Feeling anxious? You are not alone. We are here for you. Our wellbeing consultant, Jen Wood, shares her thoughts here about how to cope with increased anxiety.

"I have experienced anxiety over the last few weeks. I don’t know many who haven’t. However, some of us are naturally more resilient than others. I have a big anxiety toolkit and I’d like to share some of my go-to tips with you.

Laugh for no reason
Laughing can release a happy hormone, which will help us cope better. Deliberate laughter (or fake it 'til you make it) is as effective for relieving anxiety and depression as spontaneous laughter.

Shake it off!
Find your favourite piece of music and give yourself a good shake. Start with shaking your hands, then your arms, and then shake one leg, and then the other. Put on Taylor Swift and ‘Shake It Off’.

Breathe in, breathe out…and relax
If you can zoom your attention in to your breath, it can become an ‘anchor’ and help slow down that hamster wheel in your brain (AKA rumination). Imagine you are breathing in your favourite colour, and breathing out anything that you’re ready to let go of. Let your imagination guide you.

Ground yourself using 5-4-3-2-1
Start by taking a deep breath and follow this:

  • Look for 5 things you can see
  • Feel 4 things with your body – socks on your feet, the chair you are sitting on...
  • Listen for 3 sounds you can hear – like traffic outside, birds, a ticking clock...
  • Name 2 things you can smell – cooking or perfume... If you can’t smell anything, name your 2 favourite smells.
  • Name 1 thing you can taste. If you can’t taste anything, say what your favourite taste is. Mine is peanut butter!

Take another deep breath and see if you are feeling better.

You are enough
There is lots of research to show that good enough is better than perfect. Aiming for perfection saps our motivation because we never get there, while taking small steps and aiming for good enough can encourage us to keep going.

Nature nurtures
Do you have a park nearby where you could go for a walk each day? Can you find somewhere with trees? Forest therapy is very popular in Japan, where people walk in forests to get away from the stresses of daily life.

Focus on the positive
If you have an inner anxious voice, which worries about everything, why not give that part an image and a voice? Then give an image to your wise and positive part, or voice. If your anxious part is full of worries, ask yourself what your wise positive part would say. You can learn to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Sleep better, cope better
Improving our sleep can be a game changer for easing anxiety. Look out for next week’s blog post, which is dedicated to improving sleep.

Remember, you don’t have to cope with your anxiety alone. We are here to help you. Let’s do this together."

Jen Wood is an emotional wellbeing coach, therapist and mindfulness teacher with 20 years’ experience. She is also our wellbeing consultant at The Yard. Jen is offering weekly bite-sized videos sharing mindfulness techniques and wellbeing tools for our members. For more information about Jen, visit jenwoodwellbeing.com.