Welcome to this post on 5 top tips for anxiety. The number of people who are affected by anxiety has risen as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. This feature introduces some of the key statistics, describes what anxiety is and presents 5 good ways to help deal with it.
Anxiety and Covid
During the pandemic many people suffered with mental health problems. Reports by the UK government show that several studies revealed deterioration in mental wellbeing during the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics also shows that one in six adults experienced some form of depression in summer 2021 compared with one in ten before the pandemic. Younger adults, women, disabled adults, unemployed adults, those who could not afford an unexpected expense of £850 and adults living in the most deprived areas of England were more likely to experience some form of depression.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, it can be described as nervousness or fear. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It can be mild or severe and cause both physical and psychological symptoms. Milder anxiety can cause people to feel uncomfortable or tense, with elevated heart beat or sweaty palms. Severe anxiety can cause feelings of nausea, tightness in the chest, difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
Anxiety is the main symptom of several mental health conditions. This includes panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Those with painful chronic health conditions are at greater risk of developing anxiety disorders.
5 top tips for anxiety
People find different things can help them to cope with anxiety. Your health practitioner may suggest psychological therapy (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy) or medication (e.g. antidepressants). There are also several tried and tested self-help methods. Here we present our top five.
One way to help yourself through anxiety is to address your worries. Identifying what is causing anxiety is the first step. Then exploring and challenging your beliefs associated with that anxiety. This article clearly explains how the process works and why it helps. You can either speak to someone you trust or use a diary to help you deal with your worries.
By saying aloud or writing down your worries, you help to make them clearer for yourself. This can make it easier to break them down and address each component.
Breathing allows essential oxygen to enter the body and toxic carbon dioxide to leave. If you’re stressed, you might not be breathing optimally and this affects how well the two gases are exchanged. Poor breathing can actually contribute to anxiety, stress, fatigue and emotional upset. Whereas, optimal breathing can help you feel calmer and better both physically and emotionally.
There are a variety of breathing exercises you can do. This one from the NHS is very simple. The exercises are most beneficial when you do them a few times a day every day. We also have a 30 second guided breathing exercise on our Instagram, for the greatest benefit repeat 6 times to build up to a few minutes:
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There are some herbs which have been shown to help anxiety. For example, studies prove that chamomile can help with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Many of the studies on herbal supplements for anxiety are limited, however, their results are promising. Here a 3 formulations which I personally use.
The Bee calm supplement from Unbeelievable Health is a multi therapeutic formula which contains 8 active ingredients to help you stay calm. These include: lemon balm, passion flower, magnesium, royal jelly, rhodiola, lions mane mushroom and vitamin B5. These ingredients are not usually found in a regular diet or multivitamin so they make a difference from the first dose and their effects build up over time. You can take them alongside the Bee Rested supplement (see here for our review).
You can also take herbal remedies as a tea, for example HOTTEA MAMA‘s Night Owl blend. It contains a blend of herbs, some of which have proven calming effects. The full list is: whole chamomile flowers, lavender, valerian root, lime flowers, rooibos and corn flowers. It’s 100% caffeine free and ideal before bedtime or whenever you need to relax and unwind. It’s also really tasty to boot!
An additional way to enjoy herbal benefits is through aromatherapy. NEOM make different sizes of oil diffusers (“wellbeing pods”)and a range of essential oils to use with them. Their Moment of Calm oil contains rose and neroli to help lift mood and promote feelings of inner peace and relaxation.
Taking time for self care and doing something you find relaxing can also help with anxiety management. Popular choices are indulgent baths, massage, reflexology, meditation and other alternative therapies. You can do anything though that helps you unwind and reach an inner equilibrium.
Spending time doing something relaxing not only eases anxiety in the moment, but can help you to sleep better which in turn helps you to manage your anxiety. Making time to do something relaxing as part of your daily or weekly routine can be a great way to give yourself a regular boost.
A lot of advice for dealing with anxiety recommends eating well, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and smoking, and doing exercise. Whilst exercise has lots of health benefits, including the production of endorphins which can alleviate anxiety, not every one can participate. Those with severely energy limiting chronic illness who are house or bed bound aren’t able to do much exercise. For those who can manage it, gentle exercise such as seated tai chi or bed yoga might be helpful.
If you can’t exercise at all, you might find a hobby or activity you can do. The more immersive or absorbing you find it, the more it will take your mind off your worries and give you a break from anxiety. It also gives a sense of accomplishment which in turn boosts self-esteem.
Your top tips for anxiety
Have you suffered from anxiety? Do you have any tips for dealing with anxiety which you’ve found helpful? Let us know in the comments below.