Why are we all so worried?
Young women are particularly vulnerable to anxiety but there are lots of things you can do to help yourself.
If you suspect you are suffering from anxiety, make an appointment with your GP or contact a support group.
Don’t self-diagnose your anxiety.
Anxiety is never your fault. Neither is it an innate part of who you are. Change is possible.
Don’t let guilt, shame or fear stop you from getting help for your anxiety. You are not alone and you can get better.
You are a brilliant human being and way more capable than you think!
Anxiety: your biggest teacher
You have the power to make anxiety a totally manageable part of your life.
Many of the reasons for anxiety are learnt, and you can unlearn them, even if genetic factors or traumatic or stressful events have affected you.
Meditation is one of the single most powerful tools you have to rewire your brain to make it less prone to anxiety.
With as little as ten minutes focused practice a day you can be well on your way to bringing your anxiety under control.
Feeling that nothing we do is good enough and that we must be perfect in order to be loved is practically a universal anxiety.
The antidote to this perfectionism is healthy and realistic self-esteem.
Healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean being an egotistical monster. It means believing that you are an intrinsically valuable person, just as you are, and being as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend.
When we have healthy self-esteem we stop worrying what other people think of us, stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on our own goals and pleasures.
Anxiety about making decisions often stems from fear of failure, but there’s no such thing as the perfect decision. What matters is how you approach the outcome.
Too much choice can be a bad thing, and decision fatigue is very real. Consider streamlining your life so that you have fewer decisions to make.
Intuitive decision-making is often just as effective as analytical reasoning, and way less exhausting than over-thinking everything. Trust your gut feelings.
Procrastination can be a way to protect ourselves from having to make a decision. It goes hand in hand with anxiety, but it can be tamed!
Relax, nothing is under control
The answer to most of your uncertainties is: ‘No matter what happens, I’ll handle it.’
Float with anxiety rather than trying to fight it.
Sometimes, surrendering and letting go is the best way to regain a sense of control.
Don’t avoid the things that scare you. Taking action and leaning in to situations increases your confidence because you learn that you can cope. It teaches your brain that the situation is not actually dangerous and so it reduces the fight-or-flight response.
It’s all about the brain – not the ass!
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to manage anxiety; it lowers stress hormones, helps your brain to recover from over-worrying, produces mood-boosting endorphins and quietens mental chatter.
Treat exercise as an aspect of self-care, not as another thing on your to-do list. Find something you love to do.
Start slowly and build up. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere.
For best results, exercise outdoors and/or with a friend.
Eating to beat anxiety
Your diet doesn’t need to be yet another source of stress. Food is not the enemy and small changes, which can have a big positive impact on your anxiety levels, are better and more sustainable than extreme measures.
Eating quickly or in a stressed state makes it more difficult for your digestive system to function. Slow down, and stop multitasking when you eat!
A great anti-anxiety diet limits sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy veg, broccoli, oily fish and dark berries. Avoid pro-inflammatory fried foods, processed meats and sugar.
Eat mindfully by savouring every bite, and try to see your food as an aspect of self-care: eat like you love yourself.
Most importantly, enjoy your food!