It’s been completely normal to have felt some form of anxiety during this pandemic period, we are not alone feeling this way. You may have recently developed anxiety or experienced it before the pandemic, which could be worse now than ever before. A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that young adults between ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 44 reported more levels of depression and anxiety than those of older adults. In another study by researchers at DUKE-NUS Medical School, Singapore, found that one in three adults, mostly young women, and those of lower socioeconomic status are anxious and depressed due to the pressure and strain of the pandemic. Google searches for overcoming anxiety have been on the rise, more and more people around the world are seeking help.
Accept the reality that you have fear
The truth is that we all have fears, these fears can keep us up at night, affect our health and the relationships we have with others around us. It’s important to recognise and acknowledge these fears, this is the first step. Our minds are wired to constantly remind us of the worst outcomes of these fears, this is what causes our anxiety. We tend to overreact and amplify these thoughts, not realising that things are not as bad as we actually think they are. We need to change our thinking around these outcomes and build resilience for how we can manage our greatest fears.
It all starts with the breath
Breathing is critical for managing anxiety, it gives us grounding and a platform to find our balance. Focus on your breath as you start to feel anxious thoughts, this will help calm your thoughts and lower your heart rate. Breathing is essential for living, so let it be an essential tool for your well-being. Breathing and meditation go hand in hand, have a read of how you can start a meditation practice today.
The mind as a train station
Imagine our mind as a very busy train station that is always open. The trains are our thoughts that go through our mind (the station) each day. For every train that stops at the station, we give it our full attention and awareness. When we are anxious, more trains start stopping and we let them stay on the platform without allowing them to go straight through the station. Most of the trains can be let through without the need for stopping. Watch for these trains as they are approach the station, acknowledge them, and then let them pass.
Letting go of resentments through compassion
Holding resentment and grudges towards others can cause mental strain. That time that we spend thinking about resenting others can be used for more positive and productive thoughts. We need to practice compassion and learn to forgive, we are all human and have flaws.
Work a sweat
Exercise is a great way to have fun, lose weight, clear your arteries and manage anxiety. Research shows aerobic exercise can help reduce stress. We when exercise, our attention is on the workout, this takes our mind away from our anxious thoughts. Exercise also releases serotonin inside our brain, this hormone is known as the happy hormone. Next time you decide to workout, take it outdoors. You will enjoy some fresh air and a healthy dose of sunshine!
Remember that you can always seek help from a medical professional, dealing with anxiety is something you don’t need to confront on your own. If you need to speak to someone today, do a quick online search for hotlines in your area.