Anxious thoughts can overwhelm you, making it difficult to make decisions and take action to deal with whatever issue is bothering you.
It can also lead to overthinking, which makes you more anxious, which leads to more overthinking. So how to break out of this vicious cycle?
Repressing anxious thoughts usually means they just pop up again later but there are ways to help calm your anxiety:
1. Tell someone
If you feel that you may have anxiety, such as your GP or a friend or family member. Do this as soon as possible so you are not alone in dealing with it and can get the right help and support.
Mental health can be a difficult thing to talk about, especially with a GP or practice nurse who you probably hardly know.
Mind has compiled a guide with tips on preparing for your appointment and making the most of the short time with them.
2. Get active
Exercise is good for your mind as well as your body. Regular exercise will lift your mood, help you sleep better and give you more energy. It is also proven to be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression.
3. Eat well
Make sure you get a balanced and healthy diet including lots of wholegrains, fresh fruits and vegetables, as these are proven to lift mood. Stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol can make feelings of anxiety and stress worse, and leave you feeling lethargic.
Eating lots of foods high in fat and carbohydrate can often cause blood sugar to crash, resulting in sluggishness and anxiety.
4. Go outside
5. Be mindful
Mindfulness can help us better understand our thoughts and feelings. It’s really easy to rush through life on auto-pilot, not really taking in our surroundings.
Missing out on the good means life isn’t as rich as it could be, and missing out on the bad means we’re not in such a good position to take action.
6. Sleep well
Not getting enough sleep can affect our mental wellbeing and quality of life. Electrical devices such as TVs and smartphones stimulate the brain, making it harder to sleep.
Try switching off and creating a calm space before you go to bed – and keep your bedroom free from technology.
7. Plan ahead
Fight anxious thoughts in advance by preparing for the day ahead. Try making a schedule or a to-do list and develop habits that increase productivity.
So if you always lose your keys, make a habit of always putting them in the same place when you come home. Lay out clothes the night before or pack a gym bag ahead of time.
Focus on how to “un-think” the anxiety-producing beliefs by prepping before they pop into your head.
8. Smell something relaxing
Try sniffing some calming oils. Basil, anise and chamomile are great choices. They reduce tension in the body and help increase mental clarity.
9. Breathe easy
Short, sharp breaths indicate stress and anxiety. Consciously breathing and lengthening and strengthening the breath tells your brain that it’s OK to relax.
10. Find online support
Lots of people also find online forums helpful, particularly if they are unable to confide in friends or don’t have strong social networks.