5 RE­AL­IS­TIC WAYS TO MAN­AGE ANX­I­ETY

TOP TIPS TO MON­I­TOR AND MAN­AGE ANX­I­ETY SYMP­TOMS IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE

WHO - - Wellness -

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.

1 BREATHE

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.

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