Mental Health
Jul 16, 2024

Simple and Easy Tools for Anxiety

‘Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.’  – Kahlil Gibran  

Something kind of exploded in my mind when I fully comprehended this quote!  I never identified myself as an anxious or stressful person. However, anxiety is certainly something that has snuck its way into my life. Anxiety is that overwhelming urge to try to predict our future – as if we can control the outcome! But in reality, we cannot control our future with any certainty because there are too many variables that we have NO control over. Therefore, this can make us feel anxious.  

Learning to manage my stress was done through trial and error and is something that I am so glad I have implemented into my life. It’s a given that we are going to experience stress or anxiety at some point in our lives. So it makes sense to learn skills and tools to understand and manage it. Effectiveness of tools varies from person to person, so it is a great idea to talk about what we are feeling and get suggestions for useful strategies we can experiment with. You can also see a psychologist who can teach you some skills.  

Recognising when anxiety or stress is occurring has been a useful tool for me. It is very difficult to change something that we are not aware of! Low-level symptoms may include feeling grumpy and irritable, fidgetting more than normal or finding it hard to sit and relax. Other symptoms might include clenching teeth and fists or grinding your teeth. My next step is to narrow down the things, places, people and issues that trigger the anxiety. I find it useful to write a cheat sheet of the things that I know make me feel uncomfortable.  

Lack of sleep is a key player in this equation. If we don’t get enough sleep, we will be more prone to anxiety. So, I looked at my bedtime routine and made simple changes to improve my sleep which has helped immensely!  

However, the most productive thing for me is to allocate time daily (yes, daily) for downtime. This lets my mind and body slow down. This is where I meditate!  

Below are some easy tips that may help with managing stress and anxiety:

Mindfulness: Notice your Five Senses. What you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell? Focus on your environment and your body.

Breathing: Notice your breathing and make a conscious choice to slow it down. Breathe deeply and slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth.  

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Work through the muscles in your body by tensing and releasing each one individually. Starting at your toes, and then work your way up your body to your head.  

Opposite Actions: Do something completely different to what you are currently doing (e.g. listen to calming music or music you love, take a walk, talk to a friend, enjoy the sunshine).  

Safe Place Imagery: Visualise a place where you can go in your mind to feel safe and secure. Allow your body to relax there and enjoy the mental surroundings.  

Calming Self-talk: Talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend. Understand that the moment of panic will pass.  

Exercise: Releasing cortisol is the best way to absorb stress hormones into the body.

If you would like some support to manage stress or anxiety concerns, please contact us to book in a session with one of our psychologists.

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