Anxiety is like the troll that lives under the bridge. It lurks in the dark corners of your mind and jumps out and takes control of your thoughts at the slightest provocation. It can make you feel like you are out of control; your blood pressure rises, your heart beats faster and you can’t shake a sense of impending doom.
In some situations, anxiety is a perfectly normal response. You may have a fear of public speaking, or you get nervous when you go for a job interview, or your racing heart stops you from parachuting out of a plane. When it gets out of control and you can’t shake it for a very long period of time, anxiety is classified as a mental health disorder that needs to be medically managed.
ANXIETY IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS
A lot of people struggle with a fear of being scrutinised or judged by other people. Think about how you feel when you walk into a crowded room or stand up in front of your boss in the boardroom to deliver your latest business report. Situations like these often make us nervous. Our palms sweat, we breathe harder and our heart beats faster. But, we pull up our socks and push our way through.
In the world we live in today, there are even more causes of social anxiety than ever before. With the popularity of social media consistently growing there are more and more ways for us to compare ourselves to others¹. Watching other people’s highlights on social media can leave us feeling inadequate. I’m not pretty enough, or rich enough, or experienced enough. Anxiety creeps in and can cause damage to our self esteem.
The Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns, and social distancing that have been enforced in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, has not helped people who are prone to social anxiety². We have had to stay at home, away from friends, family and colleagues, not being allowed to practise our social skills. For those who suffer from social anxiety, lockdowns were a reprieve from their normal daily stressors³. But now that the world is returning to some form of normality we can no longer hide behind our screens and social anxiety levels are climbing.
USE THESE 8 SUGGESTIONS TO MANAGE YOUR ANXIETY
Thankfully there are some simple ways for us to manage our everyday anxiety:
Research has shown that mindfulness meditation is a useful practice for managing anxiety⁴. Have a look at our comfortable, sustainable meditation cushions to make sure your next meditation session reduces your anxiety.
2. Healthy diet
What you choose to eat has a role to play in your physical and mental health. That is why eating a healthy balanced diet that provides your body with all of the energy and nutrients it requires lays the foundation for good mental health⁵.
3. Limit caffeine intake
Before you reach for another cup of your favourite java, remember that caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Too much caffeine can make you feel jittery and anxious. Limit your intake of caffeine to about 400mg per day, which is the equivalent of four cups of coffee⁶.
Exercise, including yoga, is known to reduce stress and keep you healthy. Next time you are feeling a bit anxious, lay down your sustainable cork yoga mat and gently move your body, while practising mindfulness to ease your stress.
The benefits of sleep for mental health cannot be denied⁷. It is important to make sure you switch off the TV early enough to allow for the recommended eight hours of sleep every night.
6. Reduce alcohol intake
This one could go both ways. The social aspect of meeting your friends at the pub for a drink can help ease your anxiety. But, if you overdo it, you will be doing more harm than good⁸.
7. Essential oils
If you don’t already have a stylish essential oil burner, consider adding one to your shopping cart. Essential oils such as lavender, rose, orange, and sandalwood have been shown to help calm the mind.
Pick a time everyday when you can take ten minutes to think about the things you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to be an effective tool in managing anxiety⁹.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ANXIETY
Anxiety may be a scary troll that rears its ugly head from time to time, but it is a problem that can be easily dealt with. Taking time to look after yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually can prevent your anxiety troll from growing into a giant. Meditation, yoga and essential oils are just three simple ways you can take charge of your mental health so that anxiety does not become a problem for you.