Anxiety Management Toolkit
For some people anxiety is a daily experience, whereas for others it can be situational or occasional. Whatever your experience of anxiety, it helps to have a toolkit of skills and behaviours that you use to moderate your experience of anxiety.
Here are 10 anxiety-management strategies for YOU to try:
- Get to know your breathing – slow quiet regular breathing from your diaphragm is really helpful. Try slowing down your breathing deliberately. Count to three as you breathe in slowly – then count to three as you breathe out slowly.
- Practice your slow quiet breathing everyday so you can easily remember to do it when you find yourself in stressful situations.
- Develop a healthy lifestyle – do lots of physical activities especially activities you enjoy doing. Eat well including lots of vegetables. Minimise or even eliminate caffeine.
- Make time for joy and laughter in your life – it might be gardening, sitting reading a book or listening to music, spending quality time with your family or friends, going out into nature, or taking time with a hobby.
- Plan worry time – it is hard to stop worrying entirely so set aside some time to indulge your worries. Taking 10 minutes early in the evening to write them down helps to (literally) get them out of your head and can help stop your worries from taking over at other times.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation – find a quiet location. Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head. Hold the tension for three seconds and then release. Keep breathing! This can help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with anxiety. This practice links Progressive Muscle Relaxation with your quiet breathing skills.
- Develop great sleeping habits – take time in the hour or so before bed to slow down, mediate, have a warm shower, turn off your social media, and once in bed do the Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Do all these activites with the intention of getting and staying asleep.
- Stay in the present moment – anxiety can take you out of the present and into a terrible future that has not yet happened. Meditation can help to bring yourself back to the present. Other tricks include using an elastic band whenever you hear yourself saying or thinking those “what if” thoughts.
- Take small acts of bravery as avoiding what makes you anxious provides some relief in the short term, but can create more anxious in the long term. Try approaching something that makes you anxious – even in a small way. The way through anxiety is by learning that what you fear is not likely to happen, and if it does, you will be able to cope with it.
- Get to know your anxiety – keep a diary of when it is at its best – and worst. Find its patterns and plan your week – or day – to proactively manage your anxiety.
Anxiety is a commonly experience mental health condition. 14.4% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months.4 This is equivalent to 2.71 million people today. And 32.0% of females aged 16 to 85 will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime compared to 20.4% of men.Source: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/statistics
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