Anxiety is something I have lived with for around 8/9 years, although when I think back further I can recognise signs that it started when I was quite young.
Here are my top tips on how to reduce anxiety.
1. Making sure to have enough sleep.
Not having enough sleep at night can increase feelings of anxiety throughout the day. Making sure that you get into a routine to ensure a good nights sleep is super important.
Start winding down at the same time each night, make sure to put your phone down when you get into bed. Scrolling aimlessly through social media can not only keep you awake longer but can heighten anxiety.
My boyfriend once told me that apparently if you lie still with your eyes closed for 15 minutes without moving you will automatically fall asleep. I don’t know if it’s true, but its always worked for me.
2. Have a declutter
Have a declutter of things that no longer make you happy.
With anxiety your brain will have thousands of things running around in there. Sometimes we are unable to declutter our brains, so the next best thing is to declutter your environment. By having your house/bedroom/workplace in order it will ease some off the stress.
There are so many times where I have been feeling anxious and have been in an uncluttered bedroom looking for socks. Who knew that not finding a pair of socks could be the start of a panic attack?!?!
I have seriously found that having an organised environment really helps with days where anxiety is starting to take over.
3. Rescue Remedy!
I was told so many times about rescue remedy before I decided to give it ago, I honestly wish I had tried it years before. I’m not saying it completely cured me but what it did do was make that cloud of panic lift just enough to make me see clearly.
I always have the drops in my hand bag, I have honestly found it helps in so many situations. I use it before going into situations that I know could possibly cause me anxiety, for example if i’m going to a new place I will always take some before I go.
They also do pastilles which I keep in my car.
4. Breathing exercises
I know, how completely obvious but honestly I never tried this for years.
There are so many different techniques out there but the one that works best for me is 4-7-8. Breathe in for 4 Seconds, Hold for 7 Seconds & Breathe out for 8 Seconds. Keep your tongue at the top of your mouth right behind your front teeth.
If you haven’t ever tried breathing exercises, give it a go because I was also completely sceptical at first!
5. Keep taking your medication.
If you are prescribed something from your doctor to help with anxiety, please don’t just decide to stop taking them. You may be feeling better but by stopping taking prescribed medication can make your mood decrease dramatically.
If you think you are ready to start reducing your medication, talk to your GP. They can monitor you and gradually wean you off them.
6. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea and energy drinks. High doses will increase anxiety. People do have different amounts they can tolerate, but ultimately Caffeine will affect your anxiety.
Alcohol is also a depressant, so you may feel fabulous and confident when you are drunk. But when the hangover comes the next day, you will feel so much worse.
Avoiding these two thinks will help your anxiety levels.
7. Find a distraction
Distract yourself, if you cannot stop thinking about something which is causing you anxiety then try to distract yourself.
I do maths. If i’m out in public and I start to feel that wave of anxiety start to come over me I will ask who i’m with to give me a number and a times table. So I could be given the number 3982 and the 7 times table, i’m not the most clever so that is a challenge for me. But if you are a clever clogs try having a higher number and a higher times table. Making your brain think about something else can distract you from the anxiety you are feeling.
I also do colouring, I use The Mindfulness Colouring book:Anti Stress I find it so calming and such a good distraction.
8. Speak to your friends/family
Tell someone how you are feeling & tell them what you need. Like me, you may just need a maths equation. You may also find that just telling someone can make your anxiety reduce – like they say a problem shared is a problem halved.
9. Follow the 3-3-3 rule.
Look around you and name 3 things you see. Then, name 3 sounds you hear. Finally move three parts of your body – your wrist, your ankle and your arm. This always helps me just center my thoughts.
10. Write things down
Write down how you feel. What made you feel like this. When did you first start feeling like this.
When your anxiety starts to ease, write down what made you feel better.
After a while you will notice a pattern of what causes your anxiety and what helps to make it better.
I’ve recently started the wellbeing journal which is very good!
Eventually you will find what works for you but I hope that some of these work for you.