Looking after yourself when anxiety is overwhelming
Anxiety is a chemical reaction inside our bodies that our brain controls to keep us safe. When our brain thinks we are under threat, it will release chemicals known as hormones to make sure we are alert and able to move as fast as we can so that we can keep ourselves safe. This chemical reaction goes on inside our bodies without us knowing about it. It’s controlled by an area of our brain called the ‘subconscious mind’, which is also responsible for making sure we do things like breathing and blinking.
Anxiety in small doses is really useful and is essential for keeping us alive and well. But, when we experience anxiety regularly and for long periods of time, it can become a problem. It can start to negatively affect a lot of things and stop us from enjoying life.
If you’re experiencing anxiety regularly, you may have noticed that it takes up a lot of your energy and really drains your motivation and drive. Everyday tasks can suddenly become too much, and you just can’t find the enthusiasm to do them. You may find that things like laundry, housework, cooking or exercise start to become less and less of a priority for you.
Self-care for anxiety
Sometimes, taking a short break from these types of chores and tasks can be a form of self-care and give you time to relax and recoup. However, it can also create a new pattern of negative habits that may make your anxiety worse, and make it harder for you to work on overcoming it.
Doing things for yourself that release happy hormones - that make you feel good and give you something positive to focus on - will help to ease your anxiety. So, it’s important that you try to make time to do things like cooking a healthy meal, doing some exercise, and looking after yourself.
If you don't prioritise self-care, you give your anxiety room in your mind to grow bigger and bigger.
But, if you make time for yourself (and to make yourself happy), you'll be able to start to suppress those anxious thoughts because those happy feelings and emotions will grow bigger and bigger whilst suppressing those anxious thoughts.
I understand that finding the energy to do things for yourself when you're overwhelmed by anxiety is hard. Maybe you’re struggling to remember what makes you happy. Perhaps the thought of doing something different causes you to feel a little anxious. But start small - anything that brings you a sense of joy is going to help.
It doesn’t have to be a big extravagant event or change. Opening the window and listening to the bird song is enough. Eating one bit of fruit is enough. Washing your hair is enough. They are small steps, but they are steps in the right direction. And once you start doing small things for yourself, and you see the difference it makes to you mentally, you’ll want to do it more.
How can hypnotherapy help?
Once you’ve built up these small things and you feel ready to start working on yourself, hypnotherapy can support you in creating new healthy habits that are going to help you manage your anxiety in a positive way.
Hypnotherapy can help you understand what causes your anxiety, and why it affects you in this way. It can then help you retrain your thought processes and reactions so, instead of things getting too much and becoming overwhelming, you create strong coping mechanisms and look at things with a healthier and happier perspective.