All of us are susceptible to anxiety, even those of us that are poised and confident will experience doubt, panic, fear and anxiety at some point in our lives.
If you are experiencing these emotions & recurrent thoughts associated with them, it’s likely you have become stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety.
I know my anxiety goes into overdrive when I’ve got to do a presentation and I experience a combination of thoughts and emotions consisting of panic, doubt and avoidance.
In this moment I am plagued by overwhelming fear as I start to over think the situation before its even happened.
My stress levels build resulting in statements like “I’m going to stuff up, I’m going to embarrass myself.”
Next come the physical sensations, for me its increased heart rate, tense body, fidgeting and feeling flushed.
Over the years I’ve come to understand that this is my cycle of anxiety and buying into it intensifies the already negative thoughts, feeling and emotions I am experiencing.
Even though anxiety can be debilitating you can learn how to get on top of it through recognising onset of both your physical sensations and accompanying emotions, below are some tips that you may find useful:
- Slow Down Your Breathing become mindful of breathing and take slow deep breaths, to help calm and refocus yourself.
- Replace & Challenge Negative Thought Patterns anxiety is typically directed by unhelpful & irrational beliefs. Confronting these beliefs and substituting them with more balanced ones will allow you to view the situation rationally.
Once I’ve slowed down my breathing and feel calm, I engage in asking myself below set of questions taken from a worksheet available online via Therapist Aid Website which helps restructure my thoughts, view the situation more rationally and break my cycle of anxiety.
- Engage Help of a Friend relay what it is your anxious about, as they will view be able to provide you a differing perspective and talk through your anxiety with you which will likely assist to derail your anxious thinking and there is comfort in feeling heard, understood and encouraged by someone you trust!
- Seek Professional Support we all experience anxiety differently and if the intensity is preventing you from engaging in your daily activities, please seek professional help. Your GP is a good starting point as they can create a Mental Health Care Plan to access therapeutic sessions with a Mental Health Professional.
Don’t be disheartened if you need to engage extra support as anxiety affects us all differently and for some it can be problematic to overcome on our own.
Mental Health Professional can help you to identify your triggers, explore your early warning signs and provide you with a range of coping strategies.
Lastly be patient and kind to yourself as change takes time.
I’ll sign off with a quote I came across online, there are a few differing versions but it is a great mantra to adopt “Your anxiety is lying to you, you are loved and going to be okay.”
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Kym Marsden is a Queensland-based Indigenous forensic mental health coordinator