It is often difficult to talk about the experience of anxiety but unless others know what you are going through it is difficult for them to be supportive.
Try to find support: Support comes in two forms, practical support and emotional support. It may take time, and a few disappointments, to discover what works best.
Practical support: are there ways of reducing stress by asking others or using services to take on tasks that will reduce your levels of anxiety?
Emotional support: find someone to talk with whether it’s a professional (GP, psychologist or counsellor) or a family member, friend, support group or online chat room.
Learn About Anxiety
Understanding what is going on physically and psychologically when you experience anxiety is part of the recovery process. Using books, websites, courses and seminars to learn about anxiety can help to enhance recovery. Learning about anxiety also involves finding out about available treatments and programs in your area. Your local GP or community health centre is a good place to start.
Become the expert about your anxiety: Learn as much as possible about your individual experience. Using a diary can be helpful to discover what triggers or leads to your anxiety and what is useful in trying to reduce it. Self management is a key to recovery.
Incorporate breathing exercises into your daily routine. Practicing breathing techniques at times of low stress, means that you are better prepared to make use of them at times of high stress. Various techniques can be found in books, online or can be taught in stress management or other courses. Post your favourite technique on the fridge so that you can practice regularly.
Try the following Breathing Waltz:
- Breath in for the count of 3
- Hold your breath for the count of 3
- Breath out for the count of 3
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 for a period of one minute
Exercise is good for the body and good for the mind and highly effective in reducing stress levels. It may just be walking around the block or local park. Perhaps you could offer to walk someone else’s dog if you don’t have one yourself. Doing exercise with somebody else or with a group can help to increase your motivation and there are plenty of options available. Your local council will have details.
Do Something You Enjoy
At anxious moments, try to do something that normally gives you pleasure. A cup of tea, a warm bath, listening to or dancing to your favourite piece of music, talking to somebody, anything that might allow you to take the focus away from your anxiety. It can help to have a list of things you enjoy readily available as a reminder at times of stress.