Worried, anxious? Read on for some useful advice for coping in an increasingly stressful world

Worried, anxious? Read on for some useful advice for coping in an increasingly stressful world

20 April 2022

MindSpace Volunteer, Psychotherapist Sally Freestone writes…

No news is good news, or so the saying goes, so it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling worried and anxious about what is happening around us and in the wider world. The war in Ukraine, rising prices of essential items, energy price increases etc, are all sources of concern – and all this in the shadow of Covid.

So, while these worries are real and valid, what can we do to manage some of the stress and anxiety that we’re feeling?  Here are some ideas…

Talk about it – don’t bottle it up. Sharing how we’re feeling can really help to diffuse anxiety and can also help us to feel less alone with our worries. Family and friends may be able to lend an ear (and we can do that for them, in return), or alternatively a Mindspace Tea & Chat/Evening Café session (where there are also some trained listeners) can be helpful.

Where there are practical, financial or health worries, talk to your GP practice, bank/finance provider, social services, employer, or Citizens Advice for advice. Do this promptly – prevaricating increases anxiety – and if you’re not sure where to go for help, just start somewhere because they will probably know where to signpost you. 

Get outside – fresh air and gentle exercise are great stress-relievers. Breathe in the sights, sounds and smells of your surroundings; notice the emerging blossom and fresh green leaves, listen to the birdsong. It all helps to ‘ground”’ us in the present moment and can give a fresh perspective – my problems invariably feel smaller when I’m out in the Big Wide World. Walk alone, with friends or with a Mindspace Group. Find what works for you.

Springtime is the perfect time to get into the garden. Maybe your own garden, a friend’s allotment or the Mindspace Garden? Getting your hands into the soil is, literally, ‘grounding’ and growing things is known to be good for the soul!

Become more mindful – focus on what you’re doing in the moment, be it making a sandwich, peeling potatoes, knitting or sewing, or even loading the dishwasher. Keeping your mind on the task in hand helps to calm anxiety. It takes a little practice, but it works! Other mindful practices are: yoga, meditation, Shared Reading at MindSpace, and singing.

Limit exposure – with 24-hour newsfeeds, social media and all-day TV news coverage, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of incoming (and sometimes conflicting) information. It helps to take back control and limit your exposure – check the news, maybe, twice a day and resist the temptation to open your newsfeed at other times. Watch the TV news morning and/or evening and then switch off – or find something more cheerful to enjoy. Tune the radio to a ‘non-news’ programme or download an entertaining podcast.

Even (and perhaps especially) when bad things are happening, it’s OK to enjoy some trivia and happiness – indeed it’s essential. It’s necessary for personal survival and self-care. Our own well-being is the source of our compassion for others.

Mindspace has lots of activities designed to improve mental health and wellbeing – some of them are mentioned here. More information can be found by clicking on this link https://mindspacestamford.com/join-in/