. I am getting better though, and reducing my spending does help me become less anxious.
There has been loads of research into how different smells can induce different emotions. I find that sweet scents tend to relax me. Mint is a brilliant one for me. I find something so calming about this particular scent. I hate anything too floral. At the moment I have some Garden Mint and Peppermint Yankee Candles burning, as well as my Garden Mint oil. If anything a scent is ideal to keep you focused or can remind you of better times if you are struggling with a particular moment.
What are some of your tips for coping with anxiety?
I hope this does help some of you. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Have a nice day!