'BOTTOM-UP' SELF-HELP FOR MANAGING ANXIETY!
What Can Cause Anxiety?
We need a certain amount of healthy stress in our lives but when this is prolonged or excessive it can become harmful. In the same way, feeling a bit anxious at times is also normal. But excessive anxiety is when you feel really worried or stressed and this affects you negatively and stops you from living and enjoying life to the full!
Anxiety can be linked to certain situations that are triggering such as work or social events. Or it can happen when you're going through a tough time or have to do something that makes you nervous, like speaking in public or taking tests.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition where a person feels excessive worry and fear about various aspects of their life, even when there is no immediate threat or reason to be anxious.
What are the Signs of Anxiety?
Anxiety can make you avoid things you might enjoy, like going out with friends or trying new things.It can limit you in career, relationships and your general sense of happiness. It can also make you procrastinate, worry too much, and even feel sick with symptoms like a queasy stomach, trouble sleeping, or neck and shoulder pain.
People with GAD often find it hard to control their worrying and may experience physical symptoms like restlessness, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating. This anxiety can interfere with daily activities and lead to a constant sense of unease.
How Can We Help Reduce Anxiety?
In my work, I use a technique called Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) to figure out why my clients feel anxious now. Even though anxiety is cropping up now, it's usually linked to things that happened when you were younger (often during childhood). By understanding the root and reasons behind the anxiety, my clients can start to let go of it and feel better, calmer and more confident.
I also teach my clients some simple things they can do in their daily lives to feel less anxious. Three of these tricks are "bottom-up" techniques, which help your body relax first, and that can make your mind feel better too.·
What Does it Mean to Teat Anxiety from the 'Bottom-Up'?
When we talk about "bottom-up" solutions for dealing with anxiety, we're talking about ways to help yourself feel better by starting with your body and senses. These methods, like taking slow deep breaths, relaxing your muscles, practicing mindfulness, or using techniques that help you feel connected to your surroundings, are all part of these bottom-up solutions. They work by calming your body first, which can then make your anxious thoughts and feelings become less intense. It's like calming the storm in your body to make your mind feel better. This is different from "top-down" approaches, which focus more on changing how you think and feel directly. Both approaches can be helpful for managing anxiety, and they often work best when used together.
Here Are Three Lifestyle Tips for Relieving Anxiety
* Breathe: It sounds obvious but many of us are not breathing properly and therefore we are not utilizing our best tool to settle the nervous system and create more calm in the mind and body. A simple tool to use is the 7-11 breath. This can help you reduce stress in a relatively short time and in the moment, plus if you do it regularly, you will feel calmer generally. How to do it: Simply breathe in through the nostrils for a count of 7 and exhale through the nose or mouth for the count of 11.
Some tips to get the most of this technique:
Make sure you’re doing deep ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ rather than shallower lung breathing. This means breathing as deep down into your stomach as you can. Your diaphragm should be moving down and pushing your stomach when you take a breath. If you find it difficult to breathe for the full 7 and 11, then you can reduce it to a 3-5 count. Just make sure that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath. Practice this technique for 5-10 minutes, as often as you want to.
* Walk: The continual movement, fresh air and change of environment of getting out and taking a walk can really help to elevate positive thoughts and to change your mindset to a more helpful state of being. Try to walk daily and for at least 20 minutes. As you walk be mindful of your feet making contact with the ground. Relax and notice the sights and sounds that are around you. Swing your arms gently as you walk and rotate your shoulders from time to time, to loosen any tension that may be stuck there. You can listen to some of your favourite music or even an audio book or podcast if you like. I can’t tell you enough how much walking can alleviate stress and improve your mood. It’s such a simple solution really!
* Liquids: What you put in your body in the form of fluids is super-important. The first things I advise my clients to reduce are caffeine and alcohol. There is scientific evidence that both these stimulants can alter the brain’s chemistry and both are linked to possible increases in anxiety symptoms. Sugary drinks should also be avoided as they can cause highs and lows in the blood sugar levels which can alter the mood and cause an imbalance in the body. Instead of caffeine, alcohol or fizzy, sugary drinks, drink plenty of water and try chamomile tea which has calming effects on the body and mind. If you’re like me and you’re a real coffee fan just try to reduce your intake to 1-2 small cups per day. (Some of my clients are drinking a lot more than that and that’s when they start to feel jittery, shaky, heart beating quickly etc).
Thanks for reading and I hope these tips help you or someone who is struggling at the moment. Please do reach out if you want more support and help with anxiety. Hypnotherapy & RTT can be simple and effective solutions to help you cope and overcome these periods in your life.