If we look up the word anxiety in the dictionary, we find the explanation: “An uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future”.
Everyone feels anxious at times, it is normal and part of being human, it’s the body’s way of signalling a problem or a threat for example; – crossing the road in busy traffic, – starting a new school, – speaking out in public etc.
It is only when anxiety takes control of your life and stops you from doing certain things that it becomes a disorder. This is when you might need to reach out and get help or support.
Just by making a few changes to your everyday life you can make a difference and start to reduce anxiety.
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.
2. Learn what anxiety is. Knowledge is power, so understanding why you feel and react the way you do is essential. Did something happen to trigger these anxious episodes? Were you okay beforehand? What was it that started this all off and made it escalate to the scale it is now? Are there certain situations or things that make you feel uneasy?
3. 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. An anxious body is not a relaxed body, which is why learning how to relax your body in any situation is a must. (No Panic teach how to correct your breathing and relax your body). Both these exercises can be found here:
These exercises can be used to reduce anxiety levels or when it feels like things are getting a bit much.
4. 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 might be surprised how kicking a ball around or having a good dance will lift your mood.
5. Diet is really important. It is very easy to eat too little or too much. Food is energy, therefore essential in the upkeep of our body and the way it works. You wouldn’t expect a car to run properly without it having the proper fuel, it is the same for our bodies. There are no banned foods, just moderation. A well-balanced diet is all that it takes. Little and often is a good tip, this keeps 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, something after getting up is essential, a slice of toast and porridge or even a banana are great ideas.
6. Thought control can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. ! Remember: Thoughts are just thoughts they are not facts. What is important is how you react to the thoughts. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you, it has a great way of tricking you. Accept the thoughts as thoughts and they try and find a more positive way of seeing them.
7. Start a diary. Keeping notes of thoughts and feelings may help you understand if there are certain things that trigger your anxiety. For example; not enough sleep, too much sugar, or being out of your comfort zone ……… Adding anything that helps to make you feel better is a great thing to do. Are some days better than others? Do you feel happier when you doing things you like? No Panic’s Top Tips on Journaling
8. Helping others, helps yourself. Are there certain things that help lower your anxiety or makes you feel better, maybe you can share these tips with others, we would love to hear what works for you.
9. Stop fighting the anxiety. When we are scared or frightened, the automatic response is to fight the feelings This can start a vicious circle of the more we fight, the more we fear. And at times, this can even lead to avoidance. Try to stop fighting or running from the things that are making you anxious, instead accept what you are feeling is a bunch of symptoms that cannot actually harm you. (Many other kids feel exactly like you, you may be surprised just how common these feelings are). Try to calm your body and mind and flow through these feelings. Use the relaxation/breathing exercises above.
10. Rest. Anxiety can make you really tired and it is a fact that our bodies and brains do not function as well when we are tired. A regular bedtime routine is always a good idea. If you have a mind that goes crazy just as you are getting in to bed, write down on paper any worries or fears and promise yourself that you will take care of them tomorrow. Going to sleep and listening to a calming meditation app or relaxing music may help. Top Tips For Better Sleep
We have a really good animation to help you slow your breathing to reduce panic or anxiety. It might be a good idea to bookmark this link on your mobile phone or computer so you have it handy in the future. It is simple and easy to relate to, it can be found here: Breathing Animation