7 Coping Mechanisms for Preventing and Coping With Anxiety

Around 3 million people in the UK have an anxiety disorder, according to Anxiety UK. Like all things, we all have our good and bad days. A lesson I’ve learnt along the way is to implement certain elements into my day-to-day to manage and prevent anxiety. In this post, I will be sharing those things with you.

  1. The importance of routine.

I’ve spoken many times about the importance of routine in the past and I will continue to do so as it is essential for everyday. Aside from boosting productivity and encouraging organisation, routine can be a useful mechanism to prevent anxiety. Whether it’s the order in which you carry out your morning or having a set list of things to do each day. Routine is what helps us feel in control and make room for what matters. A little bit of routine goes a long way. Read more about my blog post on how routine benefits mental health here.

2. Grounding

Grounding as a coping mechanism for anxiety is an essential. It can be done through talking out your worries and thoughts with a friend, writing a to-do list, or simply taking 5 minutes to focus on your breathing. During times of irrational thinking and panic, it’s important to bring ourselves back to “reality” and make ourselves see that, in that moment, we are completely safe. A time out to ground yourself during a time of panic is important.

3. Move around

Back in the days of the caveman, we would experience fight or flight mode when faced with a threat (such as a bear wanting to eat you alive). This would be resolved through either facing the threat head on or running for your life. Today, we still experience that same fight or flight mode when feeling anxious because we think we’re in danger. That knotted tummy feeling you get is the adrenaline that has accumulated but hasn’t been used.

The best thing to do to get rid of that adrenaline is to move around with a physical distraction. This could be a bit of easy cleaning or tidying to keep yourself preoccupied. The bonus of this is that small sense of achievement you get once it’s completed.

4. Comfy clothes

Comfort is always a go-to, but especially when you’re feeling anxious – restrictive clothing is certainly a no-go. It may sound ridiculous but comfy attire can really reduce feelings of fear and panic. When I get anxious, feeling “trapped” either by my surroundings or the clothes I’m wearing if they’re tight and restrictive.

This is especially important if you’re off to work, school, or university for the day – comfortably clothing is key.

5. Avoid caffeine

As useful as caffeine can be on a sleepy, Monday morning, too much can be detrimental for an already anxious mind. The effects of caffeine can be similar to those you experience during a panic or anxiety attack.

Caffeine can stimulate the “fight or flight” response as mentioned above, says Everyday Health. When my anxiety is playing up, I try to stay away from the coffee and stick to tea that has a smaller amount of caffeine. Or there’s always decaf!

6. Talking to rationalise

As daunting as it may seem, talking about your fears and thoughts with a trusted friend or relative can really help to rationalise irrational thoughts. Speak to somebody who will listen non-judgmentally and will help you to rationalise the fearful thoughts and emotions going on.

7. Organisation and preparation

Similar to routine, organisation and preparation help ease any anxiety you may feel towards a future event or day-to-day task such as work or university. A huge cause of anxiety for me is being late and so I make an effort to ensure I have enough time to wake up and get ready so that I can leave early enough to be on time.

I hope this blog has helped, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any queries or feedback.

Ciao for now x

Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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