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Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)

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Topic: SELF HELP TIPS FOR MANAGING ANXIETY

  1. Haraldo
    Haraldo  avatar
    8 posts
    23 September 2021

    Hello

    Something that helps me is framing anxiety as future related and depression as past related.

    So being present is really helpful for both.

    I use exercise and grounding techniques to be present in my body now - especially if I'm starting to have panic attacks or depression is getting on top of me.

    Walking is a really simple exercise you can do for free practically anywhere. And paying attention while you're walking to your breath and your muscles and how you pick your legs up and place your feet keeps you present in your body.

    And just putting your feet on the ground and feeling it under you and stable is a very simple grounding technique that's accessible to nearly everyone, anywhere at any time of the day or night.

    I don't drink any caffeinated things anymore either - or alcohol - and interestingly this (and lollipops) helped me quit smoking too.

    Also saying NO to too many demands helps me. If someone can do something on their own, for themselves, and they ask you to do it for them, you can say No.

    meditation helps too.

    And talking - finding someone who you can really talk to is great. That might be a counsellor or psychologist or your sister.

    Sometimes you have to let go of jobs, people and places that are making your anxiety or depression worse.

    Sometimes your life situation will be making your anxiety worse and you will need to find daily managing techniques.

    This whole thread has some great ideas for how to do that.

    Here's another piece of advice that has helped me - half-arsing something is better than not doing it at all.

    That might mean you eat cake for breakfast instead of not eating any breakfast.

    Or you might walk around your building instead of going for an hour long walk.

    Or you might brush your teeth and put on a clean pair of pjamas instead of having a shower and getting dressed.

    That last tip might be more depression related - but they do get tangled. And it helps if you are getting overwhelmed by unexpected change to be open to half arsing things sometimes.

    I hope that helps someone.

    It's pretty uplifting to see all these posts with helpful ideas and tips.

    Thanks everybody.

    I didn't read all of them - but what I did read was really lovely.

    7 people found this helpful
  2. Coco F
    Coco F avatar
    1 posts
    2 October 2021 in reply to Haraldo
    Thanks. Most helpful.
    3 people found this helpful
  3. demonblaster
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    7796 posts
    2 October 2021 in reply to Haraldo

    Hi Haraldo Coco F and everyone ☺

    Just wanted to thank you for your time and a great post Haraldo there's a lot of solid helpful techniques there.

    I find walking good because there's a lot of distraction, cars people houses animals birdies etc for distraction and being outsides away from ourselves kind of too.

    Nice being amongst it.

    Thanks too to everyone contributing it all potentially could help others.

    Take care and remember breathing nice deep & often. It does help.

    Read the other day deep breathing helps with I think the frontal cortex or lobe that helps with rational thought. Rational was the crux but might have the wording wrong for what part of the brain gets activated.

    When we can direct our thinking we'll be more in control and in better head space I'd think.

    Take care βš˜πŸŒ±πŸ•Š

    3 people found this helpful
  4. ecomama
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    4567 posts
    3 October 2021 in reply to demonblaster

    Hey DB, nice to see this thread revived!

    Hey Haraldo and Coco F, warm welcome to the forums, it's great having new members on board and sharing!

    I liked reading your reminder, Haraldo, of depression being about the past and anxiety being about the future.

    I also liked how you practically described actions that are good enough for today! Absolutely agree 100%.
    I find just beginning a task, then doing it is great! Doesn't matter if it's not perfect. Getting it done is fine by me lol.

    Perfectionism is a huge paralyser. It's not worth keeping such relentlessly high standards because perfectionism is unrealistic.

    That topic and many others are covered beautifully in Brene Brown's podcast. Gosh some of those interviews are ones I recall and I smile about often.
    Another is 'sitting with your feelings'. So instead of resisting or 'fighting' or distracting ourselves, actually exploring them. I personify each emotion into friendly monsters. Have a talk with it. Thank it.

    Emotions seems to rest well then, miraculously!

    In this age with the possibility of becoming lost in social media and the news full stop, I've found quitting this of huge benefit to my MH.

    Knowing what we CAN control or what IS within our influence, then working within these parameters works to keep me achieving my goals.
    Placing all else outside and allowing those in charge to take care of that (whether they do or don't, it's not my issue to worry over).
    This is a Covey strategy, written many decades ago but more relevant now than ever!

    Saluting the sun and dawn is one of my favourite things to do each morning.
    Smiling as I greet a new day.
    Saying thankyou for whatever pops into my head.
    It's very calming and grounding.

    Being able to self regulate is a wonderful goal.

