Jul 11, 2024 | Mental Health

Anxiety Relief: Practical Tips and Techniques

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Last week, we spoke about the term, high functioning anxiety, which can often be insensitive, minimizing and harmful. It is important to understand the daily challenges of individuals with anxiety, and how to offer support when needed. Read on to learn how to help manage anxiety symptoms.

Utilize technology  

There are a variety of resources available online but be cautious that you are using resources from credible sources and not taking advice from any and every blogger and influencer on the internet. Social media is another great place to find mental health tips and tricks.  

There are also some helpful apps that can guide you through breathing exercises, sleep stories, and meditations to help when you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, like Calm and Headspace. Calming apps are beneficial in the moment when you are triggered by certain situations. Listening to music or a podcast while running errands can also help keep you grounded, and your brain focused on something you enjoy.  

Apps like Bearable are great for visualizing your health and symptoms, enabling you to monitor trends and patterns.   

Write it out  

While overthinking and replaying interactions, our brains can often make us believe things that aren’t true. Writing out your feelings onto paper can lighten your mental load. It can also be beneficial to read back what you have written so that you can reflect, and better understand your feelings. Keep track of your symptoms, and what you did, so that you can learn what does and doesn’t work for your anxiety.   

Journalling daily will allow you to express yourself free of judgement and is a wonderful tool to use not only for yourself, but if you are currently in, or considering, therapy so that you have a record of what you have experienced, and what you have tried to combat those feelings.    

Incorporate movement 

It is easy to find excuses not to exercise, but your body and your mind will thank you when you do. The key to sticking with a workout schedule is finding something you enjoy. Whether that be walking outside, cycling, or a fitness class, do something that helps you release anxious energy.  

“Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.”

Harvard Health 

When you are experiencing anxiety, moving your body in small ways can often help. This could mean a quick stretch, turning on your favourite song and dancing, jumping in the same spot, or changing where you are sitting at home or at work. Movement can help distract your brain and allow you to refocus.  

“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”

– ADAA.org 

Cold exposure may also help when you are in the depths of anxiety. While we know it doesn’t sound enjoyable, it may be just what you need. When you feel your anxiety brewing to the surface, consider taking a cold shower, splashing cold water on your face, run your wrists under cold water, or apply cold packs to your chest, neck or face.  

Talk it out  

Individuals living with anxiety often feel alone. The more we talk about mental health, we lessen the stigma and people won’t feel as isolated. Saying your thoughts and feelings out loud to someone you trust can offer a different perspective. Whether it be a family member, friend, or mental health professional, talking about your struggles can make a significant difference on your mental health.   

Reaching out and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. You are incredibly strong for acknowledging your struggle and the first step begins with seeking support.  

There is no “cure” for anxiety. Rather, there are resources and actions you can take to help reduce your symptoms to help you live a fuller life with less anxiety.   

If you or someone you know is struggling with an anxiety disorder, please reach out for help.

In Alberta, you can call 1-877-303-2642 to reach the Mental Health Helpline. This service is available 24/7 to provide support, information, and referrals to Albertans experiencing mental health concerns. For more support resources across Canada, view these links

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