It’s World Mental Health Awareness week, and this year’s theme is anxiety.
Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including pressures in work and personal life and the whole range of life events. The rising cost of living has also added to daily stress as people worry about not being able to meet their basic needs.
It’s easy to feel powerless when anxiety starts to take hold, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are three really simple things you can do to reduce stress:
First, at the start of a day, take a moment to think about how the day might go. Make a point of listing the important things that you want to achieve. It’s good to include personal things too, whether it’s a WhatsApp message to a friend, or reaching out to a neighbour you see from time to time.
Decide which ‘tasks’ are most important, and list them in the right order. Tick items off as you go through the day and get ready for the boost from the sense of achievement!
Second: If you do start to feel anxious, breathing can help. We can often end up holding our breath – especially when under stress. Using exercises to focus on cardiac muscles has a calming influence on body and mind. It can make the difference between panic or calm.
The best thing about these exercises? You can do them anywhere. Here’s how:
- Breathe deeply through your mouth, make sure the breath reaches into your diaphragm
- Hold for four seconds
- Breathe out, count to six seconds as you do
- Hold for two or three seconds and then repeat
Third, finally at the end of the day, go back to your list. Celebrate your achievements and think of three things that went well. Don’t think about what other people might think – anything positive is worth noting. Reflecting on day-to-day triumphs, no matter how small, helps you take charge.
These actions help because positive action is a reminder that you can make a difference to your state of mind. If you are feeling overwhelmed at any point, they help regain focus let you rebalance.
Stress can get to everyone – join us in Mental Health Awareness Week by taking stock and keeping an eye out for the people around us. Be a mental health champion and reap the benefits!