What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is something that everyone experiences to varying degrees. Many people think that anxiety is just panic attacks and a sick feeling in your stomach, which it is, but it can also be so much more than that:
- It can be the perfectionist tendencies
- It can be your procrastination
- It can be the thoughts that everyone is staring at you and judging you
- It’s the hot and cold flushes
- It’s the fear that you’ll say something wrong and look stupid.
- Thinking that a potentially bad situation is going to be the end of the world
- It’s feeling tired, weak and having trouble concentrating
- It’s feeling fidgety and restless
- It’s avoiding places and situations that you believe are going to cause you anxiety
Tips to cope with Anxiety
There are many effective ways to cope with feelings of anxiety:
- First cab off the rank is the classic, and always in fashion, deep breathing.
- Taking some slow and long deep breaths can help regulate your system, and decrease the feelings of anxiety.
If you struggle to take some slow, deep breaths, maybe try the 4-7-8 technique.
What is the 4-7-8 technique?
The 4-7-8 breathing technique (touted by integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD) is thought to help reduce nervousness and stress, calm anxiety, and help people drift off to sleep more quickly.
It can actually change the speed at which your heart beats and promote the effective pumping of blood to various organs and muscles. Here’s how (and why) to do it.
- Breath in for four seconds through your nose
- Hold this breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale completely for 8 seconds through your mouth.
This forces the brain to focus on regulating your breathing, rather than your anxious thoughts and feelings.
Talk to yourself (no, seriously, have a chat with yourself).
Often time we let our anxious thoughts go unchecked, they just wash over you without you putting up a fight. When you have a negative or anxious thought, ask yourself: how likely is this to happen?
Lastly, try some grounding techniques. Grounding or mindful techniques help you stay present, focused on what is around you, and out of your head.
- Ask yourself, what are:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can hear
- 3 things you can touch
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
- If you’re around people, ask yourself questions about them, such as:
- What is their favourite movie, food, celebrity
- What is their superpower
- What do they do for a living
Also having tangible things to help ground you can also be really helpful, such as a stress ball. Keep your mind focused on what the stress ball feels like in your hand, and how your fingers tense when squashing it and how they relax when you let the stress ball go.
If you’re feeling like your anxiety is becoming overwhelming and it is difficult to cope, please reach out to your GP, organise to see a Psychologist or give a call to the many great support lines that are out there:
Beyond Blue: 1300-222 4636
Lifeline: 13 11 14