The UK is considered to be one of the most anxious nations on earth. Here, we are going to explore exactly what anxiety is and how we can better manage the symptoms.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the fear of something bad happening. We are never anxious about anything happening in the moment, it’s always the prospect of something happening.
We all experience anxiety at times as it is a natural human response to when we perceive that we are under threat. We also all experience anxiety in different ways – stomach upset, heightened awareness of what is going on, a feeling of dread – are all possible symptoms.
What’s actually happening when we feel anxious?
As mentioned, anxiety is a natural human response to when we perceive we are under threat. Biologically your ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered, and your system is flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol. This means you have a heightened sense of awareness to be prepared for potential threats. Unfortunately when we start to feel excessive anxiety, or we live in a constant state of anxiety, things can start to go wrong. So this is why it is important to introduce behaviours to help you better manage your anxiety.
What can you do about anxiety?
Anxiety is a complex matter. It is however important to remember it is natural human response. Your goal shouldn’t be to try and stop anxiety all together. Instead your goal should be to learn to introduce some mechanisms to help you better handle it.
- Breathe – It sounds too easy, but just some simple paced breathing is a great way to put your body into a more relaxed state. Breathe in for 4 seconds and then out for 6. Count in your head, and focus on your counting and the sensation of your breathing. Repeat as long as it takes to feel more relaxed.
- Visualisation – Imagine you are in the most relaxing environment you can possibly think of. Wherever you think you would be most relaxed, stop and really put yourself there. Paint a picture strong enough that your brain can work on those details.
- Exercise – Exercise has a neurological benefit. The endorphins released in our brains during exercise can help curb anxiety. Make sure you make an effort to at least go on a brisk walk each day.
If you suffer from persistent anxiety or anxiety disorders then you may want to talk to a medical or mental health professional about ways you can cope.