Ever felt anxious? Do you feel anxious all the time? Does a single negative comment from someone else or a personal mistake trigger those uncomfortable feelings? Does the increased blood pressure, shaking, short breathe and panicked mind feel familiar?
Anxiety, like many other mental health issues, is underplayed. It's the elephant in the room! The thing that can't be verbalised,the thing that won't be acknowledged and, as a result, the thing that continues to be hidden.
A recent YouGov survey in 2014 of 2,300 adults in Britain revealed that:
- People are believed to be more anxious now than they were five years ago.
- Almost one in five people feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time.
- One-fifth of people who have experienced anxiety do nothing to cope with it.
- A third of the students in the survey said they cope by ‘hiding themselves away from the world’.
So, why is anxiety still so hidden and what can we do ourselves to make anxiety easier to work with? The above statistics suggest that we prefer not to reveal we are suffering with anxiety, so perhaps we would feel more empowered if we knew how to deal with it ourselves?
Here are a few techniques I have used with clients that have proved helpful and healing:
Talk to someone you trust
Get things off your chest, opening up and releasing inner fears, worries and inner pressures can bring things into context and allow you to take a different perspective.
Connect with your physical body
Get out of your head and into your body. When suffering with high levels of anxiety we say that you are coming from a very high energy place and you need to ground yourself. There is no better way to do this than jumping on the treadmill, getting in the yoga studio or taking a walk in your favourite woods
Obvious, right? Well, maybe, but how much are you really breathing? The breath that goes hand in hand with anxiety tends to be short, restricted and fast. Try this, try a full yogic breath that expands your lungs and allows your breath to release tension and in turn release stress.
Try alternative therapies
Anxiety struggles to stick around with the natural release of endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good hormones, they inhibit the experience of emotional and physical distress, including anxiety and pain, and promotes a sense of calm, comfort, well-being, and pleasure. Endorphins are released when we exercise, laugh, connect with others, listen to music and even when we eat dark chocolate! There is also a strong release of endorphins during massage, especially aromatherapy as many essential oils also encourage the release of these happy hormones.
Know you are not alone
As mentioned in the statistics above, anxiety is still not widely spoken about but does effect a huge amount of us. Suffering with anxiety can often feel isolating, but know that most people have felt it at some point in their lives.
Life can throw up many challenges and anxiety may or may not be something that affects you right now. However, opening your mind to this common yet hidden emotion could allow for some personal healing or perhaps even open a channel for someone else to confide in you and ask for help.
With love and understanding,