Even before this pandemic shook our whole world, living has always been stressful. Stress is virtually unavoidable, so managing it is essential. Why is this important? Well, when stress goes unmanaged, it can swell into other problems causing anxiety, panic, depression and mental health disorders.
What techniques are you using to manage your own stress and anxiety? Here are some to consider:
- Track your thoughts and fight the urge to feel negative.
- Confide in friends, family or colleagues so that you get things off your chest and get some support – a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Deal with your emotional difficulties – if you’re anxious, panic-filled or depressed then admit it and seek help; don’t live in denial or get stuck.
- Build time for relaxation and hobbies – exercise, volunteering, social connections and creative efforts lift your mood and help you to feel energised rather than flat.
- Listen to your body – emotional distress will ultimately impact your physical health, so be aware of what it is that is causing anger, resentment, tearfulness or moodiness.
- Manage your energy: It’s like money – if you use it up too fast, it will run out, but if you under-use it, you’ll lose out on good opportunities.
When highly stressful events occur, or we receive a piece of news that shocks our worlds – it can lead to a panic attack. A panic attack causes breathing problems, a racing heart, chest pain, feeling unreal, trembling and a choking feeling.
This is where practices like mindfulness can come in useful, as they help us focus on our immediate surroundings and calm our bodies and our minds. Here are some steps to take when you need to do this.
- Breathing techniques: Breathe in through your nose over 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds and then breathe out of your nose for 6 seconds. Repeat a few times until you begin to feel calmer.
- Focus on a specific object: Find a single object to focus all of your attention on during feelings on panic or stress. Select one object in clear sight and note everything about it possible until your panic symptoms subside.
- Repeat a mantra: Repeating a helpful saying or mantra to yourself can be relaxing and reassuring. A simple saying such as "This too shall pass" repeated several times can help you start to feel calmer in a situation.
- Muscle relaxation techniques: Muscle relaxation techniques can help stop feelings of panic by controlling your body’s responses as much as possible. Consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way around the body.
We hope these tips help you calm your body and your mind and manage stressful moments a bit better. #MentalHealthMatters