Give your brain a break: A guide on managing your anxiety better

During this Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to take a moment to emphasize the utmost importance we place on mental health at AbsoluteLabs. We firmly believe that caring for our well-being goes beyond the workplace—it starts with prioritizing our mental health. Recognizing the widespread impact of anxiety, we have taken proactive steps to ensure our Human Resource managers undergo specialized training and receive certifications as mental health ambassadors. This enables them to provide the necessary support and guidance, ensuring the mental well-being of our cherished employees.

In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week, we turn our focus to the topic of anxiety. In this blog, we offer practical tips and exercises to help manage anxiety and cultivate a greater sense of well-being.

What exactly is anxiety and how to deal with it?

Anxiety is a general feeling of unease, worry, or fear that most people experience at some point. For some individuals, this can manifest as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), causing severe anxiety daily. GAD involves a constant cycle of fear and worry, often spanning across various situations and leading to avoidance behaviours to alleviate anxiety.

Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of anxiety!

GAD can cause a variety of mental and physical symptoms that may be more or less prominent depending on the individual. Some common indicators of GAD are-

  • Feeling restless or worried
  • Having trouble concentrating or sleeping
  • Dizziness and heart palpitations
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath

Discover 5 tips that can help you ease or manage your anxiety:

  1. Visualization:

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place, think about your ideal place to relax. Try to paint an image that makes you feel calm, peaceful, and safe. Ensure its easy to visualize so that you can revisit it whenever you feel anxious. Engage all your senses, imagine how it would feel, smell and sound. Begin taking deep breaths and be aware of them while focusing on your “happy place” until you feel your anxiety lift.

  1. Muscle relaxation:

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place, and begin taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Make a tight fist and squeeze hard for a few seconds, acknowledge the tension in your hand. Slowly open your fingers and be aware of what you are feeling, note the tension leaving. Continue tensing and releasing multiple muscles in your hands, legs, shoulders, and feet one by one until you feel the anxiety begin to lift. Avoid any muscle groups that are injured as that may aggravate the pain.

  1. Mindfulness:

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place and shut your eyes. Take not of your breathing and how your body feels. Now move your awareness to the sensations your body is feeling in your current surroundings. Ask what is happening outside your body, engage your senses and note what you feel, smell, and hear in your environment.

  1. Counting:

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place and start taking deep breaths. Slowly start counting from 1-20 or higher, whatever number you feel you need to get to until your anxiety begins to lift.

  1. Interrupt your thoughts:

Try to distract your mind from your disturbing thoughts by making yourself feel more optimistic. Try singing a silly song about your worries or talk about them in a funny voice. Think about positive experiences and thoughts or engage your mind in an activity such as listening to music or reading a book.

Anxiety typically gives rise to persistent mental symptoms, but in certain situations, it can escalate into more pronounced physical symptoms or even lead to panic attacks.

Let’s delve into what panic attacks are and some tips!

Panic attacks tend to be a symptom of severe GAD. They can last over a period of a few minutes and tend to be an extreme reaction to a triggering situation for anxiety. They can often be categorized as short intense bursts that exhibit these symptoms-

  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Sweating, trembling, or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Tingling sensation in fingers or lips
  • A surge of overwhelming panic

Panic attacks tend to occur out of the blue, often with no clear triggers. This can make them difficult to predict and are often the cause of people avoiding certain situations they believe may be triggering. This can be a massive hindrance and make it difficult for people with GAD to navigate daily life safely and at ease.

5 Effective exercises to manage and overcome panic attacks:

  1. 333 rule: Look around your environment, identify three objects, and three sounds, and then move any three body parts.
  2. 4-7-8 breathing: Breath in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then slowly exhale for eight seconds.
  3. Soothing scents: Soothing scents can relieve anxiety by engaging your senses, Carry a pouch of relaxing scents such as lavender, bergamot, orange, chamomile, etc in the form of essential oil or scent sachets to breathe during panic attacks.
  4. 5-4-3-2-1 method: Look for five separate objects, focus, and think about them briefly before moving on to the next. Listen to four sounds and think about how they are made and how they differ from one another. Touch three objects, thinking about their texture, temperature, and uses.  Identify two different smells and name 1 thing you can taste.
  5. Movement: Try and walk or do some light exercise in a peaceful environment. Try some muscle relaxation techniques to ease your body physically.

While these exercises can be helpful, it is important to seek professional medical assistance for comprehensive support in managing anxiety and panic attacks. Consultation with a healthcare provider or mental health professional can provide additional support, guidance, and tailored treatment options to address your specific needs.

Remember, you don’t have to face anxiety alone, and seeking professional help is a proactive step towards finding relief and improving your overall mental health!