What Is Anxiety & How To Manage It!

by - 07:19

Anxiety is something that most people will experience in their life. There are different levels, which affect people differently. Anxiety can be triggered by a multitude of things. It's important to learn what your triggers are and how to prevent them. Today's guest post is about how to manage your anxiety, so you can be happier in this strange time!

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Understanding Anxiety


Anxiety, like many mental illnesses, occurs on a spectrum. It’s common to experience what is considered a ‘normal’ level of anxiety, like feeling worried before a big exam. At the other end of the scale, people struggle with debilitating anxiety disorders which significantly impede their functioning. In these cases, the levels of anxiety are considered excessive for the severity of the situation.

No matter where on the spectrum you lie, it’s important to take steps to manage it. You should determine whether your anxiety is normal or excessive so that you can seek the correct type of treatment.    
Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Fatigue, often chronic
  • Lack of concentration/brain fog
  • Feeling worried or nervous to an excessive extent
  • Feeling agitated, tense, or restless
  • Feeling irritable, snapping at others over minor things
  • Digestive issues
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Panic attacks

When these symptoms persist for 6 months or more, it is generally considered to be an anxiety disorder, and professional help should be sought. 

Managing Your Anxiety


Aside from availing of professional treatment, there are things that you can do to manage your anxiety, whatever point of the spectrum you lie on. My advice for measures that you can take yourself to regulate your anxiety is to focus on things that you can control. In a time during which uncertainty is widespread, this is one of the most empowering and effective things you can do in your journey to improved mental health.

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9 things you control that will help your anxiety



Learn to recognise your triggers


Simply reading a news story can cause a flare-up of feelings of stress and anxiety right now. For others, work stress or social situations are their triggers. The first step in managing your anxiety is to identify these ‘buttons’. In doing so, you’ll be better equipped to address the feelings that they elicit.

Remember to take a break, and it’s okay to say no


Once you’ve recognised what triggers your anxiety, you need to strike the balance between protecting yourself from these situations, without avoiding important life responsibilities. I tend to avoid busy pubs and clubs, as these are a big trigger for my anxiety. Luckily these settings are relatively easy to stay away from. Others, such as your job or school, maybe impossible to avoid completely. In these cases, remember that if you need to take a break from the situation, then you are entitled to do so.

Of course, we can’t hide away from the world completely, and we do have to do our best to fulfil our obligations. If you’re finding it particularly hard to do this, to the point where it’s impinging on your life significantly, please seek professional help.

Break Up Your To-do List


Anxiety and mental illness can make it difficult for us to complete basic daily or self-care tasks. For example, cleaning the whole house is intimidating for a lot of people, but breaking it down into smaller jobs will make less off-putting. You’ll also gain a sense of accomplishment more easily, which is helpful when your mood and motivation are on the decline.


Practise Therapy Skills


Psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy have been proven to help manage the ill-effects of anxiety and panic disorders. Mindfulness and self-soothing are just two areas of DBT which are often recommended for managing distressing emotions. Cognitive restructuring is an example of a CBT skill that can be used to combat anxiety.

A Healthy Body Supports A Healthy Mind


It’s often frustrating to be told to eat healthily and exercise to help your mental health problems. It feels like a way of brushing off the severity of our issues. When we are feeling bad, our motivation to look after ourselves often goes out the window. However, this advice does prove itself in practice! Gut health has garnered a lot of attention recently for its close links with mental health. Good quality of sleep and regular exercise are also crucial in maintaining stable mental health. Again, it’s best to take small steps here. Simply 10-15 minutes of yoga daily or making small
changes to your diet can have a significant effect on your mental health.


Manage Your Caffeine Intake


I’m sure this will be one of the less-favoured points on this list (I should know better than to get in between people and their coffee!). However, caffeine is known to increase anxiety, and you could be even more sensitive to the negative effects of this stimulant if you already
have an anxiety disorder. If you absolutely can’t live without it, try to at least avoid drinking it from 6-7pm, so it won’t disrupt your sleep.

Rethink Your Alcohol Consumption

This one might seem counterintuitive – alcohol is supposed to help you relax, right? Unfortunately, it’s been shown that the consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially over time, can in fact increase levels of anxiety. The after-effects of heavy drinking have been compared to a sugar high and the crash that follows it. If you’ve ever experienced the feelings of dread brought on by a bad hangover, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In simple terms, alcohol lowers your anxiety levels, so the body immediately tries to overcompensate. This is why anxiety seems to skyrocket the morning after.

This isn’t to say that if you struggle with anxiety, you need to stay sober. It’s worth bearing the effects of alcohol when attempting to manage your condition.

