Other coping strategies

Feeling anxious and tense is obviously not a good thing. But for people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD, it’s especially hard to relax and de-stress.

But luckily there are quite a few strategies we can use to relax. There are a whole variety of relaxation techniques, although it’s important to remember that proper relaxation is a skill that does take a little time to learn.

So how do we do this? 

Well, there are a number of books and CDs that give instructions on relaxation techniques; and there are also some good examples of guided meditation that you can download from the internet. Alternatively, you could go and see a counsellor who specialises in cognitive behaviour therapy or CBT.

Now, other people find that herbal remedies, such as valerian or camomile teas, work well for them. But you should always consult your GP about herbal remedies if you are taking any kind of prescribed medication.

Another technique which can be very useful if you find your muscles tensing up is called Progressive Muscular Relaxation or PMR. And this involves flexing and then relaxing each muscle group in turn.

And finally, there useful breathing techniques. For example – although this works best when you’re lying down – breathe in here at the stomach for a count of four... rest... and then breathe out for a count of 8... and rest... now do that for about 20 breaths or around 3 minutes, whenever you feel anxious.

The other important area to talk about is exercise. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block, getting off the bus a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way, taking the dog for a walk, or going for a stroll in the local park, are all helpful.

If you’re a more active person, then maybe going jogging or cycling, or even a regular session at the gym – any of these will give you a real endorphin boost. But do make sure you consult your GP before making changes to your exercise routine.

Now the key thing to remember is that anxiety builds up a lot of energy in the body, and exercise is a great way of using up that energy in a positive way. And, ideally it should be enjoyable, not a chore. After all, if it’s a walk through the local park or maybe a walk in the country what could be nicer…

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