Life can be tough at times, especially with everything happening in the world at the moment. So we've put together some information and links to other websites which can help you deal with your own concerns and worries. And here are our advisers' 9 top tips:
- Talking to someone you trust about what's making you anxious could be a relief. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren't able to open up to someone close to you, there are a number of services in the Someone to Talk To section where you can talk to a professional or use one of the chat services.
- It can be really hard to stop worrying when you have anxiety. You might have worries you can't control, or you might feel like you need to keep worrying because it feels useful, or that bad things might happen if you stop.
- Set aside a specific time to work on your worries. Can you turn the worries and negative thoughts into something positive? Such as "I can’t face going out today" to "It will be ok once I get out and get some fresh air". Some people find it helps to set a timer so you are not spending too long focusing on your worries.
- Write down your worries and keep them in a particular place – for example, you could write them in a notebook, or on pieces of paper you put in an envelope or jar.
- Try to get enough sleep. Sleep can give you the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences.
- Think about your diet. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a difference to your mood and energy levels.
- Try to do some physical activity. Exercise can be really helpful for your mental wellbeing. Regular exercise enhances the production of endorphins (happy chemical). Walking or swimming are good places to start if you’ve not exercised for a long time.
- It might help to make a note of what happens when you get anxious or have a panic attack. This could help you spot patterns in what triggers these experiences for you, or notice the early signs that they are beginning to happen.
- You could also make a note of what's going well. Living with anxiety can mean you think a lot about things that worry you or are hard to do. It's important to be kind to yourself and notice the good things too.
- This is a suggestion from a young person with anxiety: "I keep a photo diary of all the things I've managed to do. Makes me think "I can do this. So when I go and sit in a cafe, or go for a walk, I take a pic to record that I've done it and look back when I feel scared. It encourages me that maybe I can do something (again) if I've done it before."
- Peer support brings together people who have had similar experiences to support each other. Many people find that it helps them to share ideas about how to stay well, connect with others, and feel less alone.
- Contact a specialist organisation. For example, you can find details of support groups, forums and helplines in the A-Z of help
- Do this in very small manageable steps. Break a task down into the smallest steps and work your way through those at your own speed. So for some, it may be opening the front door for 5 minutes, for others it's getting up and making that presentation.
- Reward yourself for your achievements - no matter how small they may seem.
Learn to breathe from your diaphragm, your tummy should rise and fall with your breath as well as your chest. Ensure your out breath is longer than the in one. A count of 4 in, 6 out is great.
Use this technique as soon as you feel panic rising. Alternatively, if you find this difficult hold your breath for a few seconds. This resolves the dizzy feeling.
- As soon as you feel the anxiety soaring and you get afraid - do something different. Really different. Change your environment, talk to someone, do something to distract yourself.
- Immerse yourself in something that takes your whole attention and needs detailed thinking. Plan a party, write an article, learn a new hobby - something right brained is particularly effective such as a musical instrument or creative design, photography, dressmaking, art, singing, sport, research for a project.
- See how much better you feel when your full attention is elsewhere. Learn and be confident that you can overcome anxiety by distraction. Later on you will learn to stop anxiety before getting to this stage but for now take comfort in knowing you can control it.
- It's often enough to dissipate the panic. Some people like company during these frightening events, others prefer to be quiet and alone. It usually goes along with their personality.
- Be totally positive with yourself but do allow yourself to go with it. Don't fight panic, it makes it worse. Keep giving yourself positive messages that this will pass naturally and cannot harm you - breath and distract.