How can I manage my anxiety?

There are many things you can do to manage your anxiety and how effective they are will be different for each person. Some ideas are below.

There are many things you can do to reduce your anxiety to a more manageable level.

Go and see your Doctor
This can be a good place to start.

Come and join a SPRING Peer Support Group.
Much of what follows is from MIND and is very useful. Taking action may make you feel more anxious at first. Even thinking about anxiety can make it worse. Therefore, a common – and natural – response to anxiety is to avoid what triggers your fear. For example, if you are afraid of spiders, running away every time you see one, is likely to increase your fear. Avoiding an exam because you feel anxious is likely to make you feel worse. Therefore facing up to anxiety, and how it makes you feel, can be the first step in breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity. Often it is not as bad as you fear and all those awful scenarios you have been running in your mind didn’t happen at all.

Take small steps and break fears down into small bits. If you are scared of going to a public place but loved going to the cinema why not arrange to go with someone you trust, to a quiet showing (not a bustling Friday night) and agree you will sit at the back, on an end seat and you can leave when you need to. No matter if you didn’t stay long think about what you were afraid of and did it actually happen? CONGRATULATE yourself on going in the first place. After that try and stay a bit longer each time and gradually build up to watching a whole film. It can get expensive but it’s worth it.

Controlling the symptoms
You may find that your symptoms can be controlled by breathing and relaxation techniques. Books and CDs on the topic are available both online and from bookstores to help you with this – also see Mind’s booklet How to manage stress for some exercises. Several self-help programmes on relaxation are available online, or you could attend a relaxation class.

Assertiveness training

Being assertive means you can stand up for yourself while also respecting other people and their opinions.

Learning how to handle difficult situations and to assert yourself can make you feel more confident and, therefore, more relaxed. Some people find that learning self-defence makes them feel safer. To find out about local classes, ask at your library or look on the interne

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

Some people find that it can also help with anxiety. MBCT is based on Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). This was developed to help people with a range of disorders, including chronic pain, hypertension and heart disease, as well as emotional distress such as anxiety and panic. The treatment is usually done in groups and includes learning how to be more aware and mindful about what you are experiencing. It will teach you techniques for how to deal with your problems, including yoga, relaxation and meditation

A healthy lifestyle

Exercise uses up the adrenalin and other hormones that are produced under stress, allowing muscles to relax. It can therefore help you to cope with anxiety and feelings of tension, and may help you sleep better. Walking and swimming allow you to be active at your own pace and you can do them alone or in company.

Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep can also make a big difference to your ability to cope with stress. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.

Talking

Talking to a friend or family member about what's making you anxious can help. You may find that they have encountered a similar problem and can talk you through it; however, just having had someone listen to you and showing that they care, can help in itself

You can also join a SPRING Peer Support Group.