Why Is Anxiety On The Rise And How Can It Be Managed?
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) is anxiety. This is a common and perfectly normal emotion to experience. Everyone can remember a time when they felt anxious before an exam or a job interview, for example. It may even help to provide us with an adrenaline rush to give us extra energy and focus during a difficult time.
However, for some people, anxiety can become a serious condition that impacts on their daily life. It can produce a range of mental and physical symptoms that range from mild to moderate and severe. These can include a feeling of unease and restlessness, poor concentration, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping.
According to a 2022 survey of 3,000 adults in the UK by the Mental Health Foundation, 34% experienced anxiety during the previous month. When questioned about the reasons for their worries, 71% of respondents said they were worried about not being able to maintain their standard of living, and 66% said they were concerned about fuel or household bills.
The continuing cost of living crisis is undoubtedly contributing to the rise in anxiety among adults, as it threatens our ability to take care of our most basic needs: food, warmth, and shelter. Our children also seem to be more anxious: according to The Telegraph, a quarter of young people suffered from greater anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
We have all been living through difficult times that are largely beyond our control, and this calls for strategies to protect our mental health. When it comes to managing anxiety, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person might make symptoms worse for another.
It’s worth mentioning that anyone experiencing severe physical symptoms alongside anxiety, including breathlessness, chest pain, a rapid heart rate and loss of appetite, should visit a GP to make sure that there is no other underlying cause.
Some people benefit greatly from mindfulness meditation, which teaches us to be more aware of our thoughts and feelings by focusing on the present moment, rather than worrying about the future. It’s based on ancient buddhist practices, but modern mindfulness techniques do not focus on religious beliefs.
There are plenty of online guides that explain how you can begin to practise mindfulness with some controlled breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. Some people prefer this kind of self-guided learning, while others prefer to work with a trained therapist to help them master the techniques properly.
Mindfulness can also work well when combined with gentle activities, such as stretching or going for a walk. Some people find that more vigorous exercise such as running, cycling, or swimming takes them out of themselves and clears their mind.
For other people, solace from life’s troubles may be found by spending time outdoors in nature, or seeing family and friends. Creative outlets, even something as simple as writing down your thoughts every morning, can also help to put troubles into perspective.
If you would like to work with a Harley Street hypnotherapist, please get in touch with us today.