Can You Tame the Anxiety Monster?
I was away over the weekend, having a very lovely time, with friends, sun, music and conversations about anxiety!
Anxiety appears to affect most people on some level or another. I used to think I was immune until menopause kicked in and anxiety levels rose which made me reflect – was I really always immune or had I labelled anxiety as something else?
How we label anxiety, has always been an important aspect in the management of it. For, there is a huge spectrum of how anxiety presents itself. Is it nervousness, is it apprehension, is it justified worry, is it fear, is it overwhelm, is it thinking you’re going to fail, are you concerned about the judgement of others etc? This can start to help diffuse the overpowering statement “I am so anxious” by stating “oh I am feeling apprehensive right now”.
We can delve deeper into how anxiety presents itself by being curious as to the root cause of it. What initiated the feeling of anxiety? A deadline, the argument you had earlier with your partner, meeting new people, social situations?
The more we can tune into the question of what is really happening right now, the more we can gage what could be causing the anxiety. Once we can see the cause it can give us more control and strategies to deal with the triggers of our anxiety. A journal could be your best friend as you start to let your thoughts pour out onto a piece of paper, and in the externalisation of your worries, fears and anxieties you may be able to gain a fresh perspective.
There is also the other side of finding solutions to manage anxiety which is to embrace the chaos it creates! Anxiety has a way of making us feel like everything is spiralling out of control. But what if we flipped the script? Instead of resisting the chaos, embrace it. Take a moment to recognise that uncertainty is a natural part of life. By embracing the ebb and flow, you’ll find yourself better equipped to navigate through the stormy seas of anxiety.
There are also more practical ways to deal with anxiety as it arises:
- Breathe: everyone who knows me, knows I always talk breathing and with anxiety it’s no different. Your breath is truly your best friend. Turn your focus to your breath, inhale for 4, hold for a moment (imagine you are gathering up all the anxiety) and then exhale through the mouth slowly for a count of 6. Don’t get too caught up on the count of your breath, just feel you are blowing out for longer than you are breathing in. For more breath related relaxation techniques, click here…
- Distraction: what could you do instead of focussing on the anxiety? Knit, colour, bake a cake, garden, read a book… doing something else can dissipate those anxious feelings and make you feel good instead.
- Being mindful: there is a very lovely technique 5,4,3,2,1 where you engage your senses and find 5 things to look at, 4 things to touch, 3 things to hear, 2 things to smell and 1 thing to taste. Or click here for more mindfulness ideas.
- Have a shake: when we get anxious we can often get tense, contract and feel pain in the body so shaking is a great way to release all of that. Put on some music and shake away!
- Laughter: they say laughter is the best medicine, and I couldn’t agree more! Surround yourself with things that make you laugh – funny movies, hilarious memes, or even a good old-fashioned comedy show. Laughter not only distracts from anxiety but also releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, giving anxiety a run for its money.
Managing anxiety doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With a dash of humour, a sprinkle of self-awareness, and a pinch of resilience, you can tame that anxiety monster and regain control over your life. Remember, anxiety may try to bring you down, but you are stronger than you think. So, embrace the chaos, ride the wave, and kick anxiety to the curb. You’ve got this!
Or I can also recommend other health and wellbeing coaches, who would suit you.
If your anxiety is very severe then please seek support from a mental health professional.