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Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety can creep up without us realising. We keep spinning more plates than we realise and before we know it, when one small event happens, we crumble, we've reached our limit.

Our stress always shows in some way or another, whether by being tearful, angry, shouting, being quiet, keeping away from others, keeping busy, putting all our focus into our work, our volunteering, our families - anything that is outward from ourselves to stop us looking inward, scared of what we might find.

Scared to stop and face what we don't want to face, totally task focused , hoping to keep everything spinning until eventually something has to give.

Pushing ourselves hard, rather than facing facts, is called Avoidance. However, allowing time to process all that we have to deal with, is easier, with a few techniques that give our mind and body time to relax, enough so that we can rest and find solutions to our challenges.

There are various techniques we can use to calm our anxiety and give ourselves a break, even just for five minutes, to allow us to calm. These are in no particular order but hopefully you will find one that suits you. We are all unique and we all respond in different ways, so find your technique and use it as part of your self care.

Stop and Breathe: At any time in your day, stop, sit down, close any electronics, sit back in a chair, put your feet flat on the floor, hands lying lightly in your lap and breathe in deeply for the count of four and then breathe out for the count of four, your eyes may naturally close and just focus on your breath. Keep breathing in for four and out for four - do this consciously until your breathing slows and becomes an unconscious act. And just sit, acknowledge any thoughts that come in to your mind and let them go. This is your time, your five minutes of peace . Don't try to think of anything, no solutions, Just Be. Giving yourself , even just five minutes can support yourself to calm and to lessen your anxiety.

Move: This doesn't necessarily mean exercise but just changing our energy by standing up, walking around the room, walk round the garden, dancing and stretching can make a difference to how we are feeling. Sitting at a desk or slumped on the settee or in bed, lowers our mood and our motivation. So as hard as it may feel, get up, stretch and walk around, look outside , go outside and find a new perspective.

Gratefulness: When I was at my lowest times, the thing that really helped me to shift from negative to positive was to find something to be grateful for everyday. It doesn't have to be anything big, in fact the small things in life mean more. To be fair when we look at it, they aren't really the small things-for example: someone smiled at you, you have a roof over your head, clothes on your body, a friend called, the sun is shinning, its raining so the flowers will grow, I have a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, my family are safe... I could go on. As you practice gratefulness each day, it becomes habit and supports your mindset to becoming less negative and more positive, day by day.

Find Your Energisers: What energises you in life? Who makes you smile? What do you love doing? Who or what makes you laugh? Find what you love and do more of it, your mind and body will thank you.

Engage with Nature/Animals: I know you may hear this everywhere but its so very true, even if it is raining , a walk can be exhilarating and very cleansing. If you don't have a pet of your own, there are many organisations who have therapy pets or you can walk someone elses dog, if that's what you fancy doing. Animals are good company, they intuitively pick up on our emotions and can connect with us.

Nature is all around us, even if you are in the city, find a park, a quiet place and listen to the sound of the birds above the noise of the traffic, see the flowers in the cracks of the pavement. Using all of your senses to tune in to whats around you - this is using mindfulness - what can I see, hear, feel, touch, smell - concentrating on the present moment takes us away from thinking of our worries and challenges and allows us time for our mind and body to relax.

Give yourself the give of five minutes today and be the change that you need in your life to start your journey to calm and to lowering your anxiety levels.

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