Sweating palms, stomach aches, shaking, feeling heat rush to your cheeks, running out of breath, tossing and turning in bed and feeling sick are just a few of the physical feelings anxiety can cause. Anxiety isn’t uncommon — all of us experience some form of anxiety at some point in our lives — but how do you deal with it.
What even is anxiety?
Anxiety is just like worry or fear, only heightened. It can be about things that are going to happen in the future, things that have happened, or things that might not even happen at all. If you care for someone, or someone relies on you for your help, anxiety might be something you feel a lot of the time. Of course, feeling anxious is a natural human emotion, but when anxiety begins to take up most of your time, thoughts and has physical effects on your health and well-being, that’s when it’s time to get help.
“Anxiety is like your body working overtime, working against you”- Alice, 23.
So what can you do about it?
The first step to managing anxiety is understanding that you are not alone. No one is going to judge you for the way you are feeling, and in fact, many people you might not realise are struggling with the same feelings as you.
Going to your GP and talking it through is an important way of getting the help you need, or talking to a friend or someone at University or work, but in the meantime, here are some simple tips to help you quieten your anxiety whenever you need them.
Breathing seems simple enough, right? But it’s actually incredibly helpful to refocus your mind and be calm. Close your eyes whenever you feel anxious and try imagining breathing in colours — breathe in a colour you like, a colour that makes you feel positive, and breathe out a colour you don’t like. In with the good out with the bad. Visualisation is a great tip for taking your mind off whatever is worrying you.
Make a List
Sometimes, your brain just needs to reorganise itself to feel better again. Write down everything you’re anxious about, no matter how big or how small, and then tell yourself you’ll get to it later. Setting aside time to be anxious usually means that by the time you come to look at the list…the worry is gone. Or another therapeutic tip is to write it all down, and then rip all your anxiety up and throw it in the bin.
Repeat a Mantra
I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. It can be as simple as that. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself that what you’re anxious about isn’t real, or may not even happen. Find words that work for you, that make you feel comforted, and repeat them whenever you feel anxious. It could be something from a book, your favourite film, or something that makes you laugh.
Try the CALM mantra – Choose something for each letter personal to you that makes you feel calm. Like – Cats, (Your friend) Anne, Light and Mindfulness.
Remember you are not alone.
Caring can be tough and cause a lot of worry – especially when the person you care for might be sick or in hospital. But it’s not selfish to need some time out, and it’s not weak to need help or to talk it through with someone you love or trust.
A is for Anxiety
B is for Breathing
C is for Calm