This year has been a challenging year for us with the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has bought a lot of fear and with the changing environment a lot of uncertainty about the future, it is no wonder that people are feeling more and more anxious about things.
If you are experiencing anxiety for the first time, or anxiety is increasing for you here are 3 tips to help you deal with the fears and worries that anxiety can bring.
1. ACCEPT THAT ANXIETY IS A NORMAL EMOTION
Anxiety usually comes with a number of mental and physical symptoms and this may cause you to get anxious about being anxious.
However try to remind yourself that anxiety is a natural reaction to threat and danger, and so the likelihood of feeling anxious currently is to be expected.
Anxiety is an emotion that is experienced by everyone, and through this pandemic is likely to be experienced by most of us at some point, therefore you are not alone when you experience anxiety.
In fact we need anxiety to help us with the everyday challenges we face such as
Try not to fight your feelings of anxiety, although they may be happening more often than usual, the actual moments of anxiety don't usually tend to last long.
Say to yourself
''I accept I am feeling anxious, and I am likely to continue to do so, but it is ok to feel anxious, this is a natural reaction to what is happening''
2. KNOW THAT ANXIETY CAN'T HARM YOU
Because of the range of mental and physical experiences that accompany anxiety it can feel very overwhelming, but also know these symptoms are a natural response.
Don't interpret your anxious thoughts and feelings as signs that you might be going crazy or that you are medically unwell.
Your thoughts can make you feel like EVERYTHING is threatening and ominous and your racing heart, tight chest or breathing difficulties may take your thoughts to things being medically wrong rather than a natural reaction to your anxiety.
If once you are calm things return to normal then you will know you are not at harm.
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling, but anxiety cannot harm you
If you experience these intrusive negative thoughts and physical feelings regularly remind yourself
''Even with these feelings, I am OK , it is the anxiety and nothing more serious''
3. AVOID AVOIDANCE
Avoidance can actually keep your anxiety going.
During this period there are things that we need to avoid doing for our own safety, but your anxiety may be causing you to avoid things that are safe for you.
Currently it can be difficult to know what is safe and what is not and so this will play a part in increasing your anxiety.
However if you find yourself avoiding things to the extreme than you could be making your anxiety worse.
Government Guidelines ask us to follow 3 simple actions that we must all do to keep on protecting each other
These have now become normal activities for us to do, alongside the new tiered advice.
However if you find yourself avoiding doing anything, even when following these guidelines, then your anxiety may be getting the better of you.
It can be difficult with ever changing rules to keep up, but the more you avoid doing the things you need to do to live within the new normal the more anxious you may get.
Being able to rationalise by looking at facts and evidence will help you decide if you are overestimating the danger for yourself.
Things such as
Never going to the supermarket despite taking the necessary precautions
Stopping eating fresh foods in case they are contaminated
Not leaving your house even though you are taking necessary precautions
Putting yourself into situations that you fear most, currently sensibly and with the appropriate precautions, means that you get more used to them and over time you will find your anxiety reduces.
You may also find that you have overestimated the danger.
A fear ladder is a good tool to use to help with avoidance, starting with the smaller things you fear and building up to face the bigger fears.
It seems the pandemic is going to be here for a while longer and so it seems an acceptance of living with some level of anxiety is likely.
If you can practice some of the above you may be able to reduce the intensity of your anxiety and manage it better.
Laura Knight is a qualified and experienced Counsellor and a registered member of BACP (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
She is an approved Anxiety UK Therapist and has her own private practice SeeClear Counselling, in Poole Dorset.
She can offer face to face, telephone and video counselling sessions
Laura also spent some time working with Dorset Mind delivering education to local employers on how to identify and manage stress at work reducing the impact that work stress can have on people's everyday lives
Laura found that many of her clients would present with Anxiety and because of this enhanced her training to include CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as there is evidence to suggest that CBT is effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Laura now focuses on working with adults who struggle with Anxiety within her private practice, working with them to reduce the scary physical and emotional symptoms they experience and help them change their negative thinking patterns so they can lead a calmer life.
For more information about Laura please visit her website https://www.seeclearcounselling.co.uk
Or visit her Facebook page https://facebook.com/seeclearcounselling
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07975733029