The UK celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week commencing 15th of May 2023. The theme for this year is Anxiety – apt considering how many people experience anxiety and anxiety disorders. Look out for our infographic at the bottom of the page: Ways to Manage Anxiety.
First lets explore why managing anxiety can be so challenging to navigate:
Anxiety is complex in nature! It is a multifaceted condition that can have various causes and manifestations. It often involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. The intricate nature of anxiety makes it difficult to pinpoint a single solution that works for everyone.
Individual Differences: Each person’s experience of anxiety is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. Finding effective coping strategies requires self-awareness and experimentation to determine what methods work best for managing individual anxiety symptoms.
Persistent Nature: Anxiety can be a chronic condition, meaning it may persist over long periods. Unlike acute stress or fear, which typically subside once the triggering situation has passed, anxiety can linger even in the absence of an immediate threat. This persistent nature can make it challenging to manage anxiety on a day-to-day basis.
Overthinking and Worry: Anxiety often involves excessive worry and rumination. People with anxiety tend to have racing thoughts and may engage in catastrophic thinking, imagining worst-case scenarios. Breaking free from this cycle of overthinking can be difficult and requires cognitive and emotional regulation techniques.
Physical Symptoms: Anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal discomfort. These physical sensations can further intensify anxiety and create a cycle of fear and worry. Managing both the psychological and physical aspects of anxiety can be demanding.
Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to anxiety. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, and sedentary behaviour can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Addressing these factors and making lifestyle changes can be challenging but can significantly impact anxiety management.
Stigma and Misunderstanding: Despite growing awareness about mental health, there can still be a stigma surrounding anxiety and seeking help for it. This stigma, along with the general lack of understanding about anxiety disorders, can make it difficult for individuals to reach out for support and access appropriate resources.
It’s important to remember that while managing anxiety can be challenging, it is possible to find effective strategies and treatments with time and perseverance. It often involves a combination of self-help techniques, therapy, medication (if necessary), and support from loved ones and exploring workplace support too.
Grab a copy of our infographic for sharing: Managing Anxiety