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Anxiety - 5 Top Tips To Ease Your Worries

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

We all worry to a certain degree. It's in our nature as humans. But sometimes our worries can become nagging and persistent. Anxiety is a vicious cycle of racing thoughts, rumination, negative thinking and self-criticism. It can be exhausting, making you feel tense and constantly on edge.

Dealing with anxiety can be hard, but there are things you can do to help manage these difficult feelings. Here we look at my 5 top tips to ease your worries.

Tip #1 - Keep an anxiety diary

A person is sat cross-legged on the floor, with a diary in their left hand and a pen in their right hand. They are about to start writing.

Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what you are afraid of, so you could try keeping a thought record or worry diary and look for patterns. The more you understand your worries, the easier it will be to recognise when you have fallen into an anxious thought pattern. This recognition alone will help you realise that even though you might not have complete control of the situation, you do have autonomy over your reaction to the situation.

Tip #2 - Put your worries to the test

Avoidance will never help you overcome your anxieties. Avoiding your fears is a behaviour designed by your brain 'to keep you safe', but how will you ever know if the thing or situation is always as bad as you expect if you do not put it to the test? If you feel able, conduct a small, achievable experiment to see what does happen when you face a fear. For example, if you fear social situations, first try meeting with just one good friend in a familiar place, and build up from here. You will soon find that the majority of your worries do not come true.

"88% of our worries won't come true." – Dr Jennifer Wild, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford

Don't forget to make a note in your worry diary of your experiments - they will be a great collection of evidence!

Tip #3 - Distraction

By focussing your attention on something completely different, your mind has less capacity

for your fears. A great example of distraction is learning something new: is there something you've always wanted to learn but never got around to? A new language, an art or craft, a martial art or dance? The list is endless, as are the opportunities. You can find a 'how-to' video for virtually anything on YouTube these days!

If learning something new seems a bit daunting, just increasing your exercise levels could help. Physical exercise requires focus and concentration, as well as releasing feel-good endorphins in the brain.

Tip #4 - Live in the present

Eckhart Tolle, in his book 'The Power of Now', teaches that the only time we should be focussed on is 'now'. What happened in the past cannot be changed, and what you think might happen in the future is just a guess. The 'now' is the only thing that is certain.

"What you think of as the past is a memory trace...of a former Now. The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind." – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1999)

It's a simple yet powerful concept which supports the act of mindfulness - noticing what is happening in the present moment without judgement.

Tip #5 - Relax

A woman is on a yoga mat in a large room with several windows. She is smiling in a lunge with one arm in the air, performing a yoga pose.

This is obviously easier said than done! But something as simple as releasing all the tension in your muscles, dropping your shoulders and breathing deeply can have a real, positive effect. If you find focussing on gentle movements calming, you could try yoga or tai chi. Or there are many complementary therapies available to help you relax and clear your mind, such as holistic massage, acupressure or reflexology.

Every person is different, so the key is to find what works for you.

And finally, be kind to yourself

Allow yourself permission to show self-compassion. If your best friend told you they were anxious about something, what would you say? Would you tell them to shut up and get on with it, or tell them that they're right and everything is going to be a catastrophe? No! You would be kind, soothing and reassuring, and you deserve to speak to yourself in the same way. However you manage today, you are good enough.

How do you manage your worries? Please feel free to share your own top tips in the comments section.

Further support

The Mental Health Foundation has produced a great summary of activities to help with anxiety, found here.

'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle can be purchased from most book suppliers, but can be found from Amazon here.

If you would like to try reflexology for relaxation, click here to book your appointment with me or visit the Association of Reflexologists 'Find a Reflexologist' page.

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