10 tips to help prevent anxiety
Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid–particularly about things about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. It is a negative emotion-based around fear.
What causes anxiety?
There are a whole variety of issues that can cause anxiety. Examples of this could be struggling with relationship issues, money concerns, covid-19, dealing with a difficult boss at work and delivering presentations to name a few.
Sometimes this can then form the narrative of a story that we can start buying into. Anxiety can take many forms and may be from an experience in younger years as a child and carried through to an adult. Or, a particular negative event or experience may have triggered it.
It is important to recognise what is going on as, like many other issues of mental well-being, it can start as something small, then sneak up into a considerably big problem.
How to prevent anxiety
- The first step towards helping to sort it is recognising a problem.
- Then finding the trigger.
- When feelings of discomfort appear write down what you notice about the trigger.
This will help identify a pattern and a way forward. A way to help with this would be via keeping a diary when feelings of discomfort start presenting themselves. Then, over time, you can pinpoint what is causing the trigger.
Other quick key tips
- It's OK to feel uncomfortable, accept that.
- Be kind to yourself. Talk to someone.
- Exercise, eat healthy, hydrate and rest.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol.
- Re-frame anxiety into 'worry or thinking about' instead of 'my anxiety'.
- Visualise success with yourself in the picture.
- Focus on what you want.
Consistence is key
Like all good habits, consistency is key. It's a bit like exercising or going to the gym, if one shows up once every three months and is expecting a rapid transformation it is not a realistic expectation. This same principle applies to matters of the mind and working with controlling negative emotions.
The best way to start working on the steps that a right for you is by taking small steps. Start by picking just one area to focus on which might be exercise or sleep hygiene. Once you feel progress is being made add in another such as improving healthy eating and hydration. This may also involve reducing alcohol consumption. Eventually, you will find that combining a few simple changes will have improved positive effects on your life and mental health.
It's often the smallest changes that are overlooked, however, it's with a number of small 1% changes that can impact life in a big way. This is a process of maximising the marginal gains. A number of small improvements can cumulatively add up to an overall substantial percentage increase. Just to prove the theory, Sir Dave Brailsford and the British Cycling team focussed on marginal gain improvements that led them to dominance from the 2008 Olympics and beyond.
If there are times that seem more difficult than others, work on one breath, one step, one day at a time and repeat. If you have any questions or want further information please get in touch. I would love to know your thoughts on anxiety and how it may have affected you, or how you overcame it.
Sharing insights can help others.