Several Steps You Can Take To Beat Anxiety
Although anxiety is the body’s normal response to danger and to be expected as part of normal life, an increasing number of people, across generations, are admitting to feeling overwhelmingly stressed and anxious. It is now estimated that around 40% of the population in the UK have taken medication to try and control the debilitating symptoms of anxiety. For many people suffering with severe anxiety, medication is often a crucial step in management, but there are also lifestyle factors that can help support recovery.
What You'll Need
What You'll Do
- Exercise: It is well known that exercise can have a significant impact on anxiety – so much so that in some areas GPs will prescribe a free membership to a local gym. Exercise uses up adrenaline whilst also producing feel-good endorphins. What’s more, it helps ensure that you’re physically tired at the end of the day, which can aide better sleep.
- Mindfulness and meditation: Anxious minds often dwell on what they should have done in the past, and what may happen in the future. Using mindfulness techniques can help us break this pattern and live more in the moment. Meditation and mindfulness apps, such as Headspace, are great as they help train the mind to disregard external stimuli and focus on breathing techniques. The Headspace app offers ten-minute daily sessions for beginners and you’ll quickly notice that just by breathing more deeply it helps calm the nervous system.
- Reduce sugar and caffiene: Quitting caffeine can make a huge difference to certain people as it stops that burst of adrenaline being fired around your body, and any palpitations which may follow. Sugary food and alcohol can also make blood sugar levels spike which can leave your feeling jittery, so it’s worth cutting down on them too.
- Look after your gut health: Scientific evidence now suggests that the gut has a vital role in supporting mental health, specifically anxiety. While probiotics consist of strains of good bacteria, prebiotics are foods that act as nourishment for those bacteria.
- Talk: There is often a strange contradiction between the outward smiles we give to others and the inner sadness or anxiety we are actually experiencing. Fortunately, over recent years mental health’s taboo status has finally started to dissolve, with more of us talking about our minds than ever before.
- Connect online: Sometimes it can be difficult in the first instance to open up to friends, family or medcal professionals. Getting online and hearing from people in the same boat, plus finding out what has helped them, can be helpful. Having said that, it’s important to make sure you log off all electrical devices before heading off to bed. Tiredness makes us more anxious, and you need to make sure you break the vicious circle.
- See a medical professional: Your doctor should always be your first port of call if you’re struggling with anxiety (not least because an overactive thyroid and some heart conditions can cause anxiety-like symptoms and need to be ruled out). But whether you’re on medication and would rather not be, or want to avoid a prescription from the get-go, it’s wise to go to your GP appointment armed with information about the alternatives. Be empowered to ask about options that appeal to you, be it Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT), exercise or yoga. You might be surprised by what they can offer.
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