5 REALISTIC WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY
TOP TIPS TO MONITOR AND MANAGE ANXIETY SYMPTOMS IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE
AAnxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia with up to one-third of women and one-fifth of men experiencing significant anxiety at some point in their lives.
“We all have nerves, fear, stress and worry about certain situations in our everyday lives, but usually those feelings pass after the event is over,” Everymind’s Dr Sally Fitzpatrick tells WHO. “When fear, distress and feelings of dread take over, anxiety can last for a long time and impact our social lives and responsibilities.”
Dr Fitzpatrick said while there are many causes of anxiety, including hormones, brain chemistry and situational factors, the most important thing to know is that treatments are available. For some, medication can be helpful, but for others, learning simple techniques to re-train their brain is all that is needed to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Dr Fitzpatrick, along with Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from the Black Dog Institute, share these tips.
We tend to take quick and shallow breaths when we’re stressed or anxious. This results in our heart pumping blood faster and feeling a surge of adrenalin. Taking deep breaths slows down this process and can help some people to reduce their anxiety. Breathe in and slowly count to five in your head before exhaling. Repeating this process a few times can be helpful.
2 CHECK THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
Have you noticed that your negative thoughts intensify when you feel anxious? Our self-talk is powerful and can influence our mood and behaviour, so it’s important to find a more helpful way to view things. Take a step back and think about what has caused you to think or feel this way, and consider what kind of advice you would give to a friend in the same situation.
3 AVOID AVOIDANCE
We tend to avoid situations that make us feel anxious. But by doing this, it means we never learn that the situation we’re avoiding isn’t always as bad as we think it will be. Facing your fears bit by bit, in small and gradual steps, is one of the key ways to reduce anxiety.
4 TALK TO SOMEONE
Feeling worried and anxious can make you feel like you want to hide from the world. But talking to someone you trust about your feelings can help you feel better, realise that you’re not alone, and help you work out what to do and where you can get some help.
5 HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Self-care and a healthy lifestyle play an important role in our ability to manage anxiety. Getting enough sleep, having a nutritional and balanced diet, exercising frequently, as well as reducing alcohol and other drugs, all help to make anxiety easier to respond to when it arises.
For more information about anxiety, visit blackdoginstitute.org.au or if you or someone you care about needs support, please contact: Lifeline 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 224 636.