We’re presently living in times of great unpredictability & fear. This is unsettling for our minds and it can be very difficult to navigate our lives without experiencing extreme anxiety & uncertainty. So I’d like to set out some simple techniques that you can use to establish better mental health and more emotional equilibrium.
They are natural, self-help techniques. Many people respond very effectively to methods of managing anxiety that don’t involve medication. Lifestyle changes and holistic therapies such as I’ve noted below can be very effective in managing anxiety.
However, there is one powerful key ingredient that you need to be aware of! There’s a treasure of insights & techniques that I’ve written in this article, so it’s well worth your time to read them. I’ll reveal the magic dust at the end of the article.
The benefits of routine & ritual to start the day…
Daily routines and rituals bring a degree of predictability to an uncertain future. The daily habits & rituals can be as simple as awakening at the same time each day – whether week days and weekends, having a morning cuppa at the same time each day, walking the dog, exercising each morning, deep breathing each morning, as well as going to bed at the same time each evening. Having daily routines & rituals convinces our brains of constancy & predictability and helps to buffer us against uncertainty & anxiety.
It’s about repetition: repetition imposes order on the chaos of everyday life. Our brains are programmed to constantly look for patterns and repetition (whether positive or negative). We learn by repetition – do you remember learning your times tables at school by rote? I can still remember my times tables to this day, however, although I no doubt learned the dates of the reign of Henry VIII, I didn’t learn them in a pattern, or by rote, so I can’t easily remember them.
An identified & defined pattern at the start of each day convinces our mind of a sense of control and gives us a stable and positive approach to managing our day going forward.
It gives us a sense of calm, composure & wellbeing, and the repetitive nature of the routine/rituals, gives us a confidence that all will be well – that we can manage all bumps in our roads going forward.
Keeping your blood sugar in check…
It can be very tempting to resort to cheap, comfort food when we’re feeling overwhelmed with worries & anxieties such as chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps etc. However, even if you don’t have diabetes, this type of food can lead to blood sugar spikes & drops that make you irritable, jittery, uncomfortable & anxious.
Try to plan in advance to create meals that are as nutritious as you can afford, and invest in some basic fruits, veggies and nuts or seeds that you can snack on if you need. This will keep your blood sugars consistent and lead to less swings in moods & emotions.
When you’re feeling stressed or anguished, it can be easy to reach for another cup of tea or coffee, however, stimulants such as caffeine & nicotine can increase feelings of anxiety. Herbal or fruit teas, or even decaffeinated coffee are much better options for anxiety sufferers.
The power of the breath
I cannot stress enough the power of the breath in helping our minds and bodies to relax and de-stress. There are a multitude of breathing techniques – easily found on the internet.
One is called ‘Box Breathing’
Here are some benefits of Box Breathing:
- It can help you cope with anxiety, panic and stress when feeling overwhelmed.
- Helps you to sleep when you are having insomnia.
- Helps to control hyperventilation as you can instruct your lungs to breathe rhythmically.
- Helps you refocus when you are having a busy or stressful day.
- Eases panic and worry.
- Apparently Navy Seals regularly use box breathing!
Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in your nose to the count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale through the mouth for the count of 4, stay empty for the count of 4. Repeat for as long as you’d like. (Personally, I always like to make my out breath longer than my in breath – I breathe out for a count of 8 and I imagine all the anxiety, worry, stress and tension leaving my body as I breathe out. Note: if you feel at all light-headed, then stop. And don’t be driving or operating machinery or climbing ladders while doing this either! J)
Box Breathing is particularly effective because it distracts your mind as you’re counting while simultaneously calming your nervous system and decreasing stress in your body.
If you’re new to breathing techniques, it’s a powerful, but easy, way to get started!
Set boundaries with your phone
It’s relevant that I’ve included this technique after the breathing advice, because even with the best intentions, if you’re doing your breathing technique and then your phone rings, you’re going to be distracted and it will likely diminish the efficacy of the breathing techniques.
What I’m saying here is that it’s extremely important to set boundaries around when you’re willing to have the intrusion of the alerts of your calls, messages, social media and emails etc.
Allowing your phone to have that power over your life can easily trigger the brain chatter of “I must respond instantly” and can even create self doubt, comparison, imposter syndrome and mindless scrolling.
Be very specific with yourself.
Decide on the times and days where you’re not going to have your phone on. If necessary, alert friends, colleagues and/or family when that is going to be – so they don’t worry about being unable to contact you.
Very importantly – decide what you’re going to do for yourself when your phone is off!
Exercise/Walking/Moving Your Body
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article – routine is a powerful stabiliser when it comes to our emotions. So it’s really important and self-empowering to create regular scheduled movement of some sort into our daily/weekly lives. And it doesn’t have to cost anything.
Perhaps you already have a gym membership, perhaps you use the free downloadable apps. Maybe you dance to songs you listen to. However, walking is a great way to combine getting fit and being outdoors. I have a lovely downloadable free walking meditation.
Studies have demonstrated the anxiety-reducing benefits of spending time in nature. If you’d like to know more about that then get in touch!
The power of affirmations
We use affirmations all the time, every day, we just don’t realise that we’re doing so.
Mostly the affirmations are the negative ones, and we’re generally oblivious to the fact that we keep saying them to ourselves. However, we’re living their reality.
Have a read of my article on ‘The Power of Affirmations’ for more information and POSITIVE self-empowerment.
I’ve noted above some very effective techniques for helping to manage anxiety. There are many, many more that I’ll expand in my book. However, at the start, I mentioned the magic ingredient! So here it is …
Consistency is a commitment to yourself! And believe me, you’re worth it!
Here are the 7 steps to sustainable change!
- Recognising what needs to change
- Recognising and acknowledging the changes you intend to make
- Deciding on how you’re going to make the changes
- Adopting and integrating the changes
- Implementing them into your daily life and building the daily habits that will then positively change your thoughts, self-talk, behaviours and habits
- Consistency – When you’re consistent, you build the momentum you need to create the power and sustainable changes in your life. You’ll feel and experience the change.
- You own it! It’s loving and lasting!
It’s all very well for me to list all of those magic techniques above. However, even with the best will in the world, it can be difficult to keep consistent with them. However, hypnotherapy can bring those results to you more quickly and more deeply!
If you feel ready to make, feel & experience deep and significant, sustainable change in your life, I can help you.
All of the above is perfectly possible. I know this because that is what brought me back to a life of fulfillment from a very toxic life. It took me years to get there so I’ve developed a programme to help others regain the self-belief, empowerment & contentedness in their life.
If this is of interest to you, the please get in touch for a free Discovery Call. I can hear more about your concerns, give you information about how I work and answer any questions you have, so you can decide how you may like to go forward.