Mental Health Awarenes Week 2023 - Anxiety
This year's Mental Health Awareness Week is 15 to 21 May 2023 in the UK and the theme is anxiety.
From The Mental Health Foundation - Focusing on anxiety for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people's awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change - making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.
We've likely all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives, maybe without even realising.
Anxiety is very normal part of life and to be expected - it's nigh on impossible to completely remove it from our lives. However, problems can arise when anxiety affects us on a level whereby it dominates a significant proportion of our daily lives and/or that of others.
Anxiety can manifest in various ways and to varying degrees. Maybe you're a natural worrier and have had anxiety issues from early life. Maybe a traumatic life event has shaped the way you can cope and react to things that you might have usually taken in your stride. Other things like serious illness and increased financial pressures, losing a job, relationship difficulties, etc. can also bring on high levels of anxiety.
Below are some recommendations to reduce anxiety, according to The Mental Health Foundation. Please visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/public-engagement/mental-health-awareness-week/what-can-we-do-cope-feelings-anxiety for more detailed information on each point.
1. Focus on your breathing
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is suggested here.
2. Get moving
Exercise is a tried and tested method to help deal with anxiety. Even short, non-strenuous activities can make a big difference.
3. Keep a diary
This can help you understand how certain events may be triggering anxiety and maybe forming an understanding of those can help us be better prepared to deal with them.
4. Challenge your thoughts
Anxiety often makes us to repeatedly play out scenarios in our head that are unlikely to happen, and highly unlikely to occur in the severity we think they will. Writing them down and objectively challenging them can help reduce these thoughts.
5. Get support for money worries
Seek help if you're struggling financially and if it's causing you a lot of anxiety. There are people and organisations that can help you take steps to work it out.
6. Spend time in nature
Being outdoors amongst nature is a proven way to help feel less anxious and stressed. It can be as simple as spending time in your own garden or taking a short walk locally.
7. Connect with people and talk about how you feel
It's sometimes the hardest thing to do initially, but sharing your feelings and worries with others can really help lighten the load. Sometimes 'letting it out' a little can work wonders.
8. Try to get some quality sleep or rest
Anxiety can play havoc with getting a decent night's sleep. Suggested methods include keeping notes of your pre-bedtime routine to help identify possible adverse triggers or patterns and getting back up for a while if you're waking up a lot during the night.
9. Try to have a healthy diet
The quality of what we put into our body has an effect on how we feel in general. It works both ways - if we're anxious, we're more likely to reach for quick and unhealthy fixes such as sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.
Take a look at The Mental Health Foundation's website for articles, tips, blogs, videos and more.