St John Ambulance Cymru has shared some guidance on how to effectively manage your anxiety this Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15 - May 21)
This Mental Health Awareness Week, the focus is on anxiety. According to Mental Health UK, 1 in 10 of us living in the UK will be living with an anxiety disorder at any one time, making the problem more prevalent than ever.
As Wales’ leading first aid charity, St John Ambulance Cymru understands how effective mental health intervention can be the difference between a life saved and a life lost. The charity run an informative Mental Health First Aid course, which gives attendees a deeper understanding of mental health factors that can affect wellbeing, and explore what people can do to get friends, family members or colleagues the right support. Knowing how to keep yourself and those around you safe is imperative, so the charity is sharing five top tips on how to manage anxious thoughts and feelings:
1. Focus on your breathing – Try breathing exercises to shift your focus and reduce tension by focusing on the present moment.
2. Move your body – Exercise is a great natural remedy for anxiety, especially when doing so in nature. Exercising and spending time in nature are proven ways to improve our general mental (and physical) health.
3. Understand your anxiety – Keeping a diary of what’s happening in your life and how it’s affecting you can help you understand what’s triggering your anxious thoughts and feelings.
4. Talk to friends and family - Sometimes speaking about your anxiety can make worries seem less scary. Chatting to friends and family can also help you feel less alone.
5. Face your fears gradually – Avoiding situations that make us feel anxious can sometimes make the situation worse. Face your fears gradually and eventually the scary situations will become easier.
St John Ambulance Cymru Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Belinda James said: “Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time which is normal, but it's so important that we learn to recognise the signs and symptoms when it becomes overwhelming and affects everyday life
“There is still so much stigma around mental ill health, meaning it can often be difficult to know how to start a conversation about it.
“The Mental Health First Aid course is a fantastic, rewarding opportunity where people can learn more about anxiety and mental health in general. It focuses on how to recognise when someone might be struggling and helps to develop the confidence needed to start the conversation.”
If you are struggling with anxiety, you are not alone. There are various mental health hotlines in Wales which can be there for you during a mental health crisis. You can access support from the NHS by calling 111, or you can reach the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123, which is free from any phone. The Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 from 7pm - 11pm every day.
If you don’t want to speak over the phone, SHOUT provide a 24/7 support service via text on 85258 which provides immediate help.