About three years ago now, I developed severe anxiety due to a traumatic experience in hospital. To this day, I still suffer with anxiety, but through retraining my thoughts, I don’t suffer anywhere near as badly as I did. My anxiety attacks these days are completely manageable and panic attacks are super rare as I am able to identify the symptoms and can quash them before they start to take hold. Here are my top tips on how I have dealt with my anxiety:
This may sound like an obvious one, but when we are anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and can bring on a panic attack. When I start to feel a little nervous or negative thoughts enter my head, I take a deep breath hold for 2 seconds and exhale slowly. I do this twice.
When you take the breath in, you should feel it from the bottom of your stomach right up to the top of your chest until you can’t inhale any more, the same for when you exhale, push out all the air from your lungs.
Get some fresh air
When I was suffering badly with anxiety, I got to the point where I became agoraphobic. The more I stayed in, the more I didn’t want to leave the house. It wasn’t until I realised that I was affecting my little boy by doing this that I got dressed, put my boots on and we drove up to Reigate Hill. Me and my little boy walked around Gatton Park and had one of the loveliest, most memorable times to date. After that, I promised myself I would get out and get some fresh air at least once a day, even if it was only a quick 20 minutes. It really helped my anxiety and I felt so much better in myself.
Have some ‘you’ time
Again, this may seem obvious… But how often do you take an hour out of your busy day to just be? When I was told to try this, the first thing I thought was, “I do have me time”, but then I failed to think of ONE time in a week I take for myself.
I started making the hour (or two), after school drop off, my ‘me’ time. I would make myself a cuppa and some breakfast, pop Netflix on and watch something I liked. Sometimes, I would run a bath and relax in peace, which at any other time is impossible! Invest in some lovely bath bombs and candles and make that me time special! You’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards!
Write it down/ talk to someone
Getting it all out works a treat for me. It’s why I have this blog and since having an outlet to voice my thoughts and opinions, I’ve felt much better in myself. For some people, they may find it easier to pick up the phone and off load to a friend of family member. I do this also. My husband and dad are my verbal outlets, but they give the best advice and manage to keep me calm and grounded. They help me rationalise my thoughts and feelings… Which brings me on nicely to my final tip.
Challenge your thoughts
Those of you with anxiety or depression will know that the number of irrational thoughts that one has in a day can be alarming! It’s hard to shift some of these thoughts, but it can be done. The best way to do this is to think about the thought logically. For me, I suffered with health anxiety for a long time and the slightest twinge would really wind me up until I was almost passing out from a panic attack. By asking yourself logical questions and coming to a realistic conclusion, you will feel less anxious and more in control. In some situations it helps if someone close knows this process to help you though more difficult times. This is something that can take time, but once you have mastered it, those unhealthy, negative and anxious thoughts will not feel anywhere near as bad as they were originally. For a detailed explanation on how to do this, I found this article from Outreach.com very insightful.
As a follow up to this, later in the week I will be posting about 5 ways to relax, but I need to research this one in more depth as I’m still very full on most days. The joys of being a Mum! 😉