Anxiety is a term used to describe a range of uncomfortable feelings including worry, nervousness, fear, concern, and apprehension.
We all experience normal anxiety from time to time, such as when we are confronted with a dangerous or stressful situation. Anxiety is simply our body’s way of telling us that something may need addressing. However for some people, a state of anxiety can be debilitating, affecting their daily functioning.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- A fear of, or avoiding social situations such as workplace meetings or parties
- Feelings of helplessness or confusion
- Feeling agitated, restless or irritable
- Trembling or shaking
- Difficult concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Sleep disruption
Three Easy Ways to Help Ease Your Anxiety
Feeling some level of anxiety is normal. It's when it becomes deliberating that it becomes a problem. With stressors such as work tasks, public speaking events or even a date with someone new surrounding us, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and let anxiety step in. When this occurs, it is helpful to have a few techniques which help to calm yourself down and let the feelings of anxiety dissolve. These three tips will allow you to ground yourself in your surroundings and calm your nerves easily.
Take Deep Breaths
Perhaps telling someone to take a few deep breaths when they are overwhelmed seems like an obvious suggestion. However, taking a few moments to ground yourself can be helpful even in the most stressful or anxiety ridden situations. Slow breathing allows you to reduce or remove hyperventilation and ultimately increases oxygen levels in your brain, in turn allowing you to relax your mind and ground your thoughts.
First, take a big, deep breath in and focus on sending the air down through your lungs and into your abdomen. Take a moment to feel the air fill up your body, and slowly leave as you exhale. Repeat this for a for as long as needed. To help with this, some people use simple breathing exercises – try counting to ten while breathing in, holding your breath and counting to ten again while breathing out. This will help to you focus on breathing out anxieties and worries and allow you to gain a calmer state.
Take a Time Out
Another simple step which you can take to help decrease your anxiety is by taking some time for yourself. By taking a few minutes to listen to music or take a quick walk you are often able to remove yourself from the situation which has left you feeling anxious and distract yourself from your stressors. This is a crucial step in resetting your emotions and allowing yourself to separate from the anxious feelings you are having. It often helps if you have a particular song or artist which you feel calms you, or even an activity such as reading a book or meditating so that you are able to quickly relax and release some of the anxiety you may be experiencing.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Rule – grounding technique
This five-step process is commonly used as a grounding technique which encourages you to calm your nerves and focus on the sights and sounds around you, in turn encouraging a feeling of safety and comfort.
Before you begin this task, it is important to close your eyes, take a couple of breaths and allow yourself to fully partake in the task.
Working backwards from 5, use your senses to observe the things around you. To do this, list:
5 things you can see – this may include things as simple as a painting on the wall, or as small as a piece of grass on the concrete. However big or small make a list of 5 things you can see around you
4 things you can touch – this may be the hem of your shirt, your phone, or even the feeling of your sock in your shoe. If you can feel it, list it down.
3 things you can hear – take a deep breath in, close your eyes and focus on the sounds that surround you. If you can hear birds from outside or the buzz of electricity under your desk make a note of them.
2 things you can smell – while this may be hard to immediately recognise in some environments, take a minute to recognise any potential smells around you. Perhaps you take a walk around the garden and can smell freshly cut grass, or you walk past someone with a coffee – take notice
1 thing you can taste – what does the inside of your mouth taste like? Is it your lunch from earlier? Or chewing gum? Perhaps a treat which you have had recently?
After completing the task, take a moment to breathe and celebrate your success in completing the task successfully. If needed, repeat the task and take time to focus your thoughts on the task and away from the anxiety you are feeling.
These techniques are a few of many things you can do to help ease your anxiety or worries. If you feel as though your anxiety is becoming a problem call Growth Psychology Consulting on 02 9600 6619 to book an appointment.