10 tips to tackle anxiety
Is it just me, or is anxiety the (unwanted) ‘flavour of the month’ at the moment?
Everywhere I go I am hearing people talk about anxiety, how it is affecting them, how it is affecting their kids and how they’re always looking for an answer. Talking to other health professionals, most say that the majority of their clients are coming in with anxiety. That and lack of energy, not surprising given the two can be linked.
So what is anxiety?
“A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”
I am sure we can all relate. It is no doubt that everyone has felt anxious at one time or another. We lead extremely busy lives and this comes with its own set of challenges and stressors.
What happens to your body when you feel anxious?
- Heart rate increases
- Breath quickens and becomes more shallow
- Can get hot and sweaty
- Can feel overwhelmed and confused
- Blurred vision and dizziness
- Increased muscle tension and alertness
The list goes on and symptoms can certainly vary between individuals.
I can go on talking about why you might feel anxious and what is happening in your body but instead, I want to focus on what YOU can do to combat your anxiety and bring yourself back in to balance.
Here are my top 10 tips and tricks to try when you feel anxious:
- My absolute number 1 tip is to hold your forehead. On our forehead we have points called, Emotional Stress Release points or ESR’s. Holding these points encourages blood flow away from the back of our brain (survival part) towards our frontal lobes, which are in charge of concrete reasoning, logic and clear thinking. Hold these points for at least 90 seconds to help calm you down.
- Walk awayfrom the situation or person that is making you feel anxious, even if it’s just temporarily. Politely remove yourself and get some space. Slowly walking in the fresh air can help you feel more centered.
- Breathe. Seriously, breathe, nice slow deep belly breaths. Put your hand on your belly to make sure you’re truly belly breathing. This will ‘trick’ your body into thinking it is in a calm state. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try repeating to yourself, “I am safe” while breathing.
- March.It sounds bizarre but marching forces you to use both sides of your brain, integrating your logic side with your emotional side and creating some kind of balance again. Remember to use opposite arms and opposite legs.
- Brain buttons. With one hand on your belly button, use the other hand to rub the points above and below your lip, then change over hands. This switches our brain on and helps us to get focused.
- Rescue remedy. This is the original Bach flower essence, which is extremely effective for nervousness, anxiety and stress. It can be found at any health store or pharmacy and is easy to keep in your bag at all times.
- Make a list. This seems simple but making a list of all the things you have to do that are making you feel overwhelmed can help bring you a new perspective. It gets all those thoughts out of your head and on to paper so you no longer have to worry about remembering them.
- Say no and let it go. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do, say no to some things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Then let it go, no guilt and no dwelling. Prioritize yourself.
- Reach out for help. Let someone know how you’re feeling. Talking to someone can be really comforting and might just be the support you need.
- Magnesium and calcium. Stress depletes your body of calcium and magnesium. Tissue salts are a wonderful way of restoring these minerals to your body. I recommend trying calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate or potassium phosphate. You can find these at any pharmacy or health store.
Are your children feeling anxious or just not themselves?
Here are a few extra things you can try with them:
- Crosses (X) or figure 8’s on their upper back using your hand
- Firm calf and hamstring massage (especially before bed to help them sleep)
- A nice foot rub using lavender oil
- Have them walk on the grass barefoot
- Teach them to take nice deep belly breaths with you
- Help them think of a ‘safe place’ they can go to when they start to feel anxious
- Eliminate sugar from their diet, this will play havoc with their already stressed nervous system.
- Let them colour in from a colouring book, this can be incredibly therapeutic.
- Give them lots of hugs and squeezes and keep reassuring them that they’re safe
A final note –
Keep in mind your perception of stress. It is important to let your body know that you’re safe and not in danger. We want to reduce the production of our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.