Along with depression, anxiety is the most common mental health problem affecting the population of Ireland and Europe today. Anxiety is a common feeling experienced by everyone. Anyone of us, irrespective of age, gender or background can be affected.
In 2019, a study conducted by UCD and Jigsaw, saw a rise in anxiety and depression among young people in Ireland. The proportion of adolescents, aged 12-18, reporting severe anxiety has doubled to 22% since the previous study in 2012.
From my own experiences with anxiety, I would like to share some things that I have found helpful for whenever I feel anxious. Below are 4 simple things you can do to help with your anxiety.
Breathing is the best way to stop or prevent a panic or anxiety attack. What you might not know is that focusing on your breathing is an excellent way to calm yourself. If you don’t breathe properly, you will only exacerbate the attack.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique, in my opinion, is one of the best breathing techniques in order to help with anxiety. The breathing exercise forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath and is a very helpful exercise if you’re experiencing restlessness at night due to anxiety or worries that occurred during the day.
To practice the 4-7-8 breathing, find a good spot to lie or sit down in. The first step is to inhale silently through your nose as you count to four. Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath. Exhale from your mouth for eight seconds and repeat.
This breathing exercise is easy to do and will help alleviate any anxieties and stresses you may have.
Yes that’s right. Colouring is one of the best ways to help relieve anxiety. Some may find it a childish pastime but I find it the most therapeutic thing to do whenever I feel anxious.
According to a study published in the Creativity Research Journal, colouring can be used as a self-help tool in order to manage your mental health. Researchers found that weekly colouring sessions can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. So if you’re feeling anxious, feel free to grab a colouring book to see if it makes you feel better!
If I’m being honest, I was not open to mediation. I always thought meditation was sitting with legs crossed and that humming malarkey turned me right off. But meditation is more than this and there are multiple phone apps that focus on meditation that I have found very helpful.
Headspace is my favourite app for meditation. It has guided meditation and mindfulness techniques that you can use at any time. For me the best time to use this app is just before bed. It’s a great way to de-stress and relieve your mind of thoughts that could make you restless during the night. The app also includes meditation for sleep including music, nature soundscapes or storytelling sleepcasts
Get some fresh air
It sounds so simple but just going outside in the fresh air can help your anxiety. The air and the sunshine can help your breathing and can elevate your serotonin levels. Whether it means going for a run, walk or even just sitting in the garden with a cup of tea, immersing yourself in the outdoors could help put a smile on your face.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert in mental health problems. Please do not take the information in this article as expert advice.
If you are suffering with stress and anxiety, please get in touch with the below organisation
Aware 1800 80 48 48