It’s Mental Health Awareness Week…
So its mental health awareness week and those who know me know this is a topic close to my heart. Anxiety and anxiety related disorders like panic attacks are something that I never really knew much about before I became a Doctor, and I’m still learning more about now that I’m working in Psychiatry. I can’t say that any of my close friends or family showed obvious signs of this, or maybe I was too young to even recognise what these were if they were present at that time.
Over time (and age) I’ve come to realise just how prevalent this condition is, and come to appreciate the variety of ways in which this affects people. Literally, anyone, any age, any gender, any colour, any race can suffer with anxiety. This in itself wasn’t really much of a surprise to be but realising that the outward effects of anxiety are quite different between people was. I was intrigued to know that for some being anxious manifests itself as anger, irritability, withdrawal from social situations, poor concentration, under-performance and quite often depression
The feeling of anxiety can be difficult to verbalise but for the most part can be explained as excessive worry or panic. Imagine the feeling most people have before they exam or attend a job interview. The subject or trigger for these emotions are varying and in some people can be accompanied by physical symptoms. A really good website that explains anxiety in more depth can be found at MIND
I was inspired to write this post by a really good friend of mine who reminded me that 16-22nd May is Mental Health Awareness Week (I can’t believe I nearly forgot) during a phone convo about “life”, and.. as I love talking about mental health and wellbeing I thought I should share my views for managing this with you. I felt this was important to discuss because it’s an area all of us are likely to encounter at some point, whether we suffer with it ourselves or know someone who does.
5 top tips for managing anxiety
- Talk to someone – let them know how your feeling. A friend, a parent or your own GP.
- Be proactive – take steps to finding out what is causing you to feel anxious and try to come up with one or two solutions.
- Stay active – research shows time and again those who participate in exercise are better at managing anxiety.
- Eat healthy foods – I mean it goes without explaining but you’d probably feel a lot better after eating a well balanced meal than a greasy double cheeseburger (though very tempting!)
- Get some sleep – somewhere between 7-9 hours is recommended each night for the average adult, but remember its the quality rather than quantity of sleep that is important.
Other little bits I often rave about are practices of mindfulness as a way to relax the mind and this link here will get you going with a fantastic free 10 day trial for mindful meditation. I’ve used it, I love it and I highly recommend giving it a try.