Many people struggle with feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. While there is nothing that can replace the support of a qualified therapist, these are 5 strategies that I use to help manage anxiety naturally.
Despite there still being a huge stigma surrounding mental health and anxiety, I feel like this year it’s becoming much more acceptable to talk about, with more open conversations around the topic.
It’s a topic I have wanted to write about for a long time. So today I’m being a bit vulnerable sharing some of my story to hopefully help others who struggle with anxiety know they aren’t alone and can overcome and work through it.
Anxiety can happen to anyone at any time
A few years ago anxiety was not something that I personally struggled with. As a fiercely independent and confident woman, I thought it was something that other people had, not me.
Then three years ago I went through a situation that shook me, and everything I knew to the core.
I started having panic attacks, without warning, on a regular basis.
I couldn’t breath. I was hyperventilating. I couldn’t stop crying.
I felt trapped on an uncontrollable emotional roller coaster that would catapult me from being perfectly fine to a state of complete despair in seconds, without warning.
Don’t do it alone – Get support
Previously I would have tried to do it alone, but in this situation I had hit rock bottom and I just couldn’t.
Luckily, I had a really supportive community around me, friends who had been through similar situations who could guide me, hold me up, let me cry on their shoulders and look after me when I felt vulnerable.
I also started working with a psychologist on a regular basis. I still see her regularly.
As Lyndi Cohen (The Nude Nutritionist) rightly pointed out, seeing a counsellor or a psychologist on a regular basis is a really healthy thing for your mental state.
She says it’s like a check up for your brain to keep it healthy. Just like you would regularly get a check up at the dentist or doctor.
Strategies to manage anxiety naturally
Beyond working with a counsellor or psychologist, these are a few strategies that I use on a regular basis to help manage any arising anxieties.
As wonderful as social media can be, it can also be a source of anxiety for many people. It’s easy to fall into comparison trap that leads into negative spirals.
Take the time regularly to disconnect from the digital world. Leave your phone at home, disconnect from the world or a moment and enjoy the here and now.
When I get stressed, I tend to feel it physically and get really tense in the shoulders, back.. actually pretty much everywhere. My sports physio tells me all the time I’m too stressed!
Doing exercise with friends is an enjoyable way to release that tension and get rid of any negative energy that I may be unknowingly holding on to.
Spend time with friends and family
Everyone is different as to whether spending time with others is energising or draining. Personally for me, being around other people energises me. I need time and space on my own, but too much alone time is not good for me.
I’ve found that having a strong network of friends and family around me who I trust, can confide in, laugh, be silly and have fun with is essential to help manage anxiety.
Fresh air, sunshine (if it’s out) and wide open spaces. There is something about nature that for me at least energises me, calms down any anxieties I have and fills me with excitement and joy again.
Finding joy in difficult situations can seem out of reach sometimes when you are overwhelmed by anxiety, but trust me, it is possible.
Eat nutritious food
The links between food and mood is a whole other blog post in itself. Your mental health can suffer you are surviving off poor quality food and depriving yourself of good quality nutrients.
Look after your mind and body with appetising, nutritious, delicious food that you enjoy.
Get a wide range of colours and nutrients, experiment with different foods and cuisines you’ve not tried before and don’t eat alone. Food enjoyed in the presence of others is always more enjoyable.
Are there any strategies you use to help you manage feelings of anxiety?
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