The word anxiety seems to be such a fashionable word in current society, yet how many truly understand the definition? We need to move away from fads and look at how we as individuals can create coping techniques to combat anxiety and its symptoms.
“More than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.” – Beyond Blue
“Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.”
Anxiety and its symptoms are unique to everyone, we all experience different feelings, yet we can all work on developing ways to support our mental health.
There are many ways to tackle anxiety and help maintain your mental health, however we wanted to bring you three simple ways that you can use every day to help keep it under control.
Key Tactics To Help Deal With Anxiety
Reassure yourself – You are safe
Deep breathing can be the most commonly suggested way to manage anxiety. It helps calm the nervous system and doing it for a few minutes sends the brain the message that you’re not actually in any danger, and in return it will kick your body into relaxation mode.
If any part of your brain is sending signals that you’re under threat (and in reality, you’re not), tackle the fear by gently talking yourself out of it. Convince that part of your brain sending you into fight-or-flight mode that you are just fine and that you are in no immediate danger.
Be Accepting – You can’t control everything
Sometimes we want to control people, things, or certain situations that are usually well beyond your control. Understanding that you can’t and shouldn’t control everything and releasing your worry will help you manage your emotions. Focus on the things that are in your control, slow down, and take one thing at a time.
When we feel out of control, our minds can spiral into negativity – take a step back and take each problem one by one. It’s much easier to face a larger problem piece by piece, then trying to throw it all into one basket.
Mindfulness – Not just a buzzword
A growing body of research in neuroscience suggests that mindfulness is one of the best-kept secrets for helping people deal with anxiety. You can practice it by intentionally focusing on your emotions and accepting in a nonjudgmental way whatever thoughts and sensations you’re experiencing in the moment.
A report published in 2014 analysing data from 47 clinical trials involving 3,000 participants suggests that mindfulness, a meditation technique aimed at focusing the mind on the present moment, produces measurable improvements of up to 20% in symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to people who practise another activity, and can also help alleviate feelings of stress and enhance quality of life.
How would we define mindfulness?
- Developing awareness of thoughts feeling and physical sensations.
- Being able to describe thoughts feeling and physical sensations.
- Working on a set task and being conscious of thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.
- Being aware of thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations and not judging them or yourself.
- Being able to no react immediately to your thoughts feeling and physical sensations.
The idea of ‘mindfulness’ was originally taken directly from meditation. However, a faster and more efficient way of developing mindfulness might be to figure out what skills we have and what skills need to be developed, then work out some practical ways to develop them.
Remember this, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime. So, if you feel like you are working through anxiety, you are not alone and together we can work on simple techniques to help you manage and thrive.