If you’re experiencing anxious feelings, there are some strategies you can use to help you calm down and relax. This blog offers some information about anxiety and anxiety disorders, and outlines a few coping mechanisms that you can try.
What Is Anxiety?
It’s normal to feel stressed sometimes. Feeling anxious is a natural response to perceived danger, making us more alert and ready to respond to a crisis.
However, if you feel anxious persistently or intensely so that it affects your daily life, you may be living with an anxiety disorder. There are several different anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day, do things you enjoy, and pursue your personal goals.
What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety manifests differently in each individual, and not everyone exhibits the same symptoms. However, there are some common symptoms of anxiety disorders, including physical symptoms as well as psychological ones.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder may include:
- difficulty sleeping
- impaired concentration
- increased muscle aches and soreness
- excessive anxiety and worry
People with generalised anxiety disorder often don’t suffer from panic symptoms, which characterise other types of anxiety disorder. This can make generalised anxiety disorder harder to identify.
Panic disorders are characterised by panic attacks. Common symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of death
- Pounding or racing heart
- Breathing difficulties
- Weakness or dizziness
- Tingly or numb hands
- Chest pain
How Can You Cope With Anxiety and Panic?
If you think you may be living with an anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to seek professional support. Anxiety disorders can be tough and hard to cope with alone. Mental health support such as talk therapy can help you to identify the underlying causes of anxious feelings and make positive changes, as well as providing coping strategies to manage anxiety symptoms.
Alongside seeking professional support, there are some coping mechanisms you can try yourself to relieve anxiety. Stress management techniques are also useful for people who don’t have anxiety disorders but are currently experiencing anxious thoughts or feelings.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing techniques for anxiety and panic take only a few minutes, and you can do them anywhere. They work best if you do them regularly, as part of your daily routine. There are lots of different types of breathing relaxation techniques to try – here is one of them.
- Make yourself as comfortable as possible, loosening any clothes that affect your breathing
- Place your feet flat on the ground, roughly hip-wide apart
- Breathe deeply, letting your breath go deep into your stomach, but without forcing it
- Breathe gently and regularly, in through your nose and out through your mouth – you may like to count from 1 to 5 as you breathe in, and again as you breathe out
- Try to continue for at least five minutes
Mindfulness meditation has been practised by certain religions for thousands of years. Today, people all over the world use mindfulness to relieve feelings of anxiety and cope with negative thoughts. Research has shown meditation to improve anxiety, depression, and pain symptoms.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and letting go of past or future concerns. During meditation, you may like to focus on your breathing, the sensations in your body, or the sounds in your environment. If your mind wanders, recognise the thoughts and then calmly bring your mind back to the present.
Yoga is an exercise that uses physical postures to connect your body, mind, and breathing. Yoga helps alleviate anxiety and stress by affecting your vagus nerve, producing a calming response in the central nervous system, and increasing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in the brain. GABA is a chemical messenger that inhibits central nervous system activity, relaxing the mind and body. Research has found that yoga affects GABA levels, improving mood and reducing anxiety.
Taking regular exercise boosts serotonin levels, helping to relieve stress and anxiety. There are lots of different ways to use exercise for relaxation, including going for a walk, participating in team sports, and going to dance classes. Exercising outside can add further benefits, exposing you to natural light and natural environments.
Other Self-Care Practices
Self-care practices are things that you can do to stay healthy, physically and mentally. As well as regular exercise and relaxation techniques, self-care practices include:
- eating a healthy diet
- getting enough sleep
- spending time with friends
- doing hobbies and other things you enjoy
- exploring creative outlets such as music, cooking, painting, and dance
Visit a Mental Health Professional
If your anxiety is affecting your life for a prolonged period, you can visit a mental health professional for further support. There are lots of evidence-based treatments available to help people recover from anxiety disorders and return to their best selves.
Avoiding Maladaptive Coping Techniques
Some people try to manage feelings of anxiety through maladaptive coping strategies – that is, strategies that are harmful in the long run. Maladaptive coping strategies such as recreational drugs, self-blame, and behavioural disengagement often only exacerbate anxiety in the long run. Accessing support when you need to and engaging in positive coping mechanisms can help you to stay away from harmful behaviours.
Exclusive Mental Wellness Support at Addcounsel
Addcounsel offers exclusive mental wellness treatment programs from luxurious facilities across central London. Our “one-client-at-a-time” policy ensures unrivalled privacy and care throughout the treatment experience. Each program is fully individualised, offering personalised and expert support from the beginning to the end of your time, continually adapted to suit your needs.
We’re fully committed to offering the best recovery options for you, providing a fully flexible program with a full range of treatment approaches. Our team draws on experts from across the world, including professionals from Arabic-speaking countries who have a sensitive understanding of any relevant cultural nuances. We offer sessions in both Arabic and English, ensuring that every client can fully connect with their therapist.
At Addcounsel, we base our treatment programs on the latest scientific evidence, offering state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. We also understand the importance of compassion and integrity in mental wellness support, treating every client with dignity and respect.
If you experience anxiety or have any other mental health concerns, contact us today. A life-changing journey is waiting for you.