simple techniques to help you manage anxiety

Anxiety can often feel like it’s taking over your life, especially if the negative or critical voices in your head get really loud. There are steps you can take at home to mitigate those feelings, though. Here are just a few...

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Feeling anxious sometimes is normal, but if those feelings get too strong, or last for a long time, it can become overwhelming. The following techniques have been shown to help people manage anxiety: 

deep diaphragmatic breathing

Breathing using your diaphragm helps you relax and calm your system. Lie on your back with your hands on your tummy:

  • inhale for a count of 7
  • exhale for a count of 11
  • aim for 10 rounds of the 7/11 breath each time you practice

The longer exhale stimulates your body’s relaxation response, which helps you feel calmer.

ground yourself

Disrupt the flow of negative and anxious thoughts through grounding yourself with a simple grounding exercise:

1. Standing or sitting, feel the weight of your body.

2. Push your feet into the floor and imagine you’re being supported by the floor underneath you.

3. Now, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Picture the energy draining from your mind, through your body, and out through your feet. Really feel the heaviness go down your legs, through your feet, and into the ground.

This quick exercise helps you focus on your body instead of your racing thoughts. Doing this slows down your threat system, which often goes into overdrive when you have anxiety.

break the habit through journaling

If you know you have a habit of ruminating on negative or upsetting things, you could start a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, write down three things you're grateful for that day – no matter how small they might be.

Research shows this simple exercise helps rewire your brain to notice more positive things and reduces stressful thinking.

take a minute

Clear your mind of all the clutter and focus on the moment, with this 1 minute mindfulness exercise. Use this exercise as many times throughout your day as you want to bring clarity and calm:

humming

Humming stimulates your vagus nerve, which is a wandering cranial nerve that touches every organ in our body, and critical part of our nervous system. 

And as our voice box is connected to the vagus nerve, when we hum or sing, it naturally sitmulates the nerve. Creating a response that naturally produces relaxing hormones.

get active

Physical activity causes a chemical change in your brain that positively alters your mood through the release of endorphins.You don’t have to go to the gym to get it, either. Going out for a walk in the daylight every day can improve your health, fitness, and mental wellbeing.

For even more feel-good benefits, take a stroll through natural surroundings like your local park, or even just tree-lined streets.

 

stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet

When you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to reach for junk food, which gives us a quick mood and energy boost. This short-term boost may be appealing, but can be a nightmare for your blood sugar. It leads to an inevitable blood sugar crash, making you feel even worse.

Dehydration, caffeine, and sugar, can also exacerbate anxiety.

Instead, focus on getting plenty of fruits and vegetables into your system. Brain healthy foods like blueberries, broccoli, and spinach will always do you some good, and may help to improve your mood along with other symptoms of anxiety.

Cut back on alcohol if necessary, and give up cigarettes if you’re a smoker as this may help you feel calmer.

limit news and social media

Thanks to modern technology, it can be easy to become overloaded and overwhelmed. Try to limit how much news you follow if you know it makes you more anxious.

You may also find it useful to limit your time on social media. You can then use that new free time to do more activities that don’t involve screens, such as mindful walking.

Avoiding light-emitting devices before bed, particularly those involving blue light, will also help your body wind down and prepare for sleep.

make time for yourself

In an increasingly digital world, everyone seems to be busy all day, every day. But making time to unwind and relax can relieve feelings of anxiety.

You could try:

  • running a bath
  • listening to your favourite music
  • reading a book
"There are a lot of people experiencing anxiety and depression and I would encourage them to reach out to caba and access high quality counselling and support, because it can be a complete game-changer."

Julie

caba client

talk about it

Keeping emotions bottled up can prevent us from processing them and make them harder to bear or learn from. Part of being able to manage our emotions is being able to share them with someone you feel safe and comfortable with. An independent view can also offer a fresh perspective on what you’re worried about. This doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so if you’re struggling, try our guide.

And remember: it’s ok – and totally normal – to have bad days. As with all things, they’ll pass.

And, although unpleasant, they’re a sign you’re connecting deeply with the things happening outside of you, many of which you can’t control. Letting go of things you can’t control will help you to feel calmer, and give you more energy for the aspects of your life you are in control of.

find out about our emotional support

There are everyday and exceptional things that affect us all at some point in our lives. We're here for you. We can arrange for you to receive counselling sessions to help you work through any difficulties you're facing. Our support is free, impartial and confidential.

talk to us

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