5 Things To Do To Get Anxiety Under Control
We all have times when we lose our mojo. Sometimes it goes further than that though. Here are 5 things you can do to get anxiety under control
According to Mind a mental health crisis is
“when you feel your mental health is at breaking point. For example, you might be experiencing:
- suicidal feelings or self-harming behaviour
- extreme anxiety or panic attacks
- psychotic episodes (such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or hearing voices)
- hypomania or mania
- other behaviour that feels out of control, and is likely to endanger yourself or others”
I do not claim to be an expert in mental health issues but I’ve certainly experienced them.
Clearly, there is a big difference between anxiety (even when extreme) and suicidal feelings. For me, part of the problem was that I didn’t ask for help or take action to address the problem when it first became evident and therefore more manageable.
The signs were there but I ignored them. Partly because I didn’t see myself as someone who struggled with mental health but also because I didn’t have the time to do those things that t I naively thought of as indulgent self-care.
If you are experiencing any sort of mental health issue please speak to a medical professional. Only you know if you need immediate help or whether you can wait until you can visit a Doctor.
If you decide that making a Doctors appointment is most appropriate or are already under the care of a Doctor try one or preferably all of the following 5 ideas to help get anxiety under control.
1 | Have a bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil
In 2002 a university study found that bathing improves mood and optimism due to a combination of comfort, warmth, isolation and body position (lying horizontally helps us relax) The hot water is also fantastic to soothe aching muscles which come from feeling tense.
Lavender oil will help reduce anxiety and stress and it smells great too!
Epsom salts are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Magnesium in the Epsom salts will help to reduce stress by reducing adrenaline in the body. They also help with a migraine and aching muscles. Those benefits are just the tip of the iceberg… seriously you need to have Epsom salts in your bathroom!
If you really don’t have time for a bath just put the plug in the plug hole next time you shower and put the Epsom salts and lavender in the bottom of the shower or add both to a bowl and soak your feet at the end of a long day
A hot bath will also help you sleep better which leads me to…
2 | Sleep
A good nights sleep will always reduce stress levels but if you have a particularly stressful experience do not feel guilty about curling up in bed for an hour. Don’t make it a regular habit or it will obviously impact your ability to sleep on a night time.
Let’s say you have a particularly traumatic experience with a toxic family member. You could spend an hour ranting about how much you hate them and how unfair they are or you could pull the covers over your head for an hour and wake up with more energy and a better perspective on the situation. While we are asleep our brain is getting creative with our problems and helping us to see things for what they really are without the raw emotion that we initially had at the time of the incident.
3 | Do some exercise
A great way to get a grip on anxiety is to get the blood pumping.
I started to run a few years ago. I hated it. I’ve done 2 half marathons now and I still hate it. But it makes me feel better when my anxiety levels go up.
If someone had told me to start running a few years ago when my kids were younger I wouldnt have done it. I simply didn’t have the time, energy or inclination even though I knew the benefits. So I’m not going to tell you to start running because there are lots of other ways to get the blood pumping around your body.
- Do jumping jacks in the kitchen
- Go for a brisk walk
- Have a dance around the house
- Find one of the kids old skipping ropes
- Dust of the Nintento wii
- Go on a bike ride
- Dig out a hula hoop
4 | Put a film on which will either make you laugh or cry
Most of us have felt the relief of a good cry. Crying releases stress hormones which reduces tension. Crying for a long time also releases endorphins which give a numbing effect and sense of calm.
My favourite films when I need a good cry:
- Good Will Hunting
- Dirty Dancing
- Marley and Me
- The Notebook
- P.S I Love You
If you’re all cried out, go in the opposite direction and watch something funny.
Laughter increases the ability of blood to flow around the body so it has a similar effect as exercise without the hard work. Just like crying it also reduces stress.
Laughter also acts as a mild anti-depressant by increasing the production of serotonin which is a natural anti-depressant.
Last but not least it’s a great distraction from whatever caused the initial negative emotion.
For inspiration take a look at TimeOuts 100 best comedy movies
5 | Talk to a friend or loved one
I must admit, that as an introvert, I’m really bad at talking about how I feel BUT I know that once I do I feel better. When I’m really resistant to talking to someone I get my thoughts down on paper.
The best solution is to talk to someone THEN get your thoughts down on paper but doing one or the other will help if both seems like a stretch.
Sometimes its just a stream of consciousness and other times when its lots of little things that are getting to me and I feel like I need a plan of action to move forward then I do a mind map. A mind map means I can quickly get everything out of my head but then its much easier to go back and make a list of the smaller individual actions that I can take to tackle the bigger problem.