Tuesday, 23 August 2016

4 Distraction Techniques for Anxiety

Enduring my anxiety can be oh-so difficult at times but I'm steadily building up my arsenal of distraction techniques. Today I thought I'd share them with you.
Narrate your current situation.
 This is my most recently practiced technique and as a reader/writer it's one of my favourites. In my head, I'll 'narrate' my current situation as if I were writing a story. I'll focus on what's around me and try and come up with the best way to describe a certain colour or a particular person's facial features and just 'write' things as they happen to me. I exclusively narrate in the past tense - I feel that way it's almost as if it's already happened and I know that I've survived it. Sometimes it's helpful for me to narrate the anxiety itself and to explain what's happening to my mind/body and the reasons why, but a lot of the time I'll just mention the anxiety in passing without focusing on it. You can practice this technique by 'writing' in your head like I do, you could use the Notes app on your phone or you could put pen to paper and use a notebook.
Create back-stories for other people.
This technique is kind of similar to the one above but it's one I like to use when I'm on public transport. My anxiety causes me to catastrophize things and can sometimes convince me that people are going to hurt me even if they're just sitting there and are paying no attention to me what-so-ever. A way to calm myself down is to humanise the people around me and to create little stories for them. You could choose a passenger at random and name them, think up a reason why they're on this particular bus, how they feel about it and what they're going to do once they're off of it. For example: the woman sat in front of me is called Flo, she's on this bus because she was visiting her boyfriend last night and is on her journey home. Once she gets home she's going to pour herself a mug of milky coffee and binge watch Orange Is The New Black. Just try not to stare at the person you've chosen!
'Collect' your surroundings. 
This technique spawned from a game I used to play with my family when on long car trips. At the beginning of the journey we would write a list of things and it was our job to tick each of them off whenever we spotted them. The things on the list could be anything, for example: an ambulance, a woman with long hair, a specific breed of dog or a barber shop. I still do this sometimes on car journeys but it's also quite helpful when I'm out walking - I could look out for specific road signs or silly things like bits of rubbish abandoned on the pavement.  Again, you could keep track in your head but I like to use my phone or a notebook.
Notice your body and your breathing.
I touched on this technique in this post but I feel it's very relevant for this one so I'm going to over it again. It's a very mindful technique and encourages you to draw your attention inward. You could choose to focus on your breathing and perhaps try to measure each breath by a certain amount of seconds each time. Another option - and the one I prefer - is to focus on sensations. How do your feet feel inside your shoes? Can you feel where your hair touches your skin? Can you feel any breeze, source where it's coming from and notice where it hits your body? I find this technique calming as it encourages me to focus on myself and my body instead of paying attention to other people.

Do you have any particular distraction techniques for your anxiety? Share them in the comments!

If you liked this post then check out: 3 Tips For Relieving Anxiety and 4 Tips For Overcoming Anxiety.

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Sunday Post 09

 { This week :: home comforts and self-care. }

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Art Therapy At Home 2.0

It's been well over a year since my last art therapy session but I still rely on the practice to keep my anxiety in check. There's something very freeing about art therapy, and I find it can help release stopped-up feelings as it doesn't require you to actually try and articulate your emotions in a way for someone else to listen to or understand. Today I thought I'd share another load of little work books I use whenever I have a little art therapy session by myself at home. If you haven't checked out my original Art Therapy At Home post then definitely do so as it features some more artistic and creative ideas for art therapy as opposed to the more structured work books in this post!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Sunday Post 08

I've been feeling particularly tired and anxious this week and I couldn't really pinpoint why - at least until I sat down to write this post and realised I've been out almost every day this week. Can you believe it?! I often feel like I've not made any progress with my anxiety this year and yet when I compare a week like this one to a week set in January/February it's pretty apparent that some progress is being made. Funny how these things work, isn't it?

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Let's Talk About Nephrotic Syndrome

I like to use my own life experiences to help others. I'm constantly nattering on about my anxiety and depression, both to help myself and to raise awareness and reduce stigma, plus I opened up a little while ago about my dad's cancer story. I find that sharing experiences not only helps me to endure them - I almost use it like a sword and shield - but I like to think that it helps others too, even if it is only in a very small way. Today I'm going to talk to you about another health issue, one that plagues my favourite little human in the entire world - my little sister, Leigh. She is eight years old - nine next week! - and she has Nephrotic Syndrome.
Nephrotic Syndrome ; noun.
A kidney disease, characterized by oedema and the loss of protein from the plasma into the urine due to increased glomerular permeability.