Many of my clients experience anxiety regularly, but they all approach working with and managing it in different ways. Sometimes, one may feel curious about their emotions and wonder why they keep recurring. On other occasions, they may want to comprehend how their anxiety is triggered. For instance, they were identifying why specific locations, activities, or even individuals seem to exacerbate their anxiety.

When approaching their anxiety, some clients are determined not to let it take over their lives. “I refuse to let these worrying feelings overwhelm me!” The client’s desire for change is often accompanied by frustration, leading them to seek a unique solution to their worries and distress. More often than not, the above sentiment is expressed more timidly, akin to the client’s inner voice or emotional longing. Indeed, I often find that clients are a little bit anxious about working towards understanding and getting familiar with their anxiety and mental health.

So, what is anxiety?

Anxiety is a term used to describe feelings of uneasiness, worry, or fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms. It is more than just feeling stressed or anxious in response to a particular situation. While stress and worry are normal responses to challenging situations, anxiety is a persistent feeling that can exist without any apparent cause or trigger. (Beyond Blue, 2016).

Self-care & Anxiety

My current clients are well aware of my strong belief in self-care. I never tire of emphasizing the importance of healthy eating habits, gentle exercise, and taking time for oneself. Engaging in self-care is extremely valuable, and below I have listed four reliable methods that can help you settle down and prioritize self-care.

Gentle Exercise

Gentle exercise can be a great remedy for anxiety because it helps to ground worrying thoughts. Walking, yoga, dancing, and gardening are all excellent options. Tai Chi, tree-climbing, and hoola-hooping are also great for the body, mind, and soul. Exercise is known to produce endorphins, get you outdoors, distract you, and help you breathe deeply.

Eat a Healthy Diet

It is important to focus on our health by modifying or minimizing our consumption (think coffee, sugar, alcohol etc) to ensure that it has a positive impact on our body and mind.

Keep Breathing

Breathing exercises can be helpful for some people to manage anxiety and feel calmer. However, in the midst of a crisis or panic attack, mindful breathing is often overlooked. Breathing is a balancing and relaxation technique in many therapeutic modalities, including yoga. For some individuals, practicing breath work and learning how to self-regulate using their breath can be an essential part of their overall wellness routine.

Mindfulness

Certainly, all three of these steps exemplify mindfulness (Siegel, 2010). This means paying attention to your current experience, choosing your response rather than reacting, taking control instead of feeling helpless, and being mindful and empathetic towards your emotions. Mindfulness helps us connect with our present physical and emotional state, lifting us out of negativity and distress.

“People who practice mindfulness also are taught to notice their present experience without judgment. By simply observing that different experiences come and go over time, the practitioner comes to know the transitory nature of our experience and realise that it is not always necessary to react” (Lang. A. J, 2013).

Conclusion:

It’s important to remember that mental health, like physical health, doesn’t just improve magically. However, there are some simple interventions that can have a calming and therapeutic effect. A good place to start is by checking in with your breath when you start to feel worried or anxious. Alternatively, getting some gentle exercise outdoors can also help when you feel like the walls are closing in on you.

Taking the first step towards change can be difficult, especially if you experience anxiety. If you continue to feel anxious and can’t figure out why, seeking the help of a trained therapist can be beneficial.

REFERENCES:

Retrieved from: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety (2016)

Siegel, D (2010) Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York. Random House

Lang. A, J (2013) What Mindfulness Brings to Psychotherapy for Anxiety and Depression. ADAA. 30:409–412.

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT. PLEASE REACH OUT TO A REGISTERED THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DISTRESS AND REQUIRE ASSISTANCE. © Reed Everingham Consulting