    Love EMxxxx

    2 people found this helpful
  5. GailMaree
    GailMaree avatar
    1 posts
    10 November 2021 in reply to Croix

    I’m glad someone else uses this as a coping mechanism. Sometimes my anxiety is di bad I just curl up and stream Netflix. My anxiety is paralizing so I can’t practice any form of self help.

    Do others do what I do till they feel a bit better?

    4 people found this helpful
  6. demonblaster
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    7796 posts
    10 November 2021 in reply to ecomama

    Hi GallMaree Ecomama readers and all.

    GallMaree welcome darl to the forums all inputs greatly appreciated.

    Yes I hope I'm putting in the past finding ways of blocking pain similar to what you're talking about.

    The problem with that although it's a comfort zone for sure is I doubt our chances of overcoming or at least controlling anxiety which can be achieved with practice on new coping strategies can be reached.

    I hope you find here's very helpful not just here but overall on various threads there's a lot of wisdom and techniques people have found helps them.

    Thanks for posting hope to see you again hun ☺

    Eco so sorry darl I've been meaning to get back to you here but landed at last.

    Thanks as well for your insightful post hun it makes a lot of sense.

    Yes I too am finding looking into anxiety thoughts and a must is breathing deeply that spreads the oxygen especially when in anxiety we tense up so much it helps relax as well as give us a different focus.

    Anxiety is largely fear. It takes our thoughts as you mentioned eco to what ifs that might not eventuate so we waste a great deal of negative energy hyper focusing on things we'd have to deal with at the time. We can redirect this energy to help ourselves by changing our thought pattern.

    I think it can help though if we can use the thoughts constructively like ok what can I do if it does happen and not allowing thoughts of I won't cope then we think and believe that.

    I'm also slowly starting to learn to let rubbish thoughts drift and dismiss them by self talk. The more we think past our first thought it seems to open the mind to rational solutions.

    Liking this Eco " Knowing what we CAN control or what IS within our influence, then working within these parameters works to keep me achieving my goals."

    Yes it's an amazing feeling even doing just a part of something anxiety says we can't. We can by gently in small steps doing. The benefits are rewarding.

    I guess our first step towards recovery is gently but firmly telling ourselves we CAN & WILL 😊

    Recoverys within us all.

    Take care everyone and thanks for the great input

    🌱 new beginnings start with us

  7. missep123
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    1051 posts
    12 November 2021 in reply to demonblaster

    Someone once mentioned to me that when they were ruminating they imagined a red stop sign and told themselves 'STOP'.

    I want to try practicing that!

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Adalaide
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    23 posts
    24 November 2021 in reply to missep123

    I've definitely started doing this and it has helped a lot!

    When I get really anxious I kind of forget how to stop talking or how to filter my thoughts so pretending there is a voice in my head yelling "STOP" as soon as I notice that I'm doing it has helped so much!

    Another thing that I like to do is hold my own hand or put a hand on my chest so as it reminds me that I'm still in my body and is a great way for me to feel a bit more grounded.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. missep123
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    1051 posts
    28 November 2021 in reply to Adalaide

    Hi Adalaide!

    I am so glad that 'STOP' has helped you! I have tried practicing it too and when I am successful at it, it really helps. I really need practice though because sometimes I am so stuck in my ways that it can be difficult introducing new techniques.

    I really like the idea of feeling like you are still in your body! Sometimes I feel as though anxiety can take over your whole brain and you kind of feel like you are 'out' of your body.

    Do you have any more tips?

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Learn to Fly
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    28 November 2021 in reply to Haraldo
    Thank you Haraldo, great ideas and tips.
    1 person found this helpful
  11. Adalaide
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    23 posts
    1 December 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hi Missep123,

    I agree that introducing new techniques is so difficult at times but I truly believe that even if it takes years to master, it is worth putting in the effort to put some great practices into place.

    I have plenty of tips that I've tried over the years! One incredible one that I've found increasingly helpful when I feel like I can't escape my anxiety and feel really overwhelmed is getting a piece of paper out and putting a timer for 10 minutes on and just blurting every single thought that I have out on paper. Then once the 10 minutes is over, I can see all of the things that are making me anxious out on paper and address them much easier. This is especially useful when I'm experiencing derealisation or depersonalisation as it makes me feel like I can't access my thoughts.

    I hope this helps! I would love to hear some more of your tips too - we can all stand to learn some new things :)

    3 people found this helpful
  12. Emma Mil
    Emma Mil avatar
    3 posts
    12 April 2022

    I often find my anxiety and panic cannot be relieved through a thought process and need to use body techniques as my mind has disconnected from by body. These are my go to:

    1. Hug yourself: Place your right hand underneath your left armpit and your left hand over your right shoulder. This makes me feel calmer and safe.

