Tips on Coping with Anxiety

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The Cavan GROW Group, held at the National Learning Network in Cavan, recently discussed anxiety – what is anxiety, causes of anxiety and most importantly, tips on tackling anxiety.anxiety

Anxiety is characterised by fear and worry; ordinary things often become overwhelming. It is important to realise that your level of anxiety may not always be proportionate/appropriate to the situation.

Anxiety can cause sleep disruption and tension. Physical symptoms include sweaty palms, muscle cramps, stiffness and pain and a tightening feeling in the chest. Physical symptoms vary from individual to individual.

Worrying about your anxiety, increases your worry and can be a vicious cycle. Break that cycle by positive distraction, meditation/mindfulness, and focus on your breathing. GROW Blue Book – 1. Divert your attention. 2. Encourage yourself. 3. Take positive action.

Night fears can be experienced. It is important to recognise that these sensations or experiences are often not real. Be rational – if they are not real, you can ignore them and not be scared. Meditation/mindfulness can help with this. GROW Book –  “Be Rational. Answer the question: Is it certain, probable or only possible?”

Some of the group’s ideas are captured below.anxiety 2

Feeling Anxious? Here are some things that help:
  • Walking, massage, stretching, relaxation, body scanning/relaxation, meditation/mindfulness (for some people), positive distraction, concentrating on your breathing.
  • Different things work for different people and not everything is suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor.
  • It is important to work on tackling anxiety every day – it is vital to chip away at overcoming it, continually. This can take time but gradually you can learn to cope.
  • A panic attack can be exhausting. Once it has passed, have a cup of tea and a sit down. Tomorrow is another day. Try to learn not to fear the panic – it is just in your mind, you will be ok. Be positive and patient and you will improve little by little. As it states in the GROW book: “Live one day at a time.”
  • Medication does help but can leave you feeling tired.
  • It helps to talk. Seek help and support – family, a friend, GP, other professionals, GROW.
  • Believe you can come through it. As stated in the GROW book: “I am more durable than vulnerable”.
  • Face your fears and rationalise them – use the Four Stabilizing Questions in of Crisis Management – 1. Be definite 2. Be rational 3. Be wise 4. Be practical.
  • Try to understand your feelings.  Look at the GROW Book – Page 21 – on understanding feelings
  • Decentralise: “Look out at the big world not into your own little world”.
  • Try not to isolate yourself. Friendships are important. Don’t let your anxiety make you hide away. Take appropriate positive action. Build up slowly to facing your fears with support and help from others.Hello (1)

Other useful sections from the GROW Blue Book:

  • Step 8: We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination.
  • Step 9: We developed willpower to do the right thing in spite of our feelings.
  • Page 15: Essentials for the Journey
  • Page 17: Rules for Objective Thinking

Finally remember to “Often renew your will to change”  and “Rejoice in your new self”.

Every little victory is worth celebrating!