In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, our team at Northern Arizona Healthcare wants to take a moment to remind you and our community that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.
Did you know? While mental health concerns can be different for each of us, anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the U.S. The American Psychiatric Association reports that thirty percent of adults will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. If you find yourself experiencing uncontrollable worry and nervousness, sleep-related problems (excessive sleep or sleeplessness), difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, or irritability, you may be experiencing anxiety.
If the symptoms of anxiety are interfering with daily tasks, felt for a long period of time or become too intense to bear, you should seek out a health care professional. But there are some ways we can alleviate the feelings of anxiety by using grounding skills.
Try the 10 self-help examples to find what can help you lessen feelings of anxiety. When you find what works for you, practice them until they are a part of your everyday life and you can easily recall them when they are most needed. The more they are practiced the more likely they will alleviate acute anxiety or other stressful emotions and symptoms. This is like fire drills – practice them when it’s not an emergency so when it is an emergency you can exit the building in a safe and orderly fashion. Practicing grounding skills can work the same way.
- Move your body; play a sport, clean, visit with a friend, take a walk.
- Distract yourself with puzzles that make it difficult to think about anything else; say the alphabet backwards or work on a jigsaw puzzle. Word or number puzzles are great, like crosswords, word-finds or Sudoku.
- Listen to relaxing music or nature sounds around you.
- Find smells that relax you, like lavender. Use scented items like a candle, potpourri, or essential oils.
- Eat or drink something calming, such as mint or herbal tea. Focus on how pleasant it tastes.
- Touch something relaxing, such as a soft blanket or pet an animal. Squeeze a stress ball. Enjoy a fidget toy.
- Find time to be mindful of your feelings and experiences. Pray in the traditional sense, practice meditation or try journaling.
- Try to relax. Get a massage, take a nap or enjoy nature.
- Use positive self-talk and affirmations. Write inspirational thoughts in a journal. Reflect on how awesome you are and what you are doing well right now.
- Take a vacation. This can be an actual trip or a “mental vacation” where you can escape into a book or movie.