Familiarise Yourself With Breathing Exercises & Techniques


There are many breathing exercises which are proven to help with anxiety and stress. One such technique goes as follows:

Let all the air out of your lungs. Inhale and count to 4 slowly, then hold your breath while counting to 4. Exhale counting to 4, and again hold this for a count of 4 before inhaling again. Make sure you are breathing from your stomach. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, breathe out for 8 seconds. You can adjust these numbers as needed. The key point to remember is that you need to hold your breath for longer than you breathe in and exhale for longer than you hold. 

Another exercise is box breathing or square breathing:

First, let all the air out of your lungs. Inhale and count to 4 slowly, then hold your breath while counting to 4. Exhale counting to 4, and again hold this for a count of 4 before inhaling again.

Seek Professional Help

If your anxiety is impairing your ability to function normally or
is causing you significant distress, you need professional help. While there are certain things we can do to manage our mental health, there comes a point where the intervention of a professional is necessary. If you are experiencing extreme anxiety (especially if it occurs over a few months), consult with your doctor. There are lots of helplines and different services you can go through, so find one you're comfortable with.

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I hope these tips help you to manage your anxiety. It can be difficult to help yourself, so don't feel bad if you need to seek professional help. Thank you to my lovely guest writer for this informative post. Make sure you follow her blog and Instagram for more positivity and mental health advice! How do you manage your anxiety? Let me know what your favourite method is in the comments!



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33 comments

  1. This was really needed, we need to take mental health more seriously!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hope you're doing okay! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  2. I have anxiety so I can relate to some of the points you made in your post. Taking a break and stop the pressure can help. Also focusing on what I love helps too. I journal to help put my worries and anxieties in perspective.

    Lauren | www.bournemouthgirl.com

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    Replies
    1. I hope you're doing okay - I love journaling a lot too! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

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  3. Good tips! I feel sometimes anxious but I now know how to keep it at bay. Definitely avoid and recognize triggers. Keeping a regular eating and sleeping pattern helps a lot too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sleep is very important! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  4. These are really good tips. I've been very anxious in the past and found cutting out caffeine, doing yoga and running really help. Eliminating triggers is also a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're doing okay! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  5. Beautifully written. I do believe it all comes down to your inner self when managing anxiety!

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    Replies
    1. That is very true! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  6. This is such a helpful post. Its so important to work out what triggers you, so that you can recognise what affects you and how you can work around that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're doing okay! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  7. These are some great tips and beautifully written. I can relate to some of these; I might show my boyfriend this post too as he is still learning and adapting when it comes to my anxiety! Thanks for sharing.

    Paige // Paige Eades

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great that he is trying and making an effort - I hope you're doing okay! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  8. Great tips. It's so important to recognize the difference between being anxious and having anxiety / an anxiety disorder. Having lived with a debilitating anxiety disorder for almost a decade, it really bothers me when people play it off as "just a bit of anxiety" x

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I think it's insensitive when people joke about it or play it off. It really affects some people and isn't pleasant to live with. I hope you're doing okay though :) x

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  9. Great post! Definitely relatable on a personal level. But it’s always a work in progress and I’m always looking for new ways to manage my anxiety

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deffinitly - it's a process! Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  10. This is a super important topic to talk about! These are great tips. Thank you for sharing this!

    Amber - https://theunpredictedpage.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  11. Very helpful post,I can vouch for the mindfulness helping.I have recently started meditating everyday and I can definitely see a change x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

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  12. These are all such great tips on how to manage anxiety! Such a helpful post, thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  13. Thank you for this post! These are great tips, especially the breathing exercise. I need to try that next time I'm a bit tense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it has helped! hank you for reading and popping me a comment :)

      Em x

      Delete
  14. Breathing exercises has been helping whenever I feel anxious or about to get really angry. Thanks for this!

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  15. Great tips! I suffer from anxiety. I used to love driving but I got in a bad accident 2 years ago and fell off an overpass. It was from my brain not being all there and getting a seizure after. I am still able to drive but started getting panic attacks last year. But seeking counseling and medication (Prozac) helped a lot.

    Hannah | http://hannahonhorizon.com

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  16. Very much needed article for every person who's suffering from anxiety. Great tips! Thanks for sharing this.

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  17. After experiencing two separate traumas within the last two years, I was diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD... Although I was was offered meds, therapy is the best thing I have ever done for myself! I would definitely recommend councelling and therapy for everyone!!!

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  18. Thanks for sharing, I have been suffering a lot from anxiety recently these tips have really helped :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  19. This is a great post. I try to manage my anxiety practicing mindfulness and it really does help. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. I couldn't identify more with this post! I have cut back majorly in caffeine (not a daily thing anymore), but I definitely need to get moving more.

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