Calming the mind and easing anxiety


Calming the mind and easing anxiety

Anxiety is a very common mental health condition, where individuals experience intense worry that they may struggle to control and can experience many side-effects as a result of this worry. For example, trouble concentrating or sleeping, heart palpitations, or dizziness. These symptoms can significantly impact daily life and cause significant distress. Fortunately, there has been a significant amount of research conducted looking at how to ease symptoms of anxiety, therefore, there are a number of techniques that can be implemented to help ease the symptoms being experienced.

Often with anxiety disorders, individuals may become overwhelmed by their worries, and focus overly on either past experiences or worry about the future. Therefore, one helpful tactic can be to ground yourself back in the present. By taking a moment to reset, you can rewire your thoughts and bring them back into the present moment. One way of doing this is by using the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique, which uses your senses to anchor you to the present moment. To use this method, you should do the following steps:
1. Identify 5 things you can see around you: just notice and focus on 5 things in your environment, these can be anything at all.
2. Then focus on 4 things you can touch: this could be the chair you are sitting on, the clothes you are wearing. Focus on the texture and feel of these items.
3. Listen for 3 things that you can hear: some of these sounds might be loud, or others might be harder to hear. Identify how these sounds make you feel.
4. Focus on 2 different things you can smell: perhaps this is the smell of freshly brewed coffee, or maybe clean washing.
5. Finally identify 1 thing that you can taste: maybe take a sip of a drink and think about what that tastes like.

This technique is just one strategy to bring you back to the present moment and ease your symptoms of anxiety. It can be a helpful strategy if you find yourself in a stressful situation, such as being in a large group of people, or if you are anxious when sitting an exam, and want to refocus on the questions.

Another highly beneficial treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT examines how your thoughts and behaviours interact with each other to create a sense of anxiety. It then tackles these thoughts, and challenges them, through a number of different techniques. By challenging them, you are able to take charge of them, and feel more in control of your anxiety. Over time, by completing the exercises associated with CBT, you will be able to implement the strategies that you have learnt and manage your anxiety yourself.

At the London Neurocognitive Clinic, our highly qualified team of psychologists are able to carry out CBT, and provide you with a number of strategies and exercises that can help you ease your anxiety, and overcome challenges in a consistent way.

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