Friday, February 8, 2019

Anxiety is a mental illness that affects over 40 million people in the US alone and it can completely change the way a person sees life and even worse, how they live their life. The problem with anxiety is that because it’s a mental illness, it’s hard to portray to friends, family, and medical professionals how you’re feeling. It’s important to seek medical help if you’re suffering with anxiety as your first port of call. However, there are a plethora of different things you could be doing at home that could help you fight anxiety and restore some normality into your life.
First of all, how do you know that you’ve got anxiety? Here are some common symptoms that people experience:
  • The feeling of panic, uneasiness, and even fear. Sometimes these feelings can come on without any sort of logical explanation.
  • Problems sleeping which include falling asleep, staying asleep, or even oversleeping.
  • Heart palpitations that take your breath away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick, gagging, or even vomiting without a reason such as the stomach flu.
  • Changes in behaviour and speech such as talking too fast, talking slower than normal, or even a stutter developing.
  • Feeling the need to get out of situations that you’d usually be fine with. Often this involves being around a large group of people.
  • Dizziness without any other explanation.
  • Feeling tense and being unable to relax properly.
There are, of course, other symptoms that could lead back to anxiety but these are the most common symptoms to show in someone that’s experiencing feelings of anxiety.

So what can I do to combat anxiety?

As mentioned earlier, your first port of call should always be seeking medical help. Your GP will be able to offer you many courses of treatment such as medication and therapy. However, sometimes you may not feel like this is the right course of treatment for you, or perhaps even the waiting list for cognitive behavioral therapy is rather long and you want to try and help yourself in the meantime. Whatever your reasons are, there are things you could be doing at home too.

Promote a healthier sleeping pattern
Getting enough sleep is essential to promoting a healthy lifestyle, and it plays a huge role in how much anxiety you’re experiencing. A well rested mind will be able to deal with situations that could cause anxiety much easier than one that’s not. However, we understand that getting a good night of sleep is easier said than done, so check out these tips on how to promote a healthier sleeping pattern:
  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Write down your worries before bed - it really does help!
  • Avoid alcohol right before bed as it can prevent you from falling asleep. It’s important to also not use alcohol to make yourself fall asleep because it’s not a restful sleep.
  • Consider using himalayan salt lamps in your bedroom. Not only are they proven to help calm anxiety, but they provide a soothing light that may help you fall asleep.
  • Change your mattress! 
  • Use a weighted blanket to help provide a feeling of security. Parenting pod believe that in both adults and children, using a weighted blanket can help promote better sleep. They comment that if people are suffering with anxiety they should try “the best weighted blankets according to our psychologist”. It’s definitely worth a shot if it helps you get a better night of sleep.
  • Try sleep hypnosis to help fall into a more natural sleep. It works by helping you relax every muscle in your body including your mind!
Getting a more fulfilled night of sleep can and will affect the way you experience your anxiety.

Change your eating habits

When you’re feeling anxious, you may feel inclined to reach for the treats and junk food - and that’s understandable! It’s a normal human behaviour to find something that makes them feel good when they are feeling out of sorts. However, the food you’re eating will dramatically affect your anxiety and it might be worth trying to change your eating habits to improve your symptoms. Did you know that junk food can cause a chemical imbalance in your brain which, in turn, will bring on the feelings of anxiety, depression, and can also accelerate the feelings of stress too?

Try eliminating as much junk food and processed sugars out of your diet as possible. Not only will you notice that your anxiety is improving, but so will your general health, self confidence, and quality of life (which by the way, could be a cause of your anxiety!).
Shout it out

It’s not unusual to experience feelings of frustration in everyday life, never mind when you’re feeling anxious. One of the greatest ways of reducing your anxiety is by letting these feelings out! Why not try:
  • Finding a secluded space and literally screaming your frustration out. It might seem a little over the top but trust us, it works!
  • Cry it out. There’s nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then, so if you’re feeling a lot of pent up frustration - have a good cry! Remember though, that if you’re crying on a regular basis and you’re not in control of your emotions that you may be experiencing something other than anxiety, and you should speak to a medical professional about these emotions.
  • Talk to someone you love and trust. We know it’s hard to talk about your anxiety but you’ll be surprised at how understanding your loved ones can be. This could be a family member, friend, or even a work colleague!
Letting emotions out before they take over can help prevent long term mental damage and also breakdowns. Let out your anxiety!

Ground yourself

Something you may have heard of is grounding yourself. As you well know, when you feel anxious it’s almost like an out of body experience. You don’t feel like yourself, your head feels funny, you feel sick and you generally want it all to stop. Grounding yourself is super simple and can be done anywhere. Here’s how it works:

Find something that you can-
  • See
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Taste
  • Feel
Using your five senses will help bring you down from anxiety and can help you regain clarity. This is a great trick to remember if you’re in a particularly stressful situation such as giving a speech or doing a performance. The next time you’re feeling anxious try grounding yourself. It might not make it go away, but it will certainly help put you at ease and bring you back to normality a little.

Distract yourself

This might seem a little obvious, but distracting yourself from the way you’re feeling will help you come down from your anxiety high. Many people don’t like using the distraction method as it doesn’t solve the problem, it simply masks it. However, if you’re no longer feeling anxious isn’t it worth it?

Different distractions work for different people, so it may take some time to find a distraction that works for you and your anxiety. Sometimes simply picking up a book or turning the TV on can help and for others, they need to get moving and go for a walk. Experiment and you’ll soon find the perfect distraction for you.

Eliminate anxiety causes

Sometimes you may not have a clue what’s causing your anxiety, and in other cases you’ll be able to detect what triggered your panic attack. It’s important to eliminate these triggers as much as possible so that you can concentrate on maintaining a healthy mental health attitude. This may mean changing your career, cutting out poisonous people, or simply finding a new hobby, but it will help your anxiety improve.

Ride it out

One of the greatest pieces of advice we can give to any person suffering with anxiety is to ride it out. We understand that this isn’t what you want to hear, but look at it this way:
  1. Your anxiety will go away at some point.
  2. Your anxiety can only get so bad before it begins reducing again.
  3. Riding it out will reduce the length of time you’re anxious in the future.
Remember that what goes up must come down, and this premise is the same for anxiety too. Find a safe space in which you can ride out your anxiety. Practice healthy methods to deal with it such as grounding, deep breathing, and sipping cold water and you’ll soon notice that each anxiety attack is shorter and doesn’t feel as bad as the last time.

Anxiety doesn’t have to take over your life, and if you put these methods of coping into practice, not only will your anxiety attacks not feel as bad as before, but you’ll be taking the right steps into fighting this horrible illness once and for all. You can do this!


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