Tips To Manage Anxiety
Anxiety can be one of the first symptoms of peri-menopause and can therefore be unexpected, unwelcome and also misdiagnosed - you are certainly not alone. It is our body's natural response to stress, where your body enters into a state of fight or flight.
The physical symptoms of anxiety can include heart palpitations, panic attacks, feeling short of breath, dry mouth, and chest pain. These are all normal reactions to stressors.
Research shows that in order to manage anxiety we have to acknowledge it. If we push it away, it will come back stronger.
Here are a few simple techniques you can use to help calm you when you start to feel anxious.
Deep breathing is effective and discreet, and you can use this technique at home or at work. This exercise is great for when you are feeling overwhelmed or out of control. Doing this exercise regularly will help in the long term.
How to do it:
- Sit comfortably with your feet and place them flat on the ground
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest
- Close your eyes
- Breathe through your nose, slowly and deeply for around 4 seconds so you can feel your abdomen and chest rise
- Hold in the air for a few seconds
- Blow the air out slowly through your mouth for around 4 seconds, lips puckered like you are drinking through a straw
- Do this exercise for 2 – 4 minutes. Wait a few minutes before getting up.
Tensing and relaxing muscles
By tensing and relaxing muscles can you can relieve tension in any part of your body.
This is an easy exercise you can do with your hands.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly
- Squeeze your hands tightly to make a fist, and hold for a few seconds noticing the tension
- Relax your hand and fingers, notice the tension leaving your hand, your hand will feel lighter, try and enjoy the feeling
It is important to keep practising relaxation techniques. You may not feel the benefit initially, but the more you practice the more you’ll start to feel the benefits. Try practising them 2 – 3 times a day.
The power of scent
Inhaling the aroma of rose can reduce anxiety levels and help to lift a low mood. A simple method is to apply rose body oil to the skin each morning.
Lavender will calm and soothe and promotes relaxation and sleep. Try something as simple as inhaling the essential oils of lavender - this can help to regulate your stress response and encourages calmness.
The power of touch
Just like when a newborn baby is placed against a mother's skin for the first time, the infant's heart and respiratory rate are more stable. The power of touch in adults, simply placing your own hands or another’s upon the body, with kind and loving intentions, is known to decrease the stress hormone cortisol which can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is recommended in the NICE Guideline for managing menopausal symptoms. It can help you make the link between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and give you techniques on how to manage anxious feelings.
Check out our other articles to get a full understanding of what the Menopause means for many women AND men.