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Techniques to alleviate anxiety

Everyone suffers from a form of anxiety at some point. Be it stress due to work or a more intense social anxiety; we have all encountered these worrisome feelings.

Stress and anxiety in the modern world seems to be on the increase. It often attacks insidiously, is difficult to detect, and often left untreated, anxiety disorders are also often at the core of more obvious conditions such as compulsive eating disorders and alcohol addiction.

Preferring to ignore the symptoms, we often use temporary measures such as eating, to “feel better”. This in turn could lead to physical damage to the body. Anxiety disorder should always be treated by a medical practitioner but how can we reduce the onset of Anxiety?

Tips on countering negative anxiety emotions

Get your fair share of sleep

We rarely think of sleep being a cause of anxiety. In fact we tend to view the loss of sleep as a symptom of anxiety itself. Only too often the stressed patient is left tossing and turning at night unable to switch off from their inner stresses. But it is true that sleep deprivation leads to poor body functioning and anxiety. If sleeping is difficult try to rest an hour before you go to bed; dim the lighting in the bedroom; refrain from taking naps during the day unless you have to; practically confront issues that are likely to worry you before you go to bed.

Accept anxiety as normal

Anxiety is wrongly seen as a sign of weakness in today’s society - This is nonsense. Without these feelings, our bodies would not be alerted to possible dangers and so facilitate protective behaviour. When we repress or try to hide feelings of anxiety it becomes a vicious circle – because now we are anxious about appearing anxious! Listen to your body acting normally and respond by using a strategy from your therapeutic toolbox or focus down on confronting the situation.

Find a safe harbour or anchor

When anxiety strikes, therapists often encourage patients to find an anchor or strategy to which they can return to in order to find calm. From there, once relaxed, they can use the strategies to confront, or make the situation easier. One way to find that “comfortable place” is to visualise a chosen sanctuary in your mind. Another is to have something that is always close at hand that triggers memories or feelings which will encourage calm. This could be a lucky charm, a bracelet or something given to you by a loved relative or friend. Learning to breathe slowly and deeply allows you to go through this process easier.

Accept worrying is a useless exercise

Worry and anxiety tend to go hand in hand. Many people say they are a “worrier”, as if it is some kind of animal. There is no such thing. Worry is something you do, not something you are – so you can change your behaviour. Learn to recognise times when you are worrying, and turn those anxious thoughts into focussed action. Create a to-do list relative to the worry. Write down the next thing you can actively do to deal with the problem. This task maybe sometime in the future i.e: “Telephone Joe in 3 days time”. Put this in your diary. Once you have an active task let it go out of your mind. There is nothing else you can do is there? Now you can get on with the good things in your life.

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