Monday, 8 June 2015

Dealing with Anxiety | My Top Tips

Anxiety isn't easy. Actually, it is anything but easy. It can be overwhelming, unexpected and challenging to deal with. I'm not just talking about the butterflies you get before an exam or first date nerves. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the UK. In recent years I have noticed more and more people speak about it openly, and being a sufferer of anxiety myself, I know how helpful it can be reading about how others deal with their experiences. It has taken me years understand my anxiety and accept it. Not everyone is the same and different techniques work better for some than others. These are tips that have been given to me over the years or I have tried and tested myself. 

Limit worries 
Learn to stop worrying about the things you have zero control over. These worries are an unnecessary burden to add to your anxiety. This isn't always easy, I'm a natural worrier myself, but it does help a lot. In my past, dealing with family illnesses was the hardest because as much as I wanted to take control there was absolutely nothing I could do but support family members and tell myself what will be will be. Even now that saying makes me shiver but unfortunately it is very true.

Defeat the fear of the unknown
"Yes". Saying this word can be scary. It can be so easy to stay in bed, skip lectures, miss social gatherings or amazing opportunities that come your way. Why is this? Because it can be scary trying something new, the unknown. However, wipe away those negative thoughts. Immediately. Now think to yourself how amazing it could be. How every tiny experience can shape you as a person and ultimately push you into new directions. I find the more I do something, the less scary it becomes. If you have a bad experience, remember you are allowed to have those. Avoid what causes unbearable anxiety and start with the smaller challenges. Work your way up and defeat them one at a time. All you need is the initial push and the only one who can do that is you.

Bye bye baddies
Caffeine, sugar and alcohol can intensify the feeling of anxiety. Instead of cutting them out of your diet, try to reduce your consumption of these during anxious periods. Caffeine is good during exams for those early morning study sessions but not to the extent you are a full blown trembling wreck. Keeping sugar levels steady is important. Massive fluctuations can put me on a bit of a roller-coaster ride. 4pm slump anyone? No thanks. Lastly, alcohol. Hahaha, this little culprit. Sometimes alcohol can actually help with my anxiety and takes the edge off social situations. Though, it really is Russian roulette, and can occasionally heighten any underlying feelings of anxiety. My main tip is to be careful and aware of how these can affect you when you are anxious and limit them when you can. 

Get some zzz's 
Sleep really does help me have a clear mind. If I'm tired I struggle with motivation a lot, which then leads to heightened anxiety as I feel I'm not working to the best of my ability. Also getting into a routine, especially over exams or a stressful period, can help with getting quality sleep.

Walk, Run, Whatever gets you moving 
Yes the dreaded exercise tip. For those of you who do not go to the gym, don't worry. Even a walk on a nice day, going for a swim can boost your mood or some super easy yoga. It really is true what they say, exercise makes you feel better mentally and can boost confidence as well.

Self help books
Usually hard to find, but a good self help book can come in handy. This is more for day to day anxiety and keeping a good mindset. My recent favourite is Flip It. It has allowed me to think of situations when I normally get anxious and open my mind up to alternative thought tracks. A very worthy purchase.

Sometimes anxiety can be very unexpected so applying these tips in moments like this can be a challenge. Training yourself to gradually become more aware of your mood slipping into an anxious state is the first step to controlling it. I am continuously learning about what triggers my anxiety attacks and what methods are best for coping with them. I have come to realise that anxiety doesn't just disappear, it only gets easier to deal with. This happens over time and it is a learning journey. Don't let it defeat you and stay strong!

Do you have any tips?


  1. This post is so useful. I've recently had some strange new experiences with anxiety. It's been all so new to me, but this has been really helpful, thank you so much for sharing! x

    ellie etc | a fashion & lifestyle blog

    1. I'm so happy you found this useful! This is one of the reasons I started this blog to share my experiences and hopefully help others :)