Sunday, 14 January 2018

How To Manage Your Anxiety

Anxiety is a term that is thrown around so casually these days, but those who genuinely struggle from this condition, know just how much it can effect your life. I have had Emetophobia onset anxiety for as long as I can remember and it really has shaped how I live my life. Emetophobia is an extreme fear of vomiting, whether that be a fear of yourself vomiting or others. My anxiety surrounding this started at a really young age, despite only being sick a handful of times in my whole life. Usually Emetophobia occurs in an individual that has had a traumatising experience with sick as a child, leading them to have anxious thoughts when it comes to being ill. I, however, never had any bad experiences as a child and the onset of my Emetophobia really is puzzling. My anxiety surrounding vomit has become a normal part of my life, and there are certain routines and things I avoid in order to live comfortably. When I was younger, I would only have panic attacks if I felt sick, but as I grew older I became anxious at the thought of travel, alcohol, crowded places and became especially anxious in stressful situations. I generally choose not to travel as I fear being travel sick, and I like to drive everywhere as much as I can. I also hardly drink alcohol, and only limit myself to a few drinks on nights out, something which a lot of people my age find difficult to understand. I become obsessive with sanitising EVERYTHING, especially in winter time when norovirus in lingering, and have at least 4 bottles of hand sanitiser with me wherever I go (I'm not even exaggerating that one!). I'm also a chronic 'Symptom Googler' and diagnose myself with 5 deadly illnesses a day (it normally ends up being indigestion - come on, we've all been there)
Emetophobia really does have a hold over my life, although I have made great progress over the years. All of my methods that I have adopted for dealing with anxiety and panic attacks have been self taught, as therapy really didn't help me. I am at the stage now where I can be sick and not panic TOO much, and can also look after others if they are sick as well (if you'd told me I'd be ok with watching someone be sick 4 years ago, I would have laughed in your face). Anxiety is frustrating, but over the years I have come up with my own ways of dealing with it, and I'm going to share them with you now. These tips don't just apply to anxiety onset by Emetophobia, you can apply them to any type of anxiety you may suffer from.

1. BREATHE 

Ok so this seems way too simple, but it does actually work! Whenever I am feeling anxious or stressed in any way, I try to remove myself from whatever situation is making me feel anxious and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. By concentrating on my breathing, it makes me stop thinking about the anxious situation and after about 10 minutes, I can feel myself starting to relax again. If you cannot remove yourself from whatever situation is making you feel anxious, try and sit down and take some deep breaths, making sure to concentrate on nothing but your breathing. Trust me, it really works.

Some youtube videos that can teach you breathing techniques:
Meghan Livingstone
Ben from BrilliantSide
Caren Baginski
Beating Anxiety

2. Be Realistic

We often feel anxious as we are unable to think rationally about the situation that we are in. Anxiety is generally a product of our over active imagination, thinking about every absolute worst case scenario that could possibly happen. Sometimes when I am feeling anxious I take a step back and think 'realistically, what is the worst thing that could actually happen right now?' When I begin to think about it rationally and realise that nothing bad is going to happen, I can feel myself calming down straight away. For example: if you're scared of flying and you're on a plane that has turbulence, take a step back and think 'realistically, is this plane crashing, or is there just a rocky patch of weather?' Once you've established that you're over thinking, it makes it much easier to calm down.

3. Hypnosis/Meditation

I used to be a hater of anything related to hypnosis or meditation, and thought that it was a complete load of  rubbish. At the end of 2016 I was going through a hard time with my anxiety and turned to meditation as a last resort. There are plenty of free apps you can download on Iphone or android that offer hypnosis and meditation programmes that can help ease all types of anxiety. I used to pop my headphones on when I went to bed and listen to hypnotists and it would really minimise my anxiety, and make me feel much more calm when I woke up. I found that when I did this regularly, my anxiety levels really did drop dramatically and I was able to go about my day to day life feeling well-balanced and relaxed.

                                                 
  





Overcome Anxiety: this is an excellent free app that offer you a 22:42 minute hypnotherapy session, that helps you to feel calm and collected when you're feeling anxious and stressed. It can be downloaded for free on Itunes.                                             







Anxiety Relief: This app offer you a 33:35 minute hypnotherapy session, with a variety of settings and voices to choose from. You can choose which voice and background noise makes you feel most relaxed. It is free, but you can purchase more sessions for a reasonable price in the Shop on the app. 




















I Can: The most simplistic, but personally my favourite hypnotherapy app i've tried. The voice is so relaxing and calming and it offers a variety of different sessions for different types of anxiety. It really is an excellent app. 







4. Exercise

Tarn Hows - The Lake District 
Being active and healthy is something I place a lot importance on, not just for my physical wellbeing but also for my mental wellbeing too. I find that getting outdoors and walking my dog and getting fresh air, or doing a spin class at my gym gives me outlet for negative energy and I can focus on being positive. Being outdoors helps me to practice my mindfullness and focus my thoughts onto more important things, rather than my anxiety. I find that when I don't look after myself, I am more likely to feel anxious and unwell. Even if you can only get out for 10 minutes a day, I really recommend it, as it gives you time away from whatever stresses you out and to think positively.
Richmond, North Yorkshire









5. Have a Good Support Network

Having people around you that understand anxiety can sometimes be difficult, as not many people understand how much anxiety can effect your life. The final and most important tip in this list is to surround yourself with people that understand your condition and are willing to be patient whilst you work on yourself. I'm not saying you have to go and ditch your family if they don't get your anxiety, what I'm saying is that you need at least one person in your life that you can turn to when things aren't doing great. Whether that is your best friend, boyfriend, dog or pet cactus, it really doesn't matter. Just having someone to talk to is sometimes enough. If you don't have anyone in your life that understands anxiety and you are feeling isolated, here are some links that may be helpful for you. I have used a few of these support systems in the past, and I can honestly say that sometimes a stranger on the other end of the phone that doesn't know you or your life, is all you need.

Anxiety UK - Charity providing support if you've been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. - 0775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)
CALM - CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.
Depression Alliance - Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups.
MIND - Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. - 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
No Panic - Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline. - 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)
Sane Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers - 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30-10.30pm)

Lets take a stand to make anxiety and mental health more talked about in 2018! Mental health should be just as important as physical health and we all need to work together to make mental health more talked about. This is our year! 

If you have any questions regarding any of the things I have spoke about in this blog, please feel free to comment or message me privately. Anxiety can be crippling and no one should go through it alone.

Lou Katherine x

No comments:

Post a Comment