5 Ways To Manage Your Anxiety Effectively
Anxiety and its related disorders are one of the most common mental health issues in the UK. Anxiety attacks can happen at any time, especially during stressful situations such as a crowded space. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can effectively manage anxiety yourself before seeking professional support.
Attending support groups
Simply putting how you’re feeling into words is a powerful anxiety management method. Sufferers often feel alone in their condition, stuck in their own head.
Articulating your emotions puts distance between yourself and your anxiety, helping put things in perspective.
Anxiety support groups are also an opportunity to share coping techniques with others. Many sufferers develop their own anxiety management techniques that you can learn from and use yourself.
Alternatively, if group sessions don’t sound appealing, you can have one-on-one therapy sessions in person or online.
Getting regular exercise
Ask any GP and they will tell you that the most effective method of managing your anxiety yourself is exercise.
Regular workouts boost serotonin levels, an important factor in mood regulation. Light cardio like running or cycling also helps you focus, giving you the space to work through your anxiety.
You don’t need to punish yourself — just a light run after work is enough to help lift your mood.
Mindfulness — the practice of focusing on the self in the present moment — is becoming increasingly popular in medical circles as an effective means of anxiety management. There are dozens of apps, books, videos, and podcasts dedicated to helping people learn how to be mindful.
Mindfulness is as simple as going for a walk somewhere quiet and being aware of your surroundings.
Listening to music
Listening to music is a simple fix that can alleviate anxiety attacks. Music has a powerful effect on mood and is ideal for quick relief in public spaces such as trains or shopping centres.
Curate specific playlists of tunes that relax you. The genre doesn’t matter — as long as it calms you, it’ll work.
Many anxiety sufferers prefer white noise such as rainforests, whales, and crackling fires instead of music. There are often dedicated websites or YouTube channels offering a variety of white noises that can lessen the symptoms of anxiety.
Changing your diet and lifestyle
Many anxiety sufferers often turn to alcohol, cigarettes, or food as a coping method during attacks. But these are short-term fixes that often exacerbate the issue rather than alleviating it.
Instead, you should look for natural ways to cope with anxiety attacks. For example, rather than smoking, chew gum or remove yourself from a stressful situation with a quick walk.
Diet is also a major factor in influencing mood. Change your diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables and cut down on junk food.
Facing your anxiety, addressing the triggers, and making subtle lifestyle changes is often the first step to managing the disorder. Keep a diary of your observations and use it to develop methods that suit you and your lifestyle.
If you feel advice from a healthcare professional is needed, take this diary to your appointment, as it could help pinpoint the best course of treatment moving forward.
Scott McDougall (MPharm) is the Co-Founder and Registered Manager of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies. For more healthcare and treatment advice, visit their website.
Image: Credit: Unsplash
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