by Charlotte Biss
I have just been to my final therapy session after three months of weekly meetings with a lovely therapist just around the corner from home. She helped me work through some worries and provided a safe space for me to talk, and gain some much needed clarity. I have seen a therapist a few times over the last 8 years whilst I have struggled with anxiety and I can thankfully say that this is the least anxious I have felt since it started.
I wouldn’t attribute this improvement solely to therapy, so I wanted to share some other methods I have used which have helped me, and will hopefully help you too.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): I joined the NHS waiting list for CBT earlier this year and after a month or so, was provided with some sessions over the phone. Since then I have recommended one particular technique to a few friends who I thought would also find it useful. This technique is called Worry Time. Have a google and give it a try!
Exercise: I used to love going to the gym each morning, it would really help with the daily butterflies which surfaced and helped get me ready for my day. When they closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic I found it hard, however, with the help of various online platforms, I have a lovely new routine of Pilates and yoga. I don’t run often but when I do, the feeling after is one of the best! That is often enough of an incentive for me to get my trainers on.
Breathwork: one of the main symptoms of anxiety I have felt over the years is the feeling of stomach butterflies which were for so long present most of the time. Breathwork has enabled me to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing instead of shallow chest breathing. For this, I would recommend the app, iBreathe.
Mindfulness: I undertook a course in mindfulness several years ago, and now try to practice for 10 minutes every day. It really helps me to live more in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or reliving past events. For this, I would recommend the Calm and Headspace apps.
Medication: I know some people are reluctant to try medication but some medication is very helpful for anxiety, so my feeling is, if there is something out there that could help you, give it a go. Some of them have negative side effects but there are many to try until you find one that works for you, and your GP can guide you through the process safely.
Books: I have recently read two books written by Richard Carlson, an American psychologist: Stop Thinking, Start Living and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. The first one was particularly brilliant and I am so grateful to the friend that recommended it to me.
Different coping methods will suit different people, but I hope that this can give you some confidence that you can feel better.