Today on the MAMA Life London blog, Samantha Carbon of www.samanthacarbontharapy.co.uk is our guest blogger giving some excellent advice on managing anxiety.
Let's be clear, anxiety is a normal and a natural psychological condition. It can be an unpleasant part of one’s life and affect individuals in many different ways and at different times, but its normal. In my private practice clients are encouraged to consider embracing their anxiety rather than avoiding it.
Anxiety informs the sufferer in many ways that they could be overdoing things, neglecting their self-care, along with stepping out of their comfort zone and many other factors.
You will have your own sense of anxiety and the ways it manifests itself and how it impacts you. If anxiety is restricting your ability to function and enjoy the life you have right now then it’s worth exploring ways of lessening the hold it has on you.
Here are five tips on managing your anxiety:
Accept your anxiety - Don’t fight it if you have inherited the gene from a parent or your lifestyle. By understanding this is part of who you are, you are not giving up or rolling over, you are recognising it is part of your environment. I often hear from my clients the unspoken implication that for someone to be a good mother they have to deny parts of themselves and other aspects of what excites and motives them. Can you give yourself permission to do things good enough rather than perfectly? Remember nobody is perfect so allow yourself to be “good enough” rather than the best.
Self-Compassion - It’s crucial you invest time in your own wellbeing. When you don’t feel good enough, learn to treat yourself as you would a best friend. By applying self-compassion, we can begin to feel cared for, accepted and secure. Look at practical ways to replace the running commentary of self-judgement with self-love. If possible, keep a self-compassion journal and begin to write yourself some kind, understanding words of comfort. By doing this you are letting yourself know you care. This technique of keeping a journal (half an A4 page) can support you to organise your thoughts and emotions which can ease anxiety.
Eat Well and Exercise – eating well and exercise are associated with lowering anxiety levels. Avoid caffeine and have alcohol in moderation. Exercise is nature's anti-anxiety remedy.
Invest in some “you time” - Find ways to get your needs met. So, it could be having a relaxing hot bath, catching up with friends. If you have the option join a group with similar interests, or find a hobby away from the usual day to day activities. Consider consciously making attempts to be more “in the moment” because its fruitless mulling over the past and dreading what’s not yet happened
Seek professional help – It’s important to acknowledge your feelings. Remember feelings are not facts. A professional can support you to understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviours along with understanding any past experiences and triggers that may contribute to your anxiety. Negative thoughts cause negative feelings.
If you are a mother who feels on occasions you are in a somewhat challenging, ceaseless and sacrificial role, reach out. By acknowledging your anxious feelings you begin an important step towards feeling better. Facing the truth can be very empowering because once you name the problem you can work towards solving it.
Written by Samantha Carbon
UKCP Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor
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