Lockdown Tips To Help Manage Anxiety
Here at Phoenix Counselling, we understand how anxiety can affect people in different ways. It is perhaps something that you have experienced a few times in your life or most of your life. Public speaking, performance reviews and new job responsibilities are just some of the work-related situations that can cause even the calmest person to feel a little stressed.
Relationship issues at home with family, at college or university with friends and more intimate ones, can sometimes overwhelm you and your stress levels can soar as your anxiety heightens. We have created this blog to help you better understand anxiety and some simple exercises that can help.
Due to the current climate and the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a massive increase in seeking help with anxiety during the last year. We wanted to create this blog for those having a difficult time with their mental health, and also those wanting to help friends and family who may be experiencing this too. We have outlined a few points to hopefully help you get a better understanding of anxiety. If you would like to discuss your anxiety with a professional further, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a completely natural response, it allows us to be able to deal with real situations appropriately and is something that everyone experiences at different times and with varying intensity. So anxiety is helpful when you can react to situations effectively and the anxiety symptoms are only temporary and occasional. Anxiety becomes unhelpful when every day or specific situations that are not a danger are evaluated consciously or subconsciously as a threat. This can lead to feelings of worry, nervousness and unease and you may or may not know the reasons for feeling this way; this is called Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
In addition, there are many conditions where anxiety is the main symptom, sometimes focused around a specific event and anxiety has been classed into a number of categories. For example, fears/phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) body dysmorphic disorder and panic disorder.
What is Anxiety Like?
When trying to describe anxiety to others, it can be very difficult. It can be harder than it may seem since the experience of anxiety varies for each of us. How we define our experience turns out to be an important part of what our anxiety feels like for each of us. Only you may know exactly how, and what, you feel.
While there are some key differences in the above definitions of anxiety, stress, worry, fear and panic, there are still blurred lines and considerable overlap separating them. Individual differences in how we think about these terms, and our own experience of angst, may determine more of the difference than the terms themselves.
As with all emotions, how we define our anxiety has as much to do with who we are and how we feel about it, as it does our experience itself. Our experience shapes the labels we use to describe them, and our labels shape our experience as well. How we label our emotions can actually co-construct what they are, and how we experience them.
While there are common definitions of stress, worry, fear, and anxiety, how we think about each of these experiences is coloured by our experience, values, and upbringing, and is as individual as we are. Your experience of stress might be my experience of anxiety, which might be another person’s worry and yet another person’s sense of fear.
How we define anxiety is as individual as our own unique perspective. The experience of discomfort and anxiety are all pretty similar experiences, but how we label them defines what they are, and makes them ours – to define and use. This is important because it underscores what science is proving. We are in more control than we may think, as you will find out below.
This exercise may help you if you are feeling stressed and anxious. These 5 steps can be very helpful during periods of anxiety or panic by helping to ground you in the present when your mind is bouncing around between various anxious thoughts.
Before starting this exercise, pay attention to your breathing. Slow, deep, long breaths can help you maintain a sense of calm or help you return to a calmer state. Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:
5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a phone, a clock, anything in your surroundings.
4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, whatever you are sitting on, or the ground under your feet.
3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you are near a window can you hear traffic or birds? Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and can smell a pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
This technique is one of many options you could use if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. If anxiety is something that you struggle with regularly, and you continue to have trouble refocusing or coping with these feelings, you can talk to us about how we can help.
We hope that you found this blog useful and informative. It’s important to remember that everyone has a bad one but it’s important to seek help if you need it. Phoenix Counselling, where we can help you to overcome this difficult point in your life. Our counsellor is well-practised, highly experienced and ensures thorough attention to detail throughout our many practices. If you would like to speak to us then contact us today on 07539 997 929.