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  • Writer's pictureTracy Dixon

Effective Strategies for Coping with Anxiety

One of the main presenting problems that I see in clients is Anxiety. In today's uncertain world, it's not at all surprising. You only have to turn on the news to be bombarded with doom and gloom. Although anxiety is a natural response to stress it can sometimes become overwhelming and interfere with our ability to lead fulfilling lives. It's important to remember that you're not alone. With the right strategies, you can learn to cope with anxiety and regain control over your life so let's explore effective coping mechanisms that can help you manage anxiety and reclaim a sense of well-being.

Man holding head in hand with anxiety and stress

Deep Breathing

One of the most accessible and powerful tools for managing anxiety is mindful breathing. When anxiety strikes, our breath tends to become shallow and rapid, exacerbating the physical symptoms of stress. By consciously slowing down and deepening your breath, you signal to your body that it's safe to relax. It's important to practice this throughout your day, rather than wait until you are feeling high anxiety.


Try this simple exercise:


Find a quiet, comfortable space.

Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for a count of four.

Hold your breath for a count of four.

Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of six.

Repeat several times until you feel a sense of calm settling in.


Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness mediation has been shown to be as effective as anti depressants for anxiety. There are quite a few aps that can help guide you through this, especially if you are new to meditation. I like Head Space and Calm. An excellent book to learn about this topic is Finding Peace in a Frantic World which comes with a CD containing guided meditations.


Challenge Negative Thoughts

Anxiety often feeds on negative thought patterns. It's essential to recognise and challenge these thoughts to break free from them. Start by asking yourself:


Is this thought based on facts or assumptions?

What evidence supports or contradicts this thought?

What would I say to a friend experiencing similar thoughts?

By reframing negative thinking, you can begin to foster a more positive and realistic perspective.


Establish a Routine

Creating a structured routine can provide a sense of predictability and control, which can be particularly comforting for those dealing with anxiety. Set regular sleep patterns, allocate time for self-care activities, and incorporate exercise and relaxation techniques into your daily schedule. If this feels too much, start with some basics like shower, get dressed and eat.


Engage in Physical Activity

Regular exercise has been shown to be highly effective in reducing anxiety. It helps release endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, which can significantly improve your overall sense of well-being. Whether it's a brisk walk, yoga, or a high-intensity workout, find an activity that resonates with you and make it a consistent part of your routine.


Practice Self-Compassion

Being kind to yourself is crucial when dealing with anxiety. Remember, you are not defined by your anxious thoughts or feelings. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would offer to a loved one going through a difficult time.


Seek Professional Support

Don't hesitate to reach out for professional help if you find that anxiety is significantly impacting your daily life. Counselling can provide specialised tools and techniques to help you navigate through your anxiety and give you a space to be talk openly and honestly.


Conclusion

Coping with anxiety is a journey, and it's important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way. By incorporating these strategies into your daily life, you can regain control, find peace, and cultivate a sense of well-being. Remember, you're not alone, and seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Drop me a message today if you would like some help with this.



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