Managing Anxiety

In our continuing series on mental health, we look at ways to recognise and manage anxiety.

Phases of stress and low mood are very common for most people, but in the long term, they could have an impact on your overall health.

What are the symptoms of Anxiety?

The following symptoms are non-exhaustive, but these are common ones to look out for.

  • Feelings of overwhelm and not being able to think clearly
  • Having trouble concentrating and/or sleeping
  • Feeling restless, panicky, and in some cases, having panic attacks
  • Overthinking and difficulty making decisions

How to use self-care to manage Anxiety

Take breaks – if you’re studying or at work, take some time during the day to relax, or take a walk outside. Overworking yourself will lead to prolonged stress and burnout, which takes a while to recover from.

Learn some relaxation techniques – learning some techniques such as muscle relaxation (Slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head. Hold the tension for three seconds and then release quickly), or even concentrating on slowing your breathing can have a positive effect on managing anxiety attacks.

Build and maintain some healthy habits – whilst not a “cure-all” technique, establishing regular exercise, eating well and getting plenty of sleep into your daily routine whenever you can contributes to a clearer head and helps you to regulate moments of anxiety.

Talk to someone you trust – don’t suffer alone; talking to a friend or family member can put you at ease. They may want to share their own experiences of anxiety and can offer a different perspective, advice and reassurance.

Further steps to manage Anxiety long-term

Learn about your anxiety – keeping some record of your anxiety, when it happens and what triggers it can be hugely beneficial in managing your mental health over time.

Consider seeking medical advice – whilst it’s easy to have a misconception that anxiety isn’t worth going to your GP about, remember that mental health is just as important as your physical health. You wouldn’t ignore a broken bone, after all. Your doctor can highlight a number of routes to managing persistent anxiety, from medication to going to therapy (note there will be a waiting list for this via the NHS). There isn’t one route to recovery for everyone, and it may take a few attempts to get any combination of treatment right to manage your anxiety effectively.

Some further resources:

Learn more about Anxiety via the mental health charity, Mind

Tools and resources via Young Minds charity

Childline has some info on social anxiety, and some useful relaxation techniques here

Try this sleep relaxation video here

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio