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The Essential Steps to Healing Anxiety

Updated: Mar 8, 2023



Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. When we are anxious, we might have feelings of fear, worry, and apprehension, and it can interfere with daily life.


While anxiety can be challenging to manage, there are some essential steps you can take to help heal and manage your symptoms.


Below, I share some of what I believe are among the most crucial steps you can take to help ease your anxiety:


1. Recognise and Accept Your Anxiety - The first step in healing anxiety is to acknowledge that you are experiencing it.


I expect that you’ve tried to push your feelings away when you feel anxiety, because they're awful! But, it doesn’t work, does it? Instead of pushing them away, one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is to acknowledge your feelings of anxiety. Notice them and acknowledge them. And to do this without judgement. No 'I'm being silly', 'I should.....' 'Why can I just....'. Judgement is not helpful here - you need to learn a new narrative, like 'I'm feeling anxious because... and that is understandable, and lots of other people would feel the same way if they had to....'. If you find this hard to do, then imagine what you would say to your favourite person if they were feeling anxious, and then say that to yourself.


2. Identify Triggers - Once you've acknowledged your anxiety, it's important to notice what your triggers are.


Triggers are situations, people, or things that make you feel anxious. By identifying them, you can avoid or manage them.


But don't stay behind the trigger, peak over that wall and imagine what it might be like not being triggered. Imagine change. You don't have to do anything else right now, just imagine what it feel like.


3. Practice Relaxation Techniques - This one isn’t for everyone!


Well, it is for almost everyone, but I want to acknowledge that it can be hard to make yourself do this and everyone has to find their own way to practices, such as deep breathing or meditation. They can be really useful in managing your anxiety.


Practising meditation and breathing exercise can help you calm your mind, reduce stress, and bring feelings of relaxation and well-being.


But the most important reason I use mediation and deep breathing is that they help calm your nervous system down; so that when you are anxious, you’re not starting from an 8, but maybe a 4 instead.


Practices such as a short daily meditation can also be extremely useful in learning how your body feels when it isn’t holding all that tension and anxiety, so that you know what to aim for when trying to calm your anxiety.


If you don't use meditation or breathing exercises already, and you would like to try it, find a 10 minute video on YouTube to guide you through (you can try one 👉 https://youtu.be/67SeR3LxtdI). Do it without any judgement on yourself, particularly if you find it hard to relax or stay listening to the guide. It's all okay. Don't give up though, it takes practice, for everyone!


Just a note of caution here though. Calming everything down and going inside yourself can be triggering for some people, so please take care to look after yourself. You don't have to do meditation, it can be helpful but it's not the only thing that can help. So, if it's not good for you, notice that and leave it.


4. Exercise Regularly


In contrast to the relaxation techniques I mention above, once you are anxious, you might want to move your body instead. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, so exercise can be an effective way to manage or reduce your anxiety symptoms.


5. Seeking Professional Help - If your anxiety symptoms are severe or interfering with your daily life, seeking professional help is essential.


A mental health professional, such as a counsellor, or even your GP to discuss your symptoms, can help you come up with a treatment plan. I know, I would say this, wouldn't I? but I think that plan should include counselling. It might also include medication, and perhaps a combination of both.


6. Take Care of Yourself


I know there’s a lot of talk about self-care now, and some people worry it means being selfish. But meeting your own needs and taking care of yourself is essential for us all and it’s crucial when it comes to managing anxiety.


Self-care definitely includes:

  • getting enough sleep

  • eating good food, and

  • limiting anything that might exacerbate your anxiety symptoms, such as caffeine, alcohol and smoking.


Anxiety can be challenging to live with when it impacts you on a daily basis. As a therapist, alongside encouraging you to try some of the above suggestions, I would want to work with you to understand the causes of your anxiety, to reflect on how they are showing up today, and then to work to heal those; but using the above steps as self-help will go a long way to easing your anxiety.


It is possible to ease your anxiety and to live a fulfilling life. Remember, you've probably been anxious for a long time, and so healing takes time. Be patient and kind to yourself.


Anne Lewis


If you would like to work with me, or to discuss any of the above, you can get in touch with me at anne@annelewistherapy.co.uk

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