Jane McDonald on body image and anxiety
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Anxiety can be felt in a number of ways ranging from mild to severe and can be a particularly unnerving experience. While certain situations or environments can trigger anxious feelings, sudden symptoms can catch anyone off-guard. Snapping out of your emotions is easier said than done, but there are a number of scientifically proven methods that can help to manage the most common symptoms. Express.co.uk reveals the best remedies to instantly relieve anxiety.
How to relieve anxiety instantly
Everyone feels anxious from time to time, though some people are more prone to severe anxiety attacks than others.
While there are a number of medications available for diagnosed anxiety disorders, there are also plenty of simple remedies to cope with everyday feelings of uncertainty or anxiety.
A racing heart or knotted stomach can make you eager to shake these feelings, but David Rosmarin, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, says that rushing to get rid of your anxiety can actually make it worse.
Validate your feelings
The first step to reducing anxiety is to validate your feelings and accept that it is okay to express your emotions.
David Rosmarin, PhD said: “When you worry about getting rid of your anxiety, you’re signalling your nervous system that you have even more to be anxious about. And that makes your anxiety worse.”
Allowing your anxiety to run its course in the moment can actually reduce it, the less you fight it.
Accept your anxiety by sharing your feelings with someone you trust or think back to a time when you were able to control similar symptoms – you can do it again by gathering your thoughts.
Focus on your breathing
Breathlessness, dizziness and nausea can all be managed with some simple breathing techniques.
These work so well because they focus your attention on one thing which you can take complete control of.
Leading meditation site Headspace said: “Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the body’s relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. It’s a powerful technique that works because we can’t breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time.”
While there are countless variations of controlled breathing patterns, the four-square technique is particularly effective and easy to remember.
All you need to do is:
- Inhale deeply for a count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of four
- Exhale for a count of four
- Repeat several times
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Refocus your energy
Nervous or anxious energy can leave you feeling shaky and unnerved.
The best way to physically shake off these symptoms is to channel your energy into a form of exercise.
If you’re sitting down, stand up and stretch or go for a brisk walk.
The experts at First Aid for Life recommend engaging in regular exercise to reduce the body’s stress hormones and stimulate the production of endorphins.
Known as “happy hormones”, endorphins and serotonin will boost your mood while acting as a natural painkiller.
Stimulate your pressure points
Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which can provide instant relief from anxiety symptoms.
Stimulating the body’s pressure points can help to release physical tension while soothing the emotional burden of anxiety.
The union valley point
Located between your thumb and index finger, this point is known to reduce stress, headaches and neck pain, according to the medically accredited website Healthline.
To use this point, apply firm pressure to the webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand.
Healthline recommends massaging the pressure point for around five seconds while taking slow, deep breaths.
Inner frontier gate point
This pressure point is located on your arm, just up from the wrist but before the crease of the elbow.
Turn one hand so your palm faces upwards and find the point on your arm around three fingers above the wrist.
Apply pressure and massage for five seconds.
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