Feeling anxious? How to lessen your anxiety
We all feel anxious at some point or another, it is a natural response, designed to keep us safe. Sometimes though, usually because of situations in the past or ideas about things that are happening in the world around us, those feelings cease to be useful and instead prevent us from living our lives to the full. It can be frustrating because even though we might feel that it isn’t logical, we can’t help but feel the fear.
Common symptoms of anxiety
- Feeling short of breath.
- A sense of impending doom.
- A feeling of panic.
- Panic attacks.
- An overwhelming sense of being out of control.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Recurring thoughts.
- Cold sweats.
- Excessive worry, especially about things unlikely to happen.
Anxiety is extremely common in the UK, with official figures from the Office of National Statistics claiming that nearly one in five of are affected by it. Certain life changes can make us more susceptible, but anxiety disorders are non-discriminatory and they can affect all of us, young and old, rich and poor.
Life coaching can really help us deal with anxiety and may well even allow extreme anxiety to be a thing of the past. It can tackle the cause and the trigger for the anxiety and look for the reasons that we may have been repeating the behaviour. We can gain a different perspective on situations in an environment that is helpful and non-judgemental. It doesn’t matter if we think our responses to certain situations are silly or don’t make sense, if they are affecting our lives, they are worth challenging. Even if we don’t understand how it might help, the decision to do something about it is a powerful thing and allows us to begin on the journey to taking back control.
There are also a few things you can do yourself to help ease the feeling of anxiety:
Is your lifestyle supporting you in feeling less anxious? Alcohol, drugs, a lack of sleep or lack of exercise can all contribute to making feelings of anxiety worse. If you think this might be the case for you, see what you can voluntarily change to improve things. Look instead for things that will get you moving, calm your mind and give you a positive feeling. That could be music, a hypnotherapy recording, guided meditation or even just a funny movie. Do more of what makes you calm, positive and relaxed.
Saving up worry
Notice if you have been building up a worry bank for yourself by going over negative thoughts or behaviour. Repeating things in our mind that have happened in the past, or we have imagined happening in the future, will only make the thoughts grow bigger and clearer in our mind. The important thing to notice is that it literally is just the thought that has got bigger, rather than any real threat. Next time you notice going over negative thoughts again, stop yourself, imagine bringing the thought out of your mind in front of you and shrinking it down until it is imperceivably small, then throw it away. They are your thoughts and you can do whatever you choose with them.
Use your breath
If you are in the middle of feeling panicked, rather than trying to take more breaths in (the chances are your lungs are either already full or you have just held your breath due to tension) do a steady strong breath out. Keep on going until you feel you can do it no more, then release. When you do this your airways open and your lungs release the old breath and take in a nice fresh healthy breath. Do this three times, getting steadier as you go. As you breathe in imagine breathing in calmness and quiet. You’ll notice it's also very hard to have any thoughts at all when breathing out. As such the negative thoughts stop and calmness sets in. After the three times, give yourself a positive message or instruction such as, ‘Everything’s alright, I am going to be OK’.
Practise beforehand, when you might feel only a tiny bit anxious, then you will be able to use it in a time of need.
You can do something about it. At the end of the day, even if we can’t see it, there will have been some kind of logical basis for the cycle of anxiety to begin. However what we also know, is that it isn’t helpful anymore. It is possible that everyone has the potential to overcome anxiety. It can be gone as quickly as it came. Seeking help is a good thing, however non-sensical we think it may sound. Clients often say they feel free and can finally get on with their lives. If you have been feeling trapped by anxiety, there is help out there and coaching is one possibility. Maybe it’s time for a positive change!