Anxiety can make it hard for us to cope with day-to-day demands on us. We may become isolated from other people, we may feel very frightened at what is happening to us, yet don’t know how to change. It can be very draining to be so tense and fraught all the time.
More will be said later about getting help from other people, but there are steps we can take ourselves to reduce our anxiety. This can take courage and we may have to keep trying. It may be that whatever action we take will make us more anxious to begin with. This should decrease with time, but in the early stages we may find that we need to use support from other people to help us keep up our own efforts.
What helps may be different for each of us, but other people have said they found these things useful:
- Try to concentrate on the ‘here and now’ and not concern yourself too much with ‘what if…’.
- Find someone you can talk to about how you feel and use their support to talk through your feelings.
- Work out whether there are any specific situations you find particularly alarming. Set yourself targets so that you can gradually work at confronting these situations and getting the better of them.
- Set your own pace. No one can force you to do anything. You’ll find you gradually gain confidence in your ability to cope.
- Learn to relax. This can help you control the level of anxiety you experience so that it is manageable. You can find out more about relaxation techniques from your doctor or counsellor, or from the organisations listed later. Your local library may be able to supply books or tapes.
- Allow yourself a breathing space. Do something you really enjoy or treat yourself. Perhaps there’s something you used to like doing but haven’t done for a while.
- Take a step back and think about how you live your life. If you’re overloaded, work out what’s most important to you, and shed what is not important.
- If someone else is making too many demands on you—your boss or a family member perhaps—try to work out a plan for talking to them about it without blaming them. It may help to do this with other people who are affected too, so you can deal with it together.
- Take up a physical activity, like walking, swimming or yoga to help relieve tension.
Some people find it’s not so important to look for answers about what caused them to become so anxious.