5 Tips to reduce anxiety

This Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on anxiety. Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events.

Jen Wood, Wellbeing Consultant, Restoration Yard

Our Wellbeing Consultant - Jen Wood - shares her thoughts around anxiety: “I work with my clients to understand what triggers their anxious thoughts and feelings. If they can identify habits that maintain the cycle of worry and panic, we can work together to help them break it. They can learn to reconnect to their inner strength, wisdom and resilience. The most useful anti-anxiety tool that we all have available to us is our breath. Deep, slow abdominal breathing can really help.”

So what can we do about it?

Anxiety is something we can all experience from time-to time. There are lots of reasons why we get this feeling. If we don’t know how to cope with our feelings of anxiety, they can get out of control and stop us from doing the things we need or want to do. The more often and the longer we feel anxious, the more it can become a problem.

Here are some helpful tips that may help you reduce your anxiety:

1. Get quality sleep

Sleep is the foundation to good mental and physical health. If you aren’t sleeping well, you are more vulnerable to anxiety. We should all be getting 7 – 9 hours sleep each night so if you’re well under that, it may be time to focus on getting some more shut eye.

2. Spend time in nature

We know that spending time in nature has a positive impact on our mental health. It can help us feel calmer and less stressed. This can be as simple as gardening tasks or a daily walk in your area. Spending an hour or longer connecting with nature is proven to have a positive impact on mental health.

Our home here, Dalkeith Country Park, is the perfect place to get outdoors and appreciate all that nature has to offer. Why not try one of the waymarked trails?

3. Move your body

Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem. Jen Wood, Restoration Yard's Wellbeing Consultant, encourages her clients to get outside first thing in the morning and do five minutes of aerobic exercise like skipping, using a mini trampoline or dancing, as this can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

4. Connect with people

Anxiety can feel very lonely. Connecting with other people can help a lot. Sometimes saying what’s worrying you out loud can take away its power over you. Famous family therapist Virginia Satir said, ‘We need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.’ Even if it’s just your teddy, where could you get a hug today?

5. Practice gratitude

Before you go to bed, remember 3 things about the day that went well or that you feel grateful for. It’s very useful to write them down, but the most important thing is that you re-live the positive emotion using all your senses.

Further Information & Support

Focusing on anxiety for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people's awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. If your feelings of anxiety are not going away, are having a negative impact on your life, or often prevent you from doing things you need or want to do, seek support through the Mental Health Foundation.