My counsellor sent me the following tips about general anxiety management and lockdown recently, thought I’d share :) Hopefully it’ll help someone


Managing self isolation / lockdown

• Use apps like Headspace and Unwinding anxiety to increase mindfulness and relaxation

• Increase creativity such as journaling

• Reduce media exposure including social media if increasing anxiety levels

• Plan your day to give it structure and routine

• Balance your day to include activity and rest

• Create a to do list to feel productive

• Connect with friends and/or family more often

• Increase daily stress relieving activities

• Practice a daily self care routine including eating, drinking and sleeping well

• Keep yourself busy with games, movies and reading

• Get outside every day even if it is just in your garden, move your body in some way

• Think of the positives that have arisen including thinking about what you can be grateful for

• Try to let go of normal expectations

• Identify any triggers that make you feel low and look for ways to manage and reduce

Challenging negative thoughts

Questions to ask yourself to help challenge your negative thoughts:

• Am I falling into a thinking trap? E.g. catastrophising or overestimating

• What is the evidence that this thought is true? What is the evidence that this is not true?

• Have I confused a thought with a fact?

• What would I tell a friend if they had the same thought?

• What would a friend say about my thought?

• Am I 100% sure that . . . . . will happen?

• How many times has . . . . . happened before?

• Is . . . . . so important that my future depends on it?

• What is the worst that could happen?

• If it did happen, what could I do to cope with or handle it?

• Is my judgement based on the way I feel instead of facts?

• Am I confusing “possibility” with “certainty”? It may be possible, but is it likely?

Grounding Techniques:

54321

5 Things you can see

4 Things you can touch

3 Things you can hear

2 Things you can smell

1 Thing you are good at or something to challenge the negative thought

Random Numbers Technique

Say out loud 5 or 6 random numbers, not in sequence. For example: 829571

Keep repeating

Counting

Count backwards from 300

Count backwards from 100 in 7’s or 3’s

Count the number of blue, red, green, silver, etc things in the room

Physical Techniques

Pass an item from hand to hand just moving your eyes, not your head

Hold an item in your hand and concentrate on how it feels

The 7/11 Technique

1) Inhale to the count of 7

2) Exhale to the count of 11

The reason the out breath is longer is to stimulate the relaxation response. Inhaling triggers arousal so people tend to exacerbate hyperventilation during a panic attack by breathing in more frequently. If you are hyperventilating, start at a rate that feels more comfortable, for example, breathing in for a count of 3 and breathing out for a count of 6. Then gradually build up to 5/8 and then 7/11.

*If you suffer from regular anxiety, try to do the 7/11 technique a few times during the day

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