7 tips to reduce anxiety and improve your wellbeing
2021 has been a tough year for all, with lockdowns, job losses and lots of uncertainty around our way of living. At one point or another, you may have had to deal with a level of stress or anxiety. It impacts your mental health and wellbeing and can affect your everyday life.
It does not matter whether you have persistent anxiety or only occasional anxiety. Having a set of techniques up your sleeve to help you combat the symptoms will improve overall wellbeing.
Before sharing the simple tips to calm anxiety, we will look over the common ways anxiety manifests. Sometimes the signs are missed or not recognised, with people having physical, psychological symptoms or both.
Anxiety symptoms to be aware of
- a sense of dread
- feeling constantly "on edge"
- difficulty concentrating
- a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- muscle aches and tension
- trembling or shaking
- dry mouth
- excessive sweating
- shortness of breath
- stomach ache
- feeling sick
- pins and needles
- difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
The list is quite extensive and not inclusive. You may only have one anxiety symptom, or you may have multiple if you are unsure whether you are experiencing anxiety, contact your GP for medical advice.
If you are aware of the condition and are looking to tame anxiety, we have spoken with some leading experts to put together these top 7 tips for helping to combat .anxiety
7 tips to reduce anxiety
1. Have a laugh!
Life can get all too serious. Did you know that laughing has numerous health benefits? When you start to laugh, not only do you take in a huge gulp of oxygen, the joke distracts you from your worries, and instantly lifts your mood. Laughter is known to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as raising levels of those feel-good hormones, endorphins. When you share a laugh with a friend or work colleague, this strengthens bonds and helps make human connections. Make sure you schedule some laughing time into every day. This could be listening to a funny podcast, watching your favourite comedian, or perhaps spending time with pets. There are plenty of funny YouTube videos. Have you heard of laughter -yoga? – a special type of yoga designed to make you laugh!
Whatever you do, find your funny side and have a good laugh every day! It will work wonders for getting rid of those miserable, anxiety feelings.
by Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy
2. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep, nutrition and hydration for your meals.
For your mind to function optimally, it is essential that you try and achieve this balance. Make sure you take adequate rest breaks during the day and try to keep within reasonable working hours.
Priory - consultant psychiatrist Dr Natasha Bijlan
3. Recognising your triggers
My top tip for reducing anxiety is recognising your triggers. Some people’s anxiety is triggered by a lack of control, other people get anxious when they’re overworked, and certain people can even feel anxious because everything seems to be going too well. Your triggers will not be the same as everyone else’s, so it’s important to get to know yourself and find out what makes you more anxious than usual. With this information, you can either avoid these triggers (if they are unhealthy) or learn how to cope with them (if they are healthy or necessary for you to have. For example, one of my clients struggles with severe anxiety that is triggered by feeling lost. As a result, she feels triggered when she is in a new place or when she feels out of place in a social situation. It goes without saying that she can’t avoid being in unusual social situations, so I am working with her to build her confidence and to learn how to handle herself in a room by focusing on one person at a time. However, there are certain situations that I would advise her to avoid as the risk of her being traumatised wouldn’t be worth it.
For example, if she suggested moving abroad on her own, I would ask her to seriously consider it. As you can see, there is a time for facing up to your triggers and a time for sitting back when they aren’t going to serve you.
Ray Sadoun - www.okrehab.org/team
4. Purchase a house plant
You might think of rosemary as an outdoor herb that exists purely to add flavour to your food. But when you keep rosemary indoors, it can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood. In fact,research confirms that the aroma of rosemary can improve cognitive function, which may help reduce anxiety symptoms.
From Delamere Health in the North West.
5. Limit social media
Social media causes you to focus on others more than yourself. Constantly being reminded of others’ accomplishments, luxuries and generally perfect life can have an impact on your stress levels, causing sleepless nights. Social media presents a distorted version of reality and what you actually see is probably far from the truth. Try and focus on yourself and your real relationships, making time for people that matter to you. Spending time with real friends make you feel happier, less stressed and allow you to sleep well.
Comments by Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click
6. Stay flexible
Whilst we have many reasons to be optimistic, the future is still uncertain. Accept that change is inevitable and be open-minded. If things don’t go to plan straight away, take a deep breath and try to keep your options open.
By Dr Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist, business psychologist and change specialist.
7. Reading memoirs/autobiographies
One of the things that helped me the most is reading memoirs/autobiographies, of people who have suffered from mental health problems too. This makes me feel a lot less alone and makes me realise that what I’m feeling is normal. They use their talent for words to describe the feelings of anxiety so accurately, which makes it relatable.
One thing to remember when you are suffering from anxiety is that you are not alone! Most of us will suffer from anxiety at some point in our lives. But if you are struggling, it is advised to speak with a mental health professional who can offer you the correct advice and treatment.
Disclaimer: Ucan2 is not a medical expert; the tips above are from third party sources. Always contact a medical professional for expert advice.