For some of us, Christmas brings with it a large dose of anxiety – for others, anxiety is something they battle with on a daily basis. Either way, suffering in silence is not the answer.
Technically, anxiety is a type of apprehension about an upcoming event – we often imagine worst-case scenarios and worry ourselves unnecessarily. Back in cave-man times, this kind of anxiety and stress helped us avoid real dangers (i.e. hungry saber-toothed tigers) but these days, we don’t have such threats to worry about. Instead we worry about presentations at work, first dates or even socialising. Luckily, this type of anxiety can be beaten.
Note: If you think you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you are advised to seek help from your doctor.
1. Get enough sleep – Inconsistent sleep patterns can affect our physical health and make us feel more anxious. When you feel anxious, try to schedule in enough snooze time and see how you feel when you’re well rested.
2. Have a chuckle – If work is getting you down, take a break and watch something funny. Studies suggest that laughing reduces symptoms of anxiety, so don’t feel guilty about watching that Youtube clip – it’s good for your health.
3. Tidy house = tidy mind – Being surrounded by clutter is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Make your work and living area calm and welcoming by tidying away any junk and adding a few flowers, pictures or even scented candles to calm those nerves.
4. Cultivate gratitude – Expressing gratitude can help reduce anxiety and during the festive period, this can be especially apt. Rather than stressing about gifts, be thankful for what you have.
5. Breathe – Addressing your breathing can have a profound effect on anxiety. When we feel apprehensive we usually take shorter, shallower breaths. By taking deep breaths, you are telling your body it’s OK to relax.
6. Create a vision board – If the future is worrying you, try to change the way you think about it. Creating a vision board with images that represent your hopes and dreams can help you feel more positive about what lies ahead.
7. Be quiet – Too much noise has been linked to stress levels, so next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try taking 10 minutes alone to be silent. Turn off your phone, TV and computer and revel in the quiet.
8. Be prepared – If you find you are anxious about the immediate future, try planning ahead. Write a to-do list for the following day/week/month so you know what needs to be done and how you will do it.
9. Visualise a positive outcome – If you are feeling anxious about a particular event (i.e. an upcoming exam/presentation/speech), take some time to visualise yourself handling the situation calmly with ease and clarity.
10. Spend time with others – Having a supportive social circle gives you an outlet for your anxiety and should help you feel less isolated. Socialising is also said to stimulate the production of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety.
To find out how a life coach could help you with stress and anxiety, please see our stress page.
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