Learning anxiety self help techniques is part of your recovery process.
Using anxiety self help strategies is something positive you can do which distracts from the anxiety.
In turn, this will show how you are able to take control over anxiety as opposed to anxiety controlling you and your life. It is important though to recognise that not all techniques will work with everyone. We all have different styles of learning to control our anxiety.
Some people ask others for advice or support or attend sessions with a professional counsellor to deal with their unhappiness depression, anxiety or stress. Whereas others try to make sense of their anxiety on their own by learning anxiety self help techniques or self-hypnosis to ease anxiety and stress responses. Any self help tips to reduce your anxiety can be helpful as you can learn at your own pace how to feel more relaxed mentally and physically.
Any self help tips to reduce your anxiety can be helpful as you can learn at your own pace how to feel more relaxed mentally and physically. Find out more about each anxiety self help strategy on the following links:
Body Scan Relaxation
Practice guided imagery, meditations or visualisations
Practice physical body exercises
Practice subtle body exercises
Make a self soothing kit
Longer term self help strategies for anxiety
Abdominal breathing is a very quick and effective anxiety self help strategy that gives very quick stress and anxiety relief and increases your own control immediately. Regular deep abdominal breathing can make breathing slow and deep which lengthens brain waves resulting in relaxed and calm feelings.
Abdominal breathing also has many advantages over chest breathing during crises situations such as firstly, to control negative emotions or thoughts and secondly, to act as distraction technique. Thirdly, chest breathers, not only use a lot of effort by moving their shoulders upwards to get air into their lungs, but as they take shorter and shallower breaths it means they have to take more breaths per minute which in turn can increase anxiety and tension because it shortens the brainwave pattern. Before you can learn the coping strategy of controlled breathing you must know how you breathe normally.
The idea is to practice this technique several times a day until you can do it automatically in order to prepare to use it during a crisis.
Also, keep record of:
Listening to a body scan relaxation gives direct attention to particular areas in the body. Alternate awareness of tension and relaxing bridges the mind-body gap to feel united in complete self-awareness. We often live in our minds when for example holding our breath or holding a posture like sitting or twisting our necks for lengthy times creating discomfort and stress. Tension and stress are creeping into your muscles throughout the day and night without your awareness until either:
Visualisation, mindfulness meditation and mental imagery are powerful practices as these can change stressful and anxious thoughts and their consequential negative images in our minds. Negative images and thoughts manage and control emotional and behavioural responses. By visualising a relaxing scene you can change the way you think about yourselves, others and the world around you which in turn can change your actual life participations such as relationships with ourselves, others, our emotions and behaviour by becoming relaxed.
Feel like you need to take a break from your worries and stresses? This deeply relaxing 15 minute guided imagery practice will transport you mentally to an Island in the Sun.
Physical exercise that increases the heart rate is beneficial for clients complaining of low mood, anxiety and upsetting cognitions. The science behind it is that, after, at least 30 minutes exercise, the body releases its own natural “feel good” and anti-depressant hormone Serotonin which helps to maintain positive and stable moods.
Feeling stressed right now? Getting out into nature and going for a walk will reduce adrenalin levels leaving most people more relaxed and calm. If the weather is bad why not try learning how to do subtle body exercises (described below) that you can do in a very small space in your front room or even corridor.
Subtle body exercises like Yoga and Martial Arts (including Tai Chi, Aikido and Kung Fu) use deeper resources of “internal energy”, breathing techniques, strength, health, vitality and endurance to balance bodily functions. Their aim is for freedom from physical distress and perceived limitations and to connect with the Universal Energy Field and all living beings. These exercises could also affect your psychology deeply with potential to break down old psycho-physiological patterns and stimulate spiritual practice. Subtle body exercises highlight fluidity, meditation, suspension of posture and concentration of specific slow movement. They could empower and open your mind with clarity and insight as well as stimulating inner harmony and well-being of the body and mind simultaneously.
Another useful anxiety self help techique to take control over your anxiety is to self-soothe. When we are distressed and anxious it becomes more challenging to think rationally in order to make decisions on how to help ourselves. This could lead to self-destructing or self-sabotaging behaviour. It is for times like those that a personalised self-soothing kit is a useful and healthy coping strategy.
Gather together things that boosts positive memories or make you feel good and are meaningful, inspirational, calming, soothing, motivating, empowering, positive, making you feel confident and composed to be carried in your kit. Some items might have sadness linked to an event or loved one and YOU will have to make a decision if it is appropriate to include such item in your soothing kit.
A small Self Soothe Kit could be kept in your purse, handbag, backpack or glove compartment in your vehicle. Alternatively, it could be a larger box you keep at home or a few objects placed around your house or stashed in your car or kept on your work desk. Or it could be a recording or photo on your phone or music or a recorded message on your iPod, mp3 player. You can even decorate your kit any way you want to.
What anxiety self help strategies have you found useful?