These stressful and unprecedented times has led many of us to experience heightened levels of anxiety, and for some of us.
Anxiety can be triggered at unexpected times such as stepping out for the first time during the pandemic or being asked to return to work and commuting on public transport. It can feel overwhelming, stopping us in our tracks and creating other issues in our lives such as disrupted sleep, irritability and lack of concentration.
Learning to manage anxiety, and doing it naturally and drug-free, is a powerful life skill to help us navigate uncertain and challenging times. We encourage you to try some of these strategies out.
This is a term often used in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to refer to a pattern that involves breaking a trigger, habitual thought or behavioral pattern, so as to interrupt it and minimize the resistance related to it. This can be done by removing yourself from the situation or distracting yourself with an alternative activity to stop the anxiety. For example, if you find yourself working long hours on a presentation and find yourself getting overwhelmed, give yourself a break and step away. Go for a walk, watch a quick comedy, play with your dog – basically, anything that will interrupt the pattern of anxiety and overwhelm.
Is this real?
When you catch yourself overthinking a situation and feeling anxious, stop and take note of your thoughts. Ask yourself: “What am I thinking?” and “Is this Real?”.
When we’re feeling anxious, our thoughts are often ruminating, catastrophising, over-dramatising the situation and not necessarily based on truth. For example, if you’re feeling anxious about making ends meet, and find yourself worrying you could lose your job, stop and take note of your thoughts. Chances are that you may be exaggerating the negatives and overplaying the drama. Asking yourself “Is this Real?” allows you to stop and take note of where you may be over-dramatising the situation.
Stretch & Move your body
We all know that exercise and moving our body releases feel good endorphins. When you are feeling anxious give yourself 5 minutes to stretch the tension out of your body. Stretching helps to improve blood flow and oxygen to your cells. This can help you feel more revitalised and relaxed.
When feeling anxious, a little bit of self-care can go a long way and taking yourself off the radar for a short time may be helpful. Cocoon yourself under the doona, take a hot aromatherapy bath, book in for a massage… all of these actions can help to calm the body and, in turn, ease the mind.
Nature has provided us with all that we need by way of herbs, medicinal plants and therapeutic Bach Flowers. Herbs such as Chamomile and St Johns Wort have been recognised for centuries for their sedative and calmative properties. Rescue Remedy is a blend of five Bach Flower Remedies that were created to help individuals who find themselves dealing with traumatic or stressful situations, without dulling the senses.
When feeling anxious, we may reach out for stimulants that give us momentary lift out of the anxious situation. Stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine increase adrenaline and overstimulate the nervous system. Instead, fuel your body with nourishing alternatives such as nutrient-dense bone broth, herbal teas and soups.
Talk to a Friend
If you feel yourself falling into a state of anxiety, reach out to a friend who understands. A problem shared is a problem halved rings true when you have the opportunity to communicate with someone who cares. This gives you the chance to unburden yourself of your anxiety, to allow someone else to support you and to offer some measure of reassurance.