Today, it seems that so many of us experience crippling anxiety. For about 2 years I suffered with it on a daily basis, so I wanted to share 5 really useful tips that have helped me get to a point where I can live my life without the fear of anxiety holding me back.

Allow yourself to feel anxious:

Some people might ask, “If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, friends and family that love you, why do you feel so anxious?” This question basically implies that we shouldn’t feel the way we do, because we are actually quite fortunate compared to a lot of people. But this is the misconception that encourages people to deny their own anxious feelings. One of the reasons why anxiety and depression are on the rise is because we’re always trying to fight our negative experiences rather than learn from them. And we all know that when we start a fight, someone always ends up getting hurt. We need to embrace and accept our anxiety before we can even begin to deal with it. Give it permission to be there, you have every right to feel the way you do!

Make your life easier by gathering tools:

Whatever task we do we need tools to do it, so undertaking the task of gaining better mental health means collecting tools also. There is nothing shameful in needing someone to hold your hand whilst you go to the shop. There is nothing wrong with needing your iPod on the bus to relax you, or a book to distract you. There is nothing weird about choosing a bubble bath over a night out because you simply can’t handle the pressure of loud music and rowdy boozers. Stop being so hard on yourself and use these tools to your advantage!

Look for relief:

“What would bring me the most relief right now?” This is a question to ask yourself every time you feel anxiety arising. That feeling of relieving satisfaction you get when realising you have an extra hour in bed: this is the feeling that needs to be sought after. Overcoming anxiety really boils down to being gentler on ourselves and loving ourselves more, so just do what makes you happy!

Approach everyone as your brother and sister:

This tip might sound quite strange, but for people with social anxiety especially, it is so effective. when I used to get anxious with lots of people around I would just imagine that they were all my brothers and sisters, and we were just hanging out together, like you would with your family, sat around the TV watching your favourite episode of friends. It really did help. And actually, it’s not that hard to imagine because we are all like brothers and sisters in a way – we all share the same planet! The more you practice this technique, the less scary people and situations become.

Give yourself a foot massage:

At some point during the day, preferably when you first wake up, give your feet a massage, or if possible get a professional massage. Anxiety usually occurs when we get caught up in our thoughts, so physical touch really helps to ground us in the present moment. Not only does it care for your mind and soul, it cares for your body too.