Anxiety: taking the bull by the horns

Anxiety is a tricky beast.

It often tiptoes up on you, only to jump out from sharp corners; flooding you with adrenaline and, more often than not, fear.

Whilst anxiety is a negative feeling for many people, its important to know that you do not have to live with it forever, and that it can actually be harnessed to achieve positive things in your life.

It is completely normal for most of us to feel stressed, anxious, or highly-strung form time to time due to work schedule, or other external issues. In many instances it can actually be a good motivator; our stress at work can make us more productive, it can make us consider our words and actions more carefully, sometimes it can even effect your workouts; making you push harder to get through it.

However, it becomes problematic when it starts to seep into regular life and affect it negatively. Having trouble sleeping for multiple nights in a row? Lost your appetite to that nawing sensation in your heart and stomach? Feeling stuck, trapped, or frozen in your decisions? This is when it may be time to reach out for help.

Despite being commonly misunderstood, anxiety is an extremely common condition to experience; in Australia it is estimated that at least 1 in 5 people will experience clinical levels of depression and anxiety each year, with many more experiencing milder symptoms. It can lead to;

  • low motivation
  • low self esteem
  • low self confidence

And when allowed to manifest, they can negatively affect

  • our relationships and friendships
  • jobs, and other life roles
  • Financial health and security
  • physical health and well being

So it is imperative that if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, to seek help when you can.

If seeking professional help isn’t something you are ready for (or perhaps outside of your budget), here are a few DIY solutions that may help nudge your way back to a more stress-free, positive way of living;

Herbal teas

Aromatherapy – many people have found lavender in their bathwater or on their pulse points to be wonderfully relaxing

Headspace – this nifty website is available on desktop and via the App Store/Play Store, and is a wonderful source for guided meditation. Not so into the idea of spending hours cross-legged on a mat? No problemo – Headspace meditation is broken into short 10-15 minute practices intended for daily participation, with the option to sign up for others. Pro tip: if you’re forgetful like I am; make use of the auto-notifications, which syncs the app to your calendar.

Vigorous (or relaxing) exercise – moving your body and getting your heart pumping can be an affordable, highly effective way to reduce your stress levels, whilst also improving your fitness at the same time! I have found that in times of stress or when I’m feeling low, going for a run, hike or yoga class can give me a totally refreshed outlook on life.

Finding a creative outlet – drawing; writing, crafts; get your hands dirty and work out all of those negative feelings! Sometimes putting it all on paper can help us see the solutions that may have evaded us before.

Arranging some ‘me’ time or a catch up with a loved one – having a heart-to-heart with someone you care about can be a helpful way to talk about your problems.

The important thing to remember is that anxiety is a very common experience for people, and there is no reason for you to feel alone. there are numerous free resources for counselling and support; such as BeyondBlue, HeadSpace, MindSpot and numerous others (depending on your city and country). If all else fails, get in touch! Always know you’ve got a friendly ear at WHL.

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