Anxiety: Six simple ways to help keep your mental health intact

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More than 260 million people globally suffer from anxiety disorders, meaning you almost certainly know someone who is living with it.

People who suffer from anxiety can often feel like there’s nothing they can do to stop it and while there is no quick fix to eliminating anxiety, there are simple steps you can take to make it more manageable and to make your life a little bit easier.

1. Talking to someone you trust

Mental health charity Mind say talking about what makes you feel anxious can help. That could be someone you know personally, like a family member or close friend, or someone who is trained to help.

If you don’t feel able to open up to anyone around you, charities such as the Samaritans and Anxiety UK run helplines where you can speak to someone.

2. Get enough sleep

This can feel counterintuitive if you’re worried about not having enough time to do everything, but sleeping well is important for keeping your mental health under control.

Psychotherapist Linda Esposito says:

Sleep deprivation is a huge anxiety culprit. Inadequate shuteye can amplify the brain's anticipatory reactions, upping overall anxiety levels, according to research.

3. Look after your health

Thinking about your diet and exercise levels is also helpful. Mind say eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help with your mood and energy levels, and exercise can help relieve stress and improve your mental wellbeing.

4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine

More specifically, alcohol and caffeine can be particularly harmful for anxiety, as both can affect sleep and cause restlessness.

Staying hydrated with water can also help your mood by making it easier for you to concentrate and think clearly.

5. Basic breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can help you to stay calm and feel more in control in stressful situations. Focussing on deep breathing, using slow intentional breaths, and being aware of your breaths as they come and go can calm the mind.

The NHS provides some online resources for breathing exercises that can help with stress.

6. Keeping a diary

Mind recommend making a note of what happens when you get anxious to spot patterns for what triggers these experiences. That can help you to notice early signs as they are beginning to happen.

You can also make notes of when things are going well. Anxiety can sometimes mean you spend a lot of time thinking about all the things that are bad in your life and it’s important to give yourself credit and notice the good things.

If you’re worried about anxiety, the NHS provides information on different types of disorders and steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing.

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