Recovery from an anxiety disorder can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces you need to complete the picture and they cannot all be put in place at the same time. It has to be done piece by piece, but eventually with a bit of determination and hard work the picture can start to become clearer. It is all about removing a lot of bad habits and putting new ones in place.
Recovery can not be hurried, it takes as long as it takes and as we are all individuals, this can not only vary hugely in time but what might work for one may not work for others. But the fact is that recovery from an anxiety disorder is possible and can be achieved. It is important to understand that our mind and body are linked together strongly and so we must work with both to get the best results.
Here is a list of tips and a series of tools/life skills that will help you retrain your thought process and at the same time take care of your body. They are not just steps you should take on a bad day, but long-term changes for every day.
1. Talking is very important, whether it be with friends and family, therapists and doctors, or with charities like No Panic. Keeping things bottled up always makes them worse, so get your worries/thoughts off your chest. No Panic Helpline
2. Breath and Relax. Everyone tends to think that breathing comes naturally and that there can’t be a wrong way of doing it. Unfortunately, that’s not true. There is a right way and a wrong way and it is essential that correct breathing is learned, understood and established. An anxious body is not a relaxed body, which is why learning how to relax your body in any situation is a must. Body Scan
3. Exercise releases endorphins which are hormones that make us naturally feel good. Exercise also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect as well as burning off excess energy that can lead to anxiety. You are not expected to do a marathon or a gym class five times a week but a little something every day. Anxiety & Exercise
4. Diet is very important. It is very easy to eat too little or too much. Food is energy, therefore important in the upkeep of our body and the way it functions. You wouldn’t expect your car to run properly without it having the proper fuel, it is the same for your body. There are no banned foods, just moderation. For example Not too much caffeine but there is no need to cut out your beloved cup of tea or coffee entirely. A well-balanced diet is all that is necessary. Carbohydrates are the perfect food to give staying power. Little and often is also a good tip, this keeps our sugar levels balanced.
One very essential thing is the importance of breakfast. After a night’s sleep, our body needs re-fuelling. So however hard it may be for some people, eat something after getting up, a slice of toast and porridge or even a banana. Diet & Anxiety
5. Thought control has an extremely strong influence on our lives. Letting your mind run away with itself is not good for anxiety. Look at the facts; Are your worries really a threat? If your thoughts are causing you to be anxious they are unbalanced and need to be put into context. Each time you feel negative thoughts creeping in, take control and replace them with positive ones. This can take time to achieve, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Thinking too much?
6. Write in a diary. Keep notes of your thoughts and feelings. Also, add anything that you did to overcome the challenging times. Jot down anything positive that you can think of; Phone calls/visits from family or friends, sunny days, TV programs/films that lifted your spirits, etc. Journalling and why it is good for you.
7. Cease fighting anxiety. When our bodies slip into fear mode, the automatic response is to fight it. This can lead to a vicious circle of the more we fight, the more we fear. And at times, this can even lead to avoidance. Try not fighting or running from the things that are making you anxious, instead accept what you are experiencing is a bunch of symptoms that cannot actually harm you. Calm your body and mind and flow through these feelings. Using relaxation/breathing exercises is a great way to do this. The fight, flight or freeze response.
8. Rest when you need it. Anxiety can be exhausting and it is common knowledge that our bodies and minds do not function as well when we are tired. A regular bedtime routine is always recommended. If you tend to have a brain that goes into overdrive just as you are tucking down, write down on paper any worries or fears and promise yourself you will take care of them the following day. Sleep & Anxiety
We have an excellent animation to help you slow your breathing down when you feel anxiety or panic coming on. It might be a good idea to bookmark this link on your mobile phone or computer so you have it handy in the future:
There are many free resources here on our website, but if you feel you need further help then maybe you would like to consider joining one of our recovery services? You can find out more here;