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23 November 2015

When Anxiety Strikes!

23 November 2015
Anxiety comes in many different forms, and it's difficult to know which category you fall under.... or even whether you have anxiety at all. Often, people just feel out of control of their emotions, and don't always understand why certain things are happening to them. Others may think you're being overdramatic or even crazy, which can be hard to deal with, particularly if you don't even understand your mental state for yourself; but fear not, if you feel as though things are out of control, or you don't understand/can't cope with the way you get, then go and see your GP as they'll be able to help you and hopefully pinpoint the source of your problems.

I did just that, and to be honest, it's changed my life.

If you want to know the ins and outs of my life with general anxiety disorder (GAD), then I wrote a post about it a while back which you can check out here

According to MIND (mental health charity), "Because anxiety is a normal human experience, it's sometimes hard to know when it's becoming a problem for you – but if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, it can be overwhelming."

As I said at the beginning of this post, it is difficult to know when you're not just being 'overdramatic' or 'hormonal', and when anxiety has actually become a real issue in your life. In general, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such a nausea, headaches, panic attacks and pounding heart beat, and psychological symptoms including a feeling of dread, feeling numb or restless and not being able to concentrate. 

For me, there are several ways I've learnt to deal with the symptoms I get when my anxiety is at a high point, and these methods have been developed over several years throughout counselling sessions, and learning from experience. Please note that there is no 'quick fix' or 'cure' for anxiety. It can be difficult to cope with and to learn to live with it on a daily basis. It's only through experience that you can learn how to deal with your personal symptoms and what to do when anxiety strikes.

So what do I do?

1. Find a quite space (this usually works the best), put a song I love on my iPhone and use my earphones, or if I'm in a busy environment and can't go anywhere else I close my eye.

2. Concentrate on my breathing. I find that counting as I breath and taking long deep breaths (generally breathing in for 7 seconds through my nose and out for 10 seconds through my mouth) really helps to distract my attention, and almost feels as though you're blowing the worries away with a big breath out. Also I find that using breathing techniques helps to relax my chest, and relieves any feelings of sickness I may be having.

3. Take off my jacket or jumper to make sure I'm at a cool and regulated temperature. Often when my anxiety strikes I get extremely hot, nauseous and feel as though I'm going to be sick, so making sure my body is a cool and consistent temperature really helps to relieve these symptoms.

4. Suck on a sweet. As with the breathing, I find that this also helps to divert my attention on to something else... and obviously it tastes great too!

5. Sip on some water. Of course, everyone knows how great water is for your mind and body anyway, but I find it even more vital when I'm having a moment of anxiety. 

6. Although this isn't something I do at a high point of anxiety, or during a panic attack, I find that exercising is amazing at releasing stress and tension, and is great at helping with your general mindset and mental health. 

Although these methods help me in dealing with my anxiety, everyone is different and these things may not work for you. 

Remember, if you feel unable to cope, or are struggling in anyway, then don't hesitate to contact MIND - a mental health charity who raise awareness of, and support anyone who is suffering with a mental illness.  

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