So, what is making you anxious nowadays? If you are anything like me, you might be thinking where shall I start? There is a mountain of worries on a world scale and sometimes equally as many on a local scale. Few will challenge that notion, but it’s the personal ones, if you ask me, that really get the adrenalin flowing.
And before you know it, you’ve had something beyond an adrenalin rush that makes you think you are having a medical emergency.
Been there and done that. That’s anxiety, this feeling of unease, like a worry or a fear. Unfortunately, it happens to us all from time to time and to some people it happens perpetually. In other words, bouts of anxiety range from mild to severe and when anxiety is severe, it is usually then considered a specific condition and treated as such in the best-case scenario.
But here is the thing. Anxiety comes under the umbrella of emotional and mental health, whether it is mild or severe. And just as we can do things to maintain good physical health, we can do the same with mental health. And when more severe mental health problems arise, we can get help just as we do with a severe physical illness.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do three podcasts around mental health, one of them specifically on social anxiety, a more severe form of anxiety. Check out our podcast, On Social Anxiety, with Claire Eastham, who suffers from social anxiety, for a better understanding of what it is and what it is not. As Claire says, it is not a fear of people, it is an overwhelming fear of being judged by other people so much so that you isolate yourself.
In any case, I’ve learned a lot from all three podcasts on the matter and have gleaned some tips from the interviews, research and personal experience. Let’s start with how to maintain good mental health to ward against anxiety.
- Understand your anxiety. Call a spade a spade. The minute you do this it loses its power. This is one of the best tips I have ever received, and it just so happens it came from Laura Miles, guest on Your Body Image Inside Out.
- Make time for your worry. That’s right! Give it its props, isolate it and move on.
- Face the things you want to avoid. Claire Eastham points out that if you don’t anxiety wins.
- Challenge your negative thoughts. That’s a biggie and goes hand in hand with positive self-talk. Cheryl Grace talks about the importance of this in Your Confidence Inside Out.
- Shift your focus. Get practical and physical by doing something you enjoy which relaxes the mind, such as yoga, running, or even journaling.
- Talk about It. A problem shared is a problem halved.
What about getting help when anxiety becomes more severe and interferes in your daily life.
- Realise it is not your fault; it is a condition.
- Reach out to adults/counsellors, people with more experience in the area.
- Get a diagnosis, if at all possible. Once you know what it is, it is possible to then treat it, as you would a physical illness.
- Care for yourself. Lots of options here including eating right, getting enough sleep, and managing the time you spend on social media.
- Talk to someone you trust. It is important to give the negative feelings airtime so that they don’t stay buried in your mind.
So, whether it is mild or severe, anxiety can be managed for a happier and healthier life experience. Again, check out UIO podcast for more tips.