Last week I posted about post-natal anxiety, I only ever planned to do one post about it but it’s had such a great response I wondered if there was more to be said on the subject.
Today I want to talk about things or techniques that I found really useful when I was going through the worst of it.
When the GP told me to look into relaxation techniques I nearly laughed him out of his own surgery. I mean, relax?! Surely the whole anxiety thing meant I didn’t relax. Ever. Well that’s what it felt like anyway. But like the good patient that I am I went online and started to look into it. Now, I can honestly say these techniques didn’t cure me but when I was having a bad day with my anxiety it certainly helped in the short term. There are all sorts of breathing techniques out there to help.
When you become anxious your breathing quickens and that can make you feel physically terrible. By slowing your breathing down your body naturally relaxes but what this also does is makes you focus on something else rather than what you are anxious about. Thinking about the basic act of breathing in and out really helps to put your mind somewhere else and take you out of the cycle you have become stuck in.
I have heard really good things about meditation in relation to anxiety. I tried it and found it incredibly hard to switch my brain off to the degree that meditation requires. However, there are some great meditation/relaxation videos on YouTube that talk you though breathing exercises or help you to picture something in your mind. It’s definitely worth giving a go.
What now?! I hear you shout. Stay with me here. I read somewhere that a great technique for anxious feelings when you’re out and about, maybe at a friends house where it isn’t really appropriate to go and lie on their spare bed, pop your earphones in for an hour and start meditating is quiet distraction. The one that really worked for me was keeping a hair elastic on my wrist; no one thinks anything of it because us girls often like to tie our hair up halfway through the day. The technique is to just start discretely twanging (I’m sorry I literally can’t think of another word!) the elastic, focus on doing that rather than your anxiety. I agree, this sounds far fetched, it did to me too but it really did help.
This is the hardest one of all but no doubt was the one that got me better. I think this technique you can only do when you’re ready though. The basic idea of this is to literally face it. Say to your anxiety ‘OK, come on then, show me the best you have, show me the worst you can make me feel’ and let it be there. Don’t try and get out of the situation you’re in, don’t try and fight how you are feeling. Let it just be in your head and eventually it will just slowly disappear. This is incredibly hard at first but when you realise nothing bad happens when you face it then the easier it becomes. I learnt the basics of this technique from Charles Linden which I mentioned in my previous post.
Writing this all down makes it all sound so easy. I know it’s not and there were many a time where I just got myself out of the situation that was making me feel anxious and thought sod the techniques but other times I held on and tried them out. Give them a go if you’re feeling anxious. I still sometimes feel anxious now and I still use these techniques so I promise they are tried and tested.
Like I said in my previous post about this I don’t have any medical knowledge about post natal anxiety or indeed any type of anxiety disorder, these are just things that helped me.
I hope this helps.
Have a lovely day.