Coping Tools in Times of High Anxiety - by Caroline Cavanagh, anxiety specialist

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

There is no one magic way to deal with stress or anxiety, however, having a number of 'tools in the toolkit' means that you can use different ones depending on what is happening.

Here are the ones that I am regularly pulling out currently!

1. Stop planning!

This may sound a little ironic as plans tend to help people feel more secure. However, as things are changing so quickly, plans that then become unworkable mean wasted effort in creating them and dis- appointment when you throw them away as they're no longer relevant. A compromise may be to dramatically reduce your planning horizon - mine is about 2 hours currently! But if you need some sort of plan, there is then tool number two .....

2. Focus on what you can control

Anxiety is a response to vulnerability so focus on things that you can be in control of. This may be your exercise, your diet, what you choose to read (or not!) I am choosing to use this time to finish off a number of online courses I never quite gave enough attention too, cross some books off the reading list, get fitter, and teach my kids to cook. The last one may be a little out of my control but up I am up for the challenge!

If not planning makes you more nervous, put some short-term plans in place for the things that will help you feel productive and deliver a sense of achievement, such as having an amazing garden over the whole of the summer, develop a new hobby etc.

3. Cut down on your news intake

This is a personal bugbear of mine as most of the news broadcasts I have watched are all doom and gloom. The only positive things I read about - and there are many of them - are on social medias. There are huge acts of kindness and generosity going on, but I have yet to see many of the major TV broadcasters focus on these.

Negative energy will mentally drain you, so my advice is to move away from it. Select the resource you wish to follow and use it selectively. I am choosing to watch Boris's broadcasts only which gives me what I need to know. Hearing how many people have died in Italy, or which latest celebrity has tested positive is not something that will boost my resources.

4. Up the focus on gratitude

Gratitude boosts energy. When there may be many things that are genuine sources of concern, our energy goes to these and we ignore the positives that are still there. I am grateful that this is happening now as we head into summer, not autumn. I am grateful that my family are all still fit and healthy. I am grateful that we live in the countryside and so getting out and about in nature is easy. What would you have on your list?

And there is a little exercise you can do each day that really helps build positive energy - a bit like flexing a mental muscle that when it is strong, gives you a wonderful resilience. If you would like a copy of it, email me at caroline@addingzest.com and simply put Attitude of Gratitude in the subject field.

5. Boost your immune system

Worry/anxiety/stress, they all impact your immunity and will potentially make you more vulnerable to illness. So be proactive in doing things to boost it; eating healthily, being hydrated and exercising are all things that will positively boost your immune system.

6. Notice your thoughts, change your language

Your subconscious mind can't tell the difference between reality and imagination. If you keep telling yourself, "I bet I am going to get ill," your mind literally hears "I am going to get ill, " and says, "Yep, I can do that for you!" My husband got into a habit of every night, climbing into bed and saying, "I bet I will wake up early again." After hearing this a number of times, I suggested he take another approach, such as "I am going to sleep through the night tonight."

After a rather sarcastic repetition of my suggested wording, he woke up with his alarm the next morn- ing and turned to me and called me a witch! Maybe I am but I'm a witch who knows that your thoughts create things and your language is an expression of your thoughts. So, when you use them, create the thing you want!

Caroline is offering us a reduction on her session price during lockdown. Online sessions are available for £50 (normally £70) so if you feel her expert help could make a difference to you please give her a call, and quote TNR for the discount. Her con-tact details are hello@carolinecavanagh.co.uk

About Caroline

As most people in these busy times, I wear many hats. I am a mother to two teenage children, a wife to a serviceman, a sister to a disabled brother, and I run a business. It often feels like there are not enough hours in the day! But where my studies have led me to is a belief that contentment comes from striking a balance.

I believe that we all need a bit of help to gain better balance in our lives, especially now when everything is changing. Ironically, one of the best ways to do this is through relaxation. By taking time out to relax, batteries can be re- charged and new levels of energy found to allow the juggling act to continue and provide the resources to face the new challenges.

Therapy often has negative connotations and hypnosis is often associated with stage entertainers. My belief is we can all improve our lives in some way and what I do is a long, long way from what goes on on-stages. Hypnotherapy can help you make a change in your life, whether that is moving away from some- thing you no longer want to do, or moving towards higher goals such as in business or sport.

The power of the mind is phenomenal. I genuinely believe that hypnotherapy can be used by anyone to enhance every waking day and in our current situation, can not only help you get though it, but come out stronger, more mentally resilient and ready to thrive.

If you’d like to chat, I’d love to hear from you (and remember that discount!)

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