Anxiety is a very common and normal emotion. However, it can become overwhelming. The combination of both reactive and preventative methods can help you manage your anxiety better.
Handling Anxiety – some simple techniques.
Anxiety is a very common and normal emotion. We can feel anxious starting a new job, or starting work with a new client or if we have a big presentation. However sometimes anxiety can become uncontrollable and develop into a mental health problem.
According to the Mental Health Foundation a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they wanted to some or all of the time.
Having learned about anxiety the hard way – a very traumatic experience in 2014 led to PTSD, anxiety and depression diagnosis. Since this diagnosis, I have placed significant importance on my own mental health. Having changed my entire life, job, nutrition and behaviour. Of course there are still times of immense pressure and stress – we have now lived through a pandemic. Being able to understand my triggers and having all the protocols in place to reduce the impact.
As humans we do need to have a level of stress in our lives, but our ability to switch between our nervous systems has become disjointed. We spend too much time in our sympathetic state of fight / flight as opposed to the parasympathetic state of rest / digest.
My advice is to find ways to reduce your stress throughout the day, as opposed to letting it build and having an explosion in the evening. I like to encourage people to visualise a ‘stress bucket’ each time during the day when a stressful event happens this goes into the bucket. The train running late, a difficult conversation with a client, or telephone lines going down. These are minor challenges during the day, if you do not keep emptying the bucket through the day – these build and build and you walk through the door and your partner/child says something and then boom – frustration occurs.
Imagine this a different way. If we create micro practices during the day to reset the nervous system, instead of an overflow – the bucket has a natural emptying cycle.
Micro resets include,
- taking 3 deep breaths after that difficult conversation with a client,
- appreciating the fresh air as you wait for the train to arrive,
- going for a walk away from your desk if the phone line doesn’t work.
These reactive micro practices can be extended out into all walks of life.
If you know you are going to be in an anxious environment – e.g. a big pitch for a client. Taking a few moments in the car or the bathroom to observe your surroundings, what can you see or hear or notice. This is a very simple mindfulness practice, the subtle art of resetting into the present moment and moving out of the chaos in your mind – really can help to calm your nervous system and prepare you for what is to come.
As a meditation teacher, obviously a huge fan of regular meditation, for me my daily short practice is a sure fire way to ensure I am resetting my nervous system. It may surprise most people that I do not recommend trying to meditate for an hour or 30 minutes. My recommendation would be to carve out a small amount of time even 3-5 minutes every day. As easier way to implement a regular practice would be to find a habit you are already doing. For me every evening I put my kids to bed, this is my cue to get my meditation pillow out and sit for as long as I feel like. Some days it’s longer than others. My practice is Vipassana meditation (silent meditation) – I do not need a guided visualisation, I find this works for me. However you could download the plethora of meditation apps and switch one on. If your mind wanders during this time, do not be hard on yourself – just acknowledge this has happened and come back to your breath or the guided script.
The combination of both reactive and preventative methods help ensure me that I can handle my anxiety.
For more information about Camille and her work, please visit www.thefloatspa.co.uk