Anxiety, how to get it under control!
Anxiety is very much a mental illness, but I have found with many of my clients the life they lead also has a massive effect on how high their anxiety levels go and whether or not they can keep them under control.
What affects our anxiety levels? Mainly overthinking, feeling upset, angry, annoyed, guilty, worrying about the future or the past, it doesn’t matter if it's big or small… when you're feeling any type of negative emotion this will increase your anxiety levels. If this is done over a long period of time it can have a massive effect not just on your anxiety but on your personality too. When anxiety takes over we can self doubt, which affects our confidence and whole character massively.
So what can you do to help keep you anxiety under your control?
Walking outside or being in touch with nature, gardening, any form of activity outside, is linked to lowering your stress hormones and the distraction that come with being outside takes your mind off the specific issue which will lower anxiety levels.
Cut out the caffeine whether it be coffee, fizzy drinks or food. Take note of what you eat and drink. Anyone who suffers with high anxiety should keep these at a minimum, replace with water, cordials or herbal teas, camomile tea is excellent before bed and red bush tea is full of magnesium so will keep your mind and body nice and calm.
You time, make sure that you are finding time for yourself, whether it be a pamper night, a hot bath/shower - relaxation is key for someone who suffers with bad anxiety. Also listening to relaxation music or meditation music will help calm the mind and body which will make relaxation easier. Exercise, it is difficult in our hectic lives to make time to exercise, but it's a must; not only does exercise help with physical health, after 15 minutes of exercise our brains start to produce a chemical response called serotonin. This make us feel good and while this is pumping round our bodies, anxiety is nowhere in sight.
Breathing, slow and steady, very slow breathing can help calm anxiety instantly. A great tip is to breathe in counting to eight and breathe out counting to eight - repeat a number of times until you calm yourself down. Practising going a little longer too until 12.
Practicing gratitude - how would this help you might think? Focus your attention for five minutes on a specific person, event or subject and think/list as many reasons as possible why you are grateful for this person. This will encourage your mind to start producing serotonin which again is our feel good hormone, anxiety will decrease rapidly.
Finally a good night's sleep is helpful. Our body's natural way of reducing anxiety levels is in our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, this happens in 20% of our sleep, so whether we get six hours or eight hours 20% is dedicated to REM sleep. The less sleep we get, the less anxiety gets released. Note: when alcohol starts to wear off (four hours after consumption) this will break your sleep, which disrupts your REM and release of anxiety.
Many people find hypnotherapy a useful tool in overcoming anxiety. This form of therapy alongside the tips above can make a great difference in anxiety levels.
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About Gemma Gibbons
I hold a diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (DSFH) from CPHT Manchester and HPD (Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma) from the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) I offer treatments for a variety of anxiety related disorders, hypno-birthing, fertility issues and smoking cessation.