May 18, 2024

How To Calm Anxiety

Learning how to calm anxiety is more important than ever, whether it’s for your own mental health or to support those around you who might be struggling.

According to world health data, it’s thought that over 248 million people struggle with GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) around the world, and many more will go undiagnosed or suffer to a lesser extent, meaning that it’s likely you, or someone you know, deals with the symptoms of anxiety.

Though suffering from anxiety is hard, and managing it sometimes even harder, it’s important to know that you don’t need to be stuck with this issue, and although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, trying some of the techniques below could have a big impact on your anxiety levels.

But before we get there, we wanted to answer a few of the burning questions many of you have about the mental health disorder and how to calm anxiety when it rears its head.

What triggers anxiety?

There are all sorts of reasons why someone might experience anxiety, from difficult experiences in childhood to a scary incidents when you’re an adult. Perhaps you had a health scare, found yourself in a situation where you felt in distress or unsafe, or felt as though you’d had a drugs overdose at a festival in your adolescence.

Anxiety can also be caused by a stressful lifestyle, especially if you don’t make time to rest and recuperate, or environmental factors outside of our control.

What can anxiety feel like?

Anxiety can manifest as physical and mental unrest. Mental symptoms include feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax, having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst, feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down and feeling paranoid. Physical ways anxiety can show up include a racing heart, clammy hands, a feeling of nausea, the feeling that you’re struggling to breathe, shaking and a dry mouth and/or throat.

What is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety?

The 3-3-3 anxiety rule is an easy formula to remember to help you ground yourself if you are feeling anxious or as though you are going to have a panic attack. Much of anxiety is caused by panic about the past or future and so rooting yourself in the present is a simple but effective way or harnessing your thoughts and focusing on something other than what is physically happening in your body.

All you need to do is look around name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm.

Get moving

Yes, we all know that exercise is important. But did you know that the NHS reckon that if exercise was a drug, it would be one of the most cost effective ever made?

Lena Dunham recently shared on social media about her struggles with anxiety and the positive impact exercise had made on her mental wellbeing. Not only does exercise help us to produce mood boosting hormones, but it helps to burn off excess adrenaline, distracts us and helps us to get out of our heads. Another great reason to lace up and get moving.

Tune into your feelings

When we’re anxious it can feel as if we’re all up in our heads. Our minds are a mass of overthinking, «what if’s? » and negative thoughts. Any physical sensations that go along with the anxiety, such as a racing heart or a nervous feeling in the belly, will often increase the anxious thoughts. This is because evidence shows us that often we’ll use thinking to escape our feelings; leading to an overactive mind and making us feel even worse.

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