Managing Anxiety Daily

January of this year marked six years since I was first diagnosed with anxiety. It is a debated topic whether one truly ever overcomes anxiety – I personally believe that I will always have a tendency to an anxious mind – but one can certainly learn how to manage it over time. I have had both counselling and psychological treatment for anxiety so if you would like to read a post about my experiences, let me know, but the best way to manage anxiety long-term is through self-management. Below I have compiled my top five ways to self-manage anxiety on a day-to-day basis.

Reducing Caffeine Intake

Ideally I would probably completely cut caffeine out of my diet but I often find that I get tired easily because of how much energy I use as part of my anxiety and therefore require at least one cup of coffee to make it through the working day. Caffeine works by counteracting the effects of adenosine in the central nervous system, which is a neurotransmitter that depresses neural activity, to help one feel more awake. However, since this is often accompanied by an increase in heart and breathing rate, it can mimic a ‘fight or flight response’ which is common in anxiety and therefore make you feel anxious.

Reducing Alcohol Intake

Alcohol is commonly known as a way of temporarily reducing stress and anxiety. It works by changing the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain which can temporarily make you feel happier. However, it can actually make you feel worse in the long run when the alcohol leaves your system, including feeling significantly more anxious. Therefore, using alcohol to counteract the feelings of anxiety can lead to an alcohol problem as you feel the need to drink more to ensure that you do not experience the alcohol withdrawal associated with increased anxiety.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that involves flexing and relaxing the muscles in your body to help relieve some of the physical stress that can build up in them over a day. Normally performed in sitting with eyes closed, one starts at the feet and works their way up to their head and neck, holding the muscle tension for between 10 and 15 seconds and then releasing. With practice, one becomes more aware of what muscles are particularly tense that day and can work on relaxing them specifically. I have linked a guided progressive muscle relaxation here.

Challenging Unhelpful Thoughts

It is common to get stuck in unhelpful thinking patterns which can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. By being able to identify these unhelpful thoughts, one can challenge or distance themselves from these thoughts and as a result, view the situation in a different light. Common unhelpful thinking patterns include mind reading – thinking that you know what others are thinking, fortune telling – predicting the future and mental filter – only paying attention to evidence that matches your unhelpful thought.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is described as knowing what is going on both inside and outside your body and being present in the moment. It is easy to get caught up in the past or the future but this exercise focuses on the being in the present and becoming more aware of stream of thoughts and feelings. One way to do this is through the Headspace app but there are also guided mindfulness videos on YouTube.

Hopefully these tips are useful for at least one of you. Please feel free to comment any further tips you have for anxiety as I would love to know what has and has not worked for you.

32 comments

  1. I’m totally in agreement that i’ll always have some level of anxiety but with management it doesn’t have to restrict us! I definitely need to try mindfulness but I’ve never been sure how to get into it x

    Liked by 1 person

    • It depends how I’m feeling as to how well mindfulness works for me. If I’m super anxious I find it hard to sit still and I need to go for a walk but if it’s okay, I find I can sit down and do mindfulness. x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to this post so much! I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was about 7 or 8, although it was a lot worse when I was younger it is still something I deal with daily. I definitely find alcohol makes mine worse, usually the day after I’ll wake up feeling super anxious. I find concentrating on my breathing works really well for me and also trying to redirect my thoughts. Great post and I always appreciate anyone speaking out about anxiety as it’s comforting to know you aren’t alone with it! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that – I don’t believe anyone should have to suffer from anxiety as it is a horrible feeling at times. I’m glad to hear you are able to manage it on a daily basis. I think we should all talk about it more – it was only through someone else talking about their anxiety that I went to the Doctors to get a diagnosis. I just thought it was normal to feel anxious on a daily basis! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, the more people talk about it the easier it is for others to acknowledge it and feel comfortable to seek help. I think because I was so young I’ve always been able to talk about it with my parents as they initially took me to get help for it but I still don’t discuss it with that many people and I think a lot of people would be surprised to know I suffer with it xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it’s hard for people to understand as well because it is such an internal thing. I think I’m ‘lucky’ in the respect that my anxiety does externalise itself into physical symptoms so people can tell I’m actually anxious and not just faking it to be cute. I normally mention it in passing but try not to make a big deal out of it. xx

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so so proud of you for uploading this and speaking out about your anxiety. All of these tips are so important, especially the alcohol one. I am constantly drinking way too much and seriously need to stop. Thank you for uploading this lovely xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It’s hard because I feel less anxious with alcohol but I know if I have one drink, it will never just be one drink. Maybe one day I will be able to consume alcohol in moderation xx

      Like

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been suffering from anxiety for about two years now and I feel like I’m slowly improving. Besides the tips that you shared I recommend a workbook that I’m recently working on. It’s called ‘How to be happy (or at least less sad)’. It’s awesome and can help you a lot with finding ways to overcome your negative thoughts. Maybe it can help someone else here as well xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a helpful post! 🙂 I’m not diagnosed with anxiety per se, but I believe everyone suffers with some amount of anxiety so these tips will apply to everyone. For me, I’ve had the odd few times where my anxiety has been really bad and uncontrollable and now when I look back, I think it’s really about leading a balanced and sustainable lifestyle for you. I find that it helps a lot as well if you write/blog (haha good for us!) and reflect on positive thoughts and vibes only.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree that everyone suffers from anxiety – we all have something that makes us anxious from exams or doctor’s appointments, just for some people this occurs on a more regular basis. I find positive mantras really helpful too. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing- the “fortune telling” to meet your thoughts is such a common occurrence, I appreciate you putting it out there!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.