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How to help anxiety – five ways that you can reduce your anxiety

Anxiety is a common condition, with the NHS stating that around 5% of adults in the UK are likely to be affected.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we have looked at the most searched questions on Google surrounding mental health.

Anxiety comes in many forms and often people use search engines like Google to try to learn more and understand what they may be going through.

With anxiety often causing restlessness and a feeling of being worried, as well as difficulties sleeping and concentrating, ‘how to help anxiety’ is a popular query.

Here are five ways that could help you reduce your anxiety…

Talk to someone

Mental health charity Mind advises talking to someone who you trust, as it can provide relief when you open up to someone about you anxiety.

The charity’s website says: ‘It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.’

This can be either by talking to a friend or family member, or by contacting a charity that has a helpline that you can call.

Anxiety UK is one of the leading support groups for people living with anxiety, and it provides an information line that people can call – 03444 775 774.

The charity also offers the option to speak to a therapist online through their website.

Alternatively you can call the Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123.

Mental health apps

There are a wide range of apps that can be useful for keeping your anxiety under control.

The NHS has a large catalogue of useful apps listed on their website, which they have assessed to make sure they are secure and safe to use.

Many of them are free, while others provide more features such as the Be Mindful app, so they cost money to either as a one-off payment or as a monthly subscription.

The Orcha website also provides reviews and assessments on health apps, if you are concerned with how they might use your data.

The apps can give you information and tools for self-help support, as well as general information, lifestyle tips and ways to connect to your GP or other support contacts.

Get more sleep

This can be a difficult one, as difficulty sleeping can be a symptom of anxiety.

However, research has shown that a poor night’s sleep can increase your level of anxiety the following day.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at the anxiety levels of 18 healthy people following either a night of sleep or a night spent awake. Those who were sleep deprived had 30% higher levels of anxiety than those who slept.

Some of the ways that you can try to improve your sleep includes avoiding alcohol before bed, and not to drink caffeine after 4pm.

It’s also useful to keep your phone away from your bed and to relax away from any technology for the final hour before you go to sleep.

The NHS advises that you also sleep at regular times, unwind before heading to bed and make sure that your bedroom is a relaxing environment.

Exercise

The NHS advises that exercising regularly can help to reduce your anxiety.

Mental health charity Mind also recommends trying physical activity, saying that many studies have shown that it can improve mental health.

Their website states that it can help you to sleep at night ‘by making you feel more tired at the end of the day’ and it also releases ‘feel-good hormones’ to improve your mood.

Mind also says: ‘Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.’

Therapy

The NHS offers cognitive behavioural therapy which teaches techniques to help keep anxiety under control, although there is a waiting list that you will have to join before you will be seen.

Psychotherapist Juliusz Wodzianski of Talk Therapy London described anxiety as ‘a psychological factor’.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘This is a very real thing which can lead to panic attacks, physical pain and dizziness, amongst other things.

‘To be managed effectively, [it] will often involve working with a psychotherapist (or other professional) to uncover the event or events that may have initiated the onset of anxiety.’

Mental health charity Mind also advises trying complementary and alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and aromatherapy, to try to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Mental Health questions answered

Google’s most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

According to Google, the most frequently asked ‘how to’ questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

1. How to relieve stress
2. How to help anxiety
3. How to stop worrying
4. How to stop a panic attack
5. How to deal with stress
6. How to cope with depression
7. How to know if you have anxiety
8. How to know if you have depression
9. How to help someone with PTSD
10. How to overcome social anxiety
11. How to get help for depression
12. How to treat OCD
13. How to help a depressed friend
14. How to overcome a phobia
15. How to treat PTSD

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