Guest Post: Elizabeth Windsor
It’s widely known that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life, with anxiety and depression being the most common. Anxiety is a type of fear characterised by excessive or irrational worrying, usually concerning something going wrong in the future. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from it, but are also more likely to do something about it. Our fast paced lifestyles, demanding jobs along with modern day pressures and expectations are just some of the factors that lead to a person developing anxiety. Having experienced it myself, and spending many years trying to battle it, I came to accept it and developed these strategies to help me cope. I’d like to share them with you in the hope they’ll be able to help you, too.
Write it down
A lot of the time, thoughts and worries become overwhelming, because they’re whizzing around in our minds so much we simply can’t make sense of them. Writing your worries down helps you to look at them from a different/detached perspective which will then allows you to rationalise them. Try keeping a notebook and pen by your bed for when you can’t sleep so you can write down whatever’s worrying you and come back to it in the morning.
The simple act of breathing deeply and slowly is a life saver when it comes to having a panic attack. When we become overwhelmed with anxiety, it helps to just stop for a moment to take a few deep breaths. As well as lowering your heart rate, it will bring you back to the present moment, calm you down and help you to centre yourself.
This helped me immensely when I went through a real bad patch of anxiety and couldn’t see the wood for the trees, so much so that I still practice it to this day. Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation that makes you pay attention to the present moment. By focusing your mind on your breath, noises or sensations you are calming and clearing your mind. This allows you to deal with your thoughts in a more effective way. There’s many websites and books that will guide you through it or download the Headspace app onto your phone. I also love to use the Liquid Yoga Space Spray when I’m meditating, it really helps give a boost of revival.
Talk it out
Telling someone how you’re feeling or getting your worries out in the open can be very liberating. Often anxiety can lead to very confusing thoughts, that become very muddled in your mind, but talking your worries through with someone really helps you to make sense of things. It’s best to choose someone you’re close to and can trust so that you won’t then worry about them telling someone else. If you’d rather not confide in someone you know there’s plenty of help lines and professionals you can talk to confidentially.
Look after yourself
Scientists have discovered that 90% of serotonin – the happy hormone – is found in the gut. Having a healthily and balanced diet will ensure you gut is kept happy which in turn means you will too. It’s also essential to get plenty of good quality shut eye, as lack of sleep will heighten the symptoms of anxiety and make everything worse. Try to develop a bedtime routine that helps you to switch off before bed – have a bath, pamper yourself with products and light a soothing candle.