In the UK, 1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental illness during the course of the year. I’m one of them – I have generalised anxiety disorder.
Panic attacks- which often go hand in hand anxiety- can be massively distressing to sufferers, but I have found smaller bouts of anxiety can be just as debilitating. For those who suffer with anxiety, it can often feel as if the mental illness is bigger than anything else; it takes up your thoughts and prevents your actions – but there are ways you can manage it.
There is no one-shoe-fits-all fix to anxiety disorder. However, I have found some practical everyday remedies that do go a long way in reducing my panic on a daily basis that might just help you too!
Mindfulness is a form of mediation that stems from Buddhism. It involves being aware of your body and thoughts and focusing on paying attention to this in the present moment. Mindfulness usually focuses on breathing but can also involve yoga and meditation.
Mindfulness is a brilliant way of releasing stress as anyone can do it anywhere even in few spare minutes before a lecture. You can also try out a mindfulness colouring books which combine art therapy with mindfulness techniques.
If you would like to learn more about being mindful there are a range of classes available which can guide you. The UoN counselling service offers free classes throughout the semester which you can book here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/groups/index.aspx
2. Yoga and meditation
Yoga doesn’t just make you flexible, although it can certainly help, it is also a great way to beat anxiety! Practising yoga involves focusing on both physical and mental wellbeing through exercise and mediation.
Yoga society classes are very popular at UoN and they run every day bar Saturday. With sessions at only £3 pounds for non-members and £2 for members, Yoga is an affordable way to combat anxiety whilst meeting fellow meditation-lovers.
Scents like lavender are famed as great de-stressors and they really do work! Aromatherapy is easy to incorporate into your every day routine and you can use essential oils in your bath, in diffusers or potpourri in your bedroom. My favourite way to use aromatherapy is through oil roller balls which you can pop in your handbag and use by rolling the ball onto your pulse points during stressful periods.
When you are in the midst of a panic attack, talking about how you’re feeling may well be the furthest thing from your mind. When the initial feelings of panic have passed, talking to someone about your well-being can provide a much needed release. This doesn’t have to be with a health care professional: just a chat with a friend or a family member can be soothing.
If you want to talk to someone you don’t know personally but isn’t a health care professional talking to a listener at Nightline is a great option. Nightline is free listening service that is non-judgemental, non-directive, confidential and available around the clock at 01159514985.
Try listing all the things that trigger you anxiety – whether that be deadlines, going to a crowded event, or feeling exposed on your daily walk to university – no matter how small it seems. Then ask yourself why these things worry you.
Sometimes facing and questioning your anxieties before they’re actualised can be a good way of pre-empting and lessening them when they eventually do come back around. This way you can do little things like leave earlier if you feel you’re rushing to something you aren’t looking forward to in order to ease yourself into situations you struggle with.
6. Finally, be kind to yourself
This, for me, is the most important thing on the list. It’s important, yet often difficult, to accept that sometimes your anxiety will be overwhelming and you may not do that thing you really wanted to do because of it. However, this does not mean you have failed or you have let your illness ‘get the better’ of you. Anxiety disorders are a group of unpredictable illnesses; the symptoms are often distressing, but this is through no fault of your own. Take the time you need to deal with anxiety in the way that best fits you – don’t feel pressured to ignore it or ‘get on with it’. Reading this article is evidence enough that you can beat your and will beat your anxiety, even with the smallest of steps.
This list is not exhaustive but is rather a personal stance on what I find helpful. I hope this goes some way in helping you manage your anxiety or stress.
If you would like to talk about anxiety there are many services you can contact – you are never alone:
Edited by Tia Ralhan