How to cope with anxiety in an anxious world.
War, poverty, disease, terrorism, these are just a few of the threats we have been subjected to in recent years.
But regardless of the likelihood of threat, the aftermath can be hugely detrimental. Many of my clients have been left feeling uncomfortable about large crowds, attending public events and even taking public transport after a terrorist attack. For those who suffer with anxiety already, it has been particularly challenging.
It’s common for us all to be affected by anxiety.
Anxiety is a human emotion, just like sadness or anger. It’s characterised by a feeling of inner turmoil often accompanied by nervous behaviour. As a species we have a natural instinct for survival so are hard-wired to sense danger. But rather than being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger, we are just trying to navigate public transport during rush hour! Sadly our bodies just can’t tell the difference between stress and life-threatening stress.
In modern society we are constantly bombarded with images and language that can potentially cause anxiety. As a small child perhaps you were told to ‘be careful’ or ‘don’t talk to strangers’. As a mother of a toddler, I catch myself telling my daughter to be careful on quite a regular basis. It’s almost impossible for me to control; I just have such a strong urge to ensure my child is kept safe and secure.
Don’t get me wrong. This is normal. Our parents want to keep us safe. But what about images or language that we hear in the media, something we are exposed to on a regular basis? Does this help us to feel safe, or more fearful?
The role of the media
Have you noticed how many advertisements use fear based tactics to help you buy their products? Use this mouthwash or your gums will bleed and your teeth will fall out. Wear this perfume or you’ll end up alone and undesirable. This might sound extreme, but next time you watch TV, take note!
Anxiety can take on many different forms and with a number of different causation’s. For some it can be debilitating. One my client’s was unable to use any form of public transport without having a panic attack. This anxiety came on when she lost a close family member and suddenly she no longer felt safe. For another client she was unable to watch the news as it would make her physically sick. Many of my clients have come to hide their anxiety so well that other people wouldn’t be able to tell.
When I work with a client, I am looking for the root cause of their health complaint. In homeopathy there are a number of different homeopathic remedies for anxiety, but they need to be specifically tailored to you in order to be beneficial. I see a lot of anxiety stemming from toxicity for example. Anxiety that came on after frequent antibiotic use or from taking the pill. If this is the case then a detox with remedies would be the best course of action.
Alongside homeopathic remedies, here are my 3 top tips for coping with anxiety:
- Breathe! Sounds so simple, right? But shallow breathing tells our body we are in a state of high alert. To create feelings of calm we need to breathe right into the lower part of our abdomen. Try to do 10 rounds of breaths. Do a count of 5 for in through the nose, then have a 2 second pause and 7 counts through the mouth for out.
- Use positive affirmations. What we think tells our body how to feel. If we think that we are stressed, anxious or worried, then guess what, we will feel that way! It’s important to find an inner dialogue that counteracts this. Sometimes when I’m driving and feel anxious, I just repeat (out loud) what I am doing in a monotone voice. ‘Now I’m turning right. Now I am stationary in the traffic and there’s a red car ahead of me’. It keeps my brain thinking but without the emotion. Same for other stressful situations, use positive words like ‘I am calm and feel relaxed’, ‘my presentation will go well’. They may not feel true initially but your body will respond and begin to feel calmer once it gets used to it. Challenge your negative thoughts about yourself too. Are you really useless and ugly? Of course you’re not.
- Write down your worries. Without judgement and without intention to read what you have written, write down everything in your mind right now. Just spill the words out as they come. It doesn’t need to make sense, it just needs to be about releasing the emotion. Write 3 pages and then stop. You can either keep it as a reminder how you’re progressing out of that place or you can throw it away. Either way, notice how much less baggage you have after you discharge it to paper.
I hope you have found my tips helpful. If you have any tips of your own, then I would love you to share them with me! Please just comment below.
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I suffered from panic attacks in the past, at least 5-6 times, and ended up at the A&E twice as my body was completely frozen and hard. Scary . . . Doing some meditation and positive affirmations surely helped me but I never wrote a journal. I guess you need to get into the habit. Thanks for sharing your tips!
Hi Valentina, thank you for your comment and sharing your story, I’m sure your tips will also be very helpful for others who are reading this article. I hope your panic attacks are better under control now but please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to try homeopathy. Many thanks, Claire