27 July 2020

So many factors can cause worry: work, money, education, health, love. Stress is difficult to avoid and virtually impossible to eliminate, but we can learn how to control it so that we don’t let it take over our lives. Here are some steps to help manage anxiety

2:00 min

1 Face the reality 

It can be really hard to stop worrying when you have anxiety, but sometimes the first step is understanding that stress and anxiety won’t change or improve the current situation you are in –  they will only add to the pressures you are already putting on yourself. 

When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to stop what you are doing and address these worries – perhaps write them down so you can start to recognise what might trigger them.  You could also try breathing exercises which can help you feel more in control and to relax.  You can’t prevent a storm from coming, but you can control how you react to it.

2 Talk to someone you trust

Loneliness and isolation can trigger or worsen anxiety. Talking to your close family or friends can be a therapeutic process to offload your worries or, in some cases, it can help you to solve the problem by receiving some sound guidance. People close to you can help you see the situation more clearly and look at the problem in a different way, or make it seem less overwhelming. You may discover that you’re not alone and many other people share your feelings. If you don’t want to speak to someone you know, there are self-help or support groups.

3 Exercise

When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Exercise is a natural anxiety reliever – if you make your body feel better, your mind will follow.  Physical activity produces endorphins: chemicals that reward us with sense of gratification and happiness. Also, movement and an increased heart rate can decrease muscle tension, a primary indicator of stress and anxiety.  Help your body recover though by making sure you get at least 7 hours sleep every night.

4 Let go of perfectionism

A constant pursuit of perfection may increase your anxiety levels. If you are a perfectionist, you may be more inclined to think about every possible negative outcome for a situation and try to find solutions for it. The problem is that thinking about negative outcomes makes you even more anxious. Becoming aware of these behaviours and thought patterns and understanding that many life events are out of your control may lead to a less anxiety-ridden life.

5 Learn to say no 

A common cause of stress is having too many things to do and too little time to do them. Learning how to say “no” to unnecessary requests will help reduce your level of stress and may also help you to increase your self-confidence.