Anxiety has an association with fear; worry and or apprehension, and it can cause the behavioural and physical changes that prepare people to defend themselves against a threat, perhaps due to feelings of powerlessness or lack of control over a past or future event.
In situations that cause anxiety, certain areas in the brain activate as part of a fear response. Researchers have seen that people with high levels of anxiety have persistent activations in these areas of the brain.
The brain is wired to react to fearful situations with a fight or flight response. This response includes an increased heart rate so that the blood pumps to the organs faster and readies the muscles for action.
Here are 5 top tips to manage Anxiety.
1. Stop and Breathe
Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
- Breath in for 4 seconds
- Hold breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale breath for 8 seconds
The 4-7-8 technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries.
2. Be in the present
Ground yourself in the present by using the 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique.
- 5 things you can See.
- 4 things you can Touch.
- 3 things you can Hear.
- 2 things you can Smell.
- 1 thing you can Taste.
3. Understand your anxiety triggers
Journaling when you are feeling anxious is an excellent method to understand and notice trigger patterns. Accept that you cannot control everything.
4. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
Alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and can trigger panic attacks since they are both stimulants. They can stimulate your ‘flight or fight’ response.
5. Limit screen time before bed
Your phone, tablet, laptop emit a specific blue light that keeps your brain awake. Limit these to an hour before bedtime so that you can get a restful sleep. Instead consider listening to music or reading a book to quieten your mind.