Therapist Anastasia talks to us about the different ways to ease anxiety.
Here are some of the tips she discussed:
First things first: Stop and notice, are you experiencing any of the following symptoms? Anxiety can manifest in several ways including, but not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty focusing
- Feeling out of control
- Changes in body temperature
- Stomach or other body pain
The body is always trying to communicate with us. For example, if you put your hand on a hot burner, you quickly get the message and move your hand, right? The pain signals from your body protect you from damaging your body. Anxiety is also the body`s way of trying to tell you that your stress may be too high.
Research shows that the breath is one of the quickest and most effective ways to calm an anxious nervous system. Take a breath, deep but comfortable, hold at the top for a second, and then release the breath slowly and easily, making an effort to push all the air out of your lungs. Then repeat. This will send a signal to your brain that it is okay to feel calm.
It is common for anxiety to result in racing thoughts about things we cannot control. Once you have taken a few deep breaths, imagine your thoughts flowing through your head and then letting them flow out of your head. See them, acknowledge them, and then let them pass by. Particularly when we are anxious, we tend to perceive that our thoughts are facts, especially the really scary ones. Seeing them come in and go out is a great practice anytime you notice your thoughts are crowding your brain and increasing your anxiety.
What is your anxiety trying to tell you? Are you having racing thoughts about things you can`t control? Are you overburdened with commitments? Are your expectations of yourself unrealistic?
Once you have determined your body is trying to tell you something through anxiety, try to determine the things in your life you need to readjust, particularly those things you are taking on that may simply be too much. If you are chronically taking on too much, the best way to reduce anxiety in the long term is to reduce the number of obligations, stressors and responsibilities on your plate. This may mean that you have to add the work 'No' to your vocabulary more often. If you are able to cut back and reprioritize, you will notice that you will have less anxiety and any anxiety that comes up will be easier to reduce.