Rapid heart rate
Difficulty thinking clearly
Does this sound familiar? Well for me it certainly does!
The aim of this blog is not to pretend I am an expert in this area but to share my experiences. Worry and anxiety is not one size fits all and this is just a very small account of my experiences… to go into full detail would make this a very long blog and I do not want you falling asleep whilst you read it!
If you can’t tell I have been very worried about uploading this blog- I have been worried I may offend someone who has a totally different experience to me and worry about what people will think about my experience- a blog about worry and anxiety resulting in me worrying about the blog… ironic eh?
I have always been known as Little Miss Worry, anyone that knows me well will know that I worry about everything! You only have to ask my mum and she will tell you this is not new, I have always struggled with the feeling of worry.
I worry on a daily basis and this is just how I am. Although it may sound silly, I can worry about what people think about me, what I have said, what I have done and worry about things that are out of my control.
Some days are worse than others and this is when I would describe myself as experiencing anxiety. Although I may be known as Little Miss Worry, not everyone will know the full extent that this worry can develop into.
Let’s start with the word Anxiety, it is a word used to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight response’– our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened. We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s common to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you’re facing.
For most people, feelings of anxiety come and go, only lasting a short time. Some moments of anxiety are more brief than others, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. But for some people, these feelings of anxiety are more than just passing worries or a stressful day at work. Your anxiety may not go away for many weeks, months, or years. It can worsen over time, sometimes becoming so severe that it interferes with your daily life.
For me, I will always know that my usual “worry” has developed into anxiety when my usual coping strategies take much more focus and attention. It becomes so much harder to think positively, realistically and to actually ease my feelings and thoughts.
It will also start affecting my daily life, for example; if I am feeling anxious just leaving the house can be a task. I will often panic that the cooker has been left on and check it at least 3 times, I will check the fridge door is shut…at least 3 times, I will check the taps are off…at least 3 times and check the front door is locked…yes you guessed it, at least 3 times!
For me, this is when I know I am struggling and I will over think EVERYTHING…believe it or not this can be exhausting!
However, over time I have been able to reflect on this. I believe my job helps me with this as it encourages a lot of reflection and learning about who you are as a person. Friends, family and colleagues have all helped with my coping strategies along the way too and I feel very lucky to have their understanding and support.
Coping Strategies and Techniques (that work for me!)
Talking; Do not keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself! Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with. Do not feel embarrassed to say how you are feeling. Bottling it all up is unhealthy and can make feelings of worry and anxiety much worse!
The Broken Record Technique; I have often been told to allow myself to let my thoughts be processed and then let them pass- however, some days this just does not cut it! The more I allow that thought to be processed the more anxious I feel!
I tend to use the broken record technique which involves not allowing that thought into your mind and blocking it with a positive affirmation and repeating it.
Exercise; Feeling worried or anxious can often be exhausting and make you not feel like exercising. But even a short walk can be beneficial to your emotional health.
Mindfulness; Helps bring awareness to our thoughts and feelings, bringing us to the present moment. It can positively change the way we see ourselves and help us enjoy the world around us. If a class is not for you, there are many useful apps!
CBT; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; A talking therapy with useful coping strategies if you feel trapped in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and feelings. It can help you to recognize the link between are thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.
Reflection; Being reflective can help in many different ways. Reflecting on past experiences and what the outcome was can help you to think more clearly and realistically. How many times has something you worried about actually happened? Quite often the answer is never!
Did you know….
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
We all try to look after our physical health but can often forget about our mental health. Everyone can be affected at some time in their lives so let’s tackle the stigma that seems to surround discussing mental health and raise awareness so no-one feels alone.
Let’s spread a positive message- Let’s Talk Mental Health