    2. Massage: There are a few videos on how to massage your vagus nerve to help calm yourself down. Simple ones are to massage your fingers from the base upwards and your toes. You can also take your index finger and place it in the little spot about your ear canal (the hole in your ear!) and VERY gently massage in small circles. Sukie Baxter has some really great videos on YouTube about this.

    3. Hang upside down: In a standing position, begin to fold forward from your waist so you're head is hanging towards the ground. Make sure your stomach touches your thighs so you might need to bend your knees to make this happen! Lean forward as much as feels comfortable. You can loop your arms together like a ragdoll to help as well or dangle your arms.

    I find once I have calmed my body and nervous system down then my thoughts can be dealt with after that.

    4 people found this helpful
  13. missep123
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    18 April 2022 in reply to Emma Mil

    These tips are really amazing, I feel like they are going to be excellent in my anxiety 'toolkit'!

    One thing that really helped me come out of a spiral recently was listening to songs that are positive in their themes. For example 'it knocked me down but I am now back on my feet'. Listening to these kind of songs on repeat really helps to push them into my mind if that makes sense!

    2 people found this helpful
  14. HappyWen
    HappyWen avatar
    2 posts
    11 May 2022
    Whatever I'm doing when a panic attack hits, I stop it. Watching funny cat/dog vidoes helps. Involuntary laughter helps me. Singing also helps me. Deep breathing (when I remember to do it - rational thinking can go out the window during an attack). Megan Buer 'Stop a Panic Attack in Two Minutes' video is great. I've always got Megan close to hand. I keep saying to myself, "It will pass." Knowing that I am not alone is a great comfort.
    2 people found this helpful
  15. Learn to Fly
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    331 posts
    12 May 2022 in reply to Emma Mil

    Love this Emma Mil. Love them All you Guys.

    Mine: if I can, I try to find a secluded spot. If possible, close to plants, leaves, flowers. The nature has always been soothing to me. I close my eyes and try to take some deep calming breaths. I focus on this act for as long as I need it and then I try to listen to the surrounding sounds. Check if I can smell anything. What can I taste in my mouth? If I have to, I go back to my breathing. I check my heart beat and slow everything down. Gradually.

    1 person found this helpful
  16. demonblaster
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    7796 posts
    12 May 2022 in reply to HappyWen

    Hi everyone πŸ‘‹ Welcome Emma Mll and Happywen to the forums ☺ your and all posts are much appreciated.

    One of the many things I like about here is there's so many different coping strategies.
    If some don't work for people there's other choices

    I started a reply to some recent posts which are noted. Hope to finish & land them. Posts are being read it's not intentional if not replied too ☺

    So true in anxiety our rational thinking isn't active
    I now know it's still there and can be accessed

    It gets blocked because we're hearing only what our minds are telling us which isnt necessarily how it is or will be

    It's possible to access it amidst the racing fear strickened thinking we need further thought

    Recently my mind went into overdrive being the operative word πŸ˜„

    The internal dialogue was...
    If I drive down the Rd I might or will have an accident

    I was only focused on that. Stress and fear was escalating fast

    With further thought ...Yes that could happen

    Then...why would it?

    Would it be through a fault of mine? There's no reason I won't be careful and alert

    It could at anytime not just today.

    By the time I'd finished reasoning I'd calmed down. The thought process allowed me to explore the other side of anxietys bombardment
    I drove incident free.

    What also helps at least slow & at times stop the racing negatives is to be aware that this is wasted energy creating high stress. I don't want it!

    Rational thought can be accessed through furthur thought.

    I just realised a dear friend πŸ’œ here went through the same.

    In their case imo it was good they didnt drive that day. They managed the next day because they'd worked through it. That was a huge achievement

    In my instance ? because I caught it before it escalated further causing a paralyzing feeling making it easier to regain control/calm

    *HappyWen hi sounds good stopping what you're doing at the time of an anxiety attack. May help too if we can figure why we became anxious at that time

    Yes deep breathing's a good habit to get into which in the moment can be easily forgotten.
    It does help knowing it'll pass. That'd be rational thought too.
    I'll try to check out Megan Buer

    * Missep123 hi Sounds like a good way listening to positive music and often. We need to hear the other side of negatives else we stay in that mode. Kudos πŸ‘

    All the best everyone it's encouraging the experts say we can get on top of this ☺

    It's in us 🌱

    ⚘


    2 people found this helpful
  17. missep123
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    1051 posts
    19 May 2022 in reply to demonblaster
    Something new I have been trialling is that if I'm very nervous about something I imagine a version of myself of everything I want to be (i.e. super confident) and imagine how that version of myself would act. It's been interesting because changing the framework of how I am thinking helps to adjust my anxiety!

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