Here are some strategies to help you become more self-aware of your anxiety:
Recognise Physical Symptoms: Anxiety often manifests itself as physical sensations in the body. Pay attention to signs like an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, sweating, or an upset stomach. When you notice these physical changes, consider whether anxiety is present.
Observe Thought Patterns: Anxiety is closely linked to certain thought patterns and cognitive distortions. Notice if you frequently engage in negative self-talk, catastrophic thinking, or excessive worry. Becoming aware of these recurring thought patterns can indicate anxiety.
Monitor Emotional State: Anxiety is typically accompanied by specific emotional states such as restlessness, irritability, a sense of impending doom, or a feeling of being on edge. Take note of any unexplained shifts in your emotions or if you feel consistently uneasy or overwhelmed.
Identify Triggers: Pay attention to situations, environments, or specific events that trigger anxiety for you. It could be social gatherings, work-related tasks or personal stressors. When you notice a pattern of anxiety arising in particular situations it becomes easier to anticipate and manage it effectively.
Keep a Journal: Maintaining a journal can be a valuable tool in understanding your anxiety. Keep a journal of your anxiety thoughts, feelings and experiences. Reflecting on your words over time can help you identify patterns, triggers and the underlying causes of anxiety.
Practice Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness can enhance your ability to recognise anxiety as it arises. Mindfulness involves non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, you can observe your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without getting caught up in them. This awareness helps you catch anxious thoughts and feelings as they occur.
TIPS & TOOLS TO TACKLE ANXIETY
Practice Relaxation Techniques: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery. These techniques can calm your body and mind, reducing anxiety symptoms.
Challenge Negative Thoughts: Identify and challenge negative thoughts or cognitive distortions that contribute to anxiety. Replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts.
Establish a Routine: Create a structured daily routine that includes regular exercise, healthy meals, sufficient sleep and time for relaxation. A consistent routine can provide stability and reduce anxiety.
Regular Exercise: Engage in physical activity regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood-boosting chemicals. It also helps to reduce tension and promote better sleep, all of which alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake: Caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Limit or avoid these substances, as they can increase restlessness, irritability and nervousness.
Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, or support groups. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can provide comfort, validation and helpful perspectives.
Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness meditation to cultivate present-moment awareness and acceptance. It can help you detach from anxious thoughts and observe them without judgment.
Self-Care: Prioritise self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Engage in hobbies, spend time in nature, practice self-compassion, and engage in activities that promote self-care and self-nurturing.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol or substance use. Physical health can positively impact mental wellbeing.