Is your brain constantly in overdrive worrying about the thousand and one things in your life? Has this sense of nervousness and anxiety been keeping you from a good night’s sleep? Or are you often breathless and paralyzed by panic attacks? (Read about the symptoms of anxiety disorder)
Don’t let anxiety get the better of you! Talk to someone or seek help from a professional. You can also pick up coping techniques to ease those panic attacks and calm your anxious mind. TOUCH Youth Intervention shares some coping techniques here.
- Practise paired muscle relaxation
Having an anxious mind not only affects our emotions but our physiology as well. Being in a constant state of stress can create tension in our muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to help relax your muscles. Relaxed muscles require less oxygen. This in turn helps your heart rate and breathing to slow down, easing your body into relaxation.
PRACTICE: Tighten and tense your muscles as much as possible, hold it there for five seconds then release the tension. Allow your muscles to rest. Your muscles will feel a lot more relaxed than before you tightened them. You can focus on a group of muscles (e.g. arm or leg muscle groups) at a time.
Practise deep breathing
The purpose of this technique is to increase awareness of the present moment, by focusing on the breaths you take. When we are anxious, it can be difficult to focus on one thing at a time, which may result in us feeling overwhelmed and even more flustered than before. Deep breathing can ease our bodies into relaxation which helps to bring us to a more manageable emotional state.
PRACTICE: Sit comfortably either on a chair or on the floor. Close your eyes if you are comfortable with that. Take long deep breaths, and ensure that your exhales are longer than your inhales. Notice your breaths going in, and how it moves through your chest. Feel the air in your lungs. Notice how the breaths are causing your abdomen to move up and down. Do this several times until your body is more relaxed and your mind is better able to focus on a task.
Maintain an Active Lifestyle
Sprinting, swimming, lifting weights and other forms of exercise can help to improve your mood. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are known as “happy”” hormones, which help to relieve stress and pain.
Watch something funny
As the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine”. Watching something that makes us laugh, like a comedy, can reduce our cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) levels and uplift our mood. The act of laughing, is similar to deep breathing in its ability to increase our oxygen intake. This helps our muscles to relax, reducing symptoms of anxiety.
Speak with a loved one or a professional
If you are feeling overwhelmed, let your loved ones know how they can support you. Being meaningfully connected with the people around you can help you to feel more assured and confident in facing challenges.
Do You M.I.N.D.? is a mental wellness programme by TOUCH Youth Intervention (TYI) which promotes mental wellness in youths across schools in Singapore and activates the potential in them to be a pillar of support for their peers with mental health issues. Through educational talks, adventure-based activities and experiential station games, youths are educated on common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behaviour, self-harm, and eating disorders.
TYI also provides mental health counselling and therapy for youths to equip them with emotional regulation skills, increase their resilience towards distressing situations, and strengthen their socio-emotional functioning as individuals. Youths seeking help related to mental health issues may call the TOUCHline at 1800 377 2252 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) or email [email protected] to speak with a counsellor. You may also follow @doyoumind on Instagram for mental health updates.