How to fight your anxiety and win

Anxious feelings are something that are experienced by a lot of us, and they’re a common response to situations where we feel under pressure, but these will usually pass once the stressor has been removed. Anxiety, however, is more than just feeling stressed and worried.

Anxiety itself is a group of disorders – panic attacks being the most common – which can lead to a range of symptoms that present themselves at different levels of severity. Physical symptoms can include hot and cold flushes, quick breathing, a heightened heart rate, tightening of the chest and restlessness. Psychological symptoms on the other hand can present themselves as excessive fear, extreme worry or obsessing thinking.

The good news is that help is easy to find. With the right support, assistance and self-management techniques, anxiety can be managed. Here’s seven helpful tips.

  1. Standing up to your inner demons
    Fortunately, there are a whole range of methods for treating anxiety disorders, that we can use in the comfort and privacy of our own home, which can help us tackle our symptoms and regain confidence.

    Tackle panic with slow breathing. If you’re suffering from a moment of anxiety – stop what you’re doing, hold your breath for ten seconds, exhale and say the word ‘relax’ to yourself. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth (for three seconds in each direction), saying ‘relax’ to yourself on outward breaths. At the end of each minute, hold your breath for ten seconds. Make sure you keep up this breathing technique until all the symptoms have gone and you feel calm again.

    2. Control anxiety by facing your fears
    You can fight your inner demons by gradually confronting the triggering stimuli through conversation, your imagination and direct confrontation. Make sure to do this at manageable levels, while also controlling your anxiety through the slow breathing technique. You should then reward yourself for meeting regularly set goals.

    3. Think straight and solve problems
    Make sure to challenge any worrying thoughts you have by looking for evidence as to why your reactions are appropriate and alternatives you could use instead. Also, be aware of bad thinking habits that might creep up on you, like fretting and exaggeration, and make a conscious effort to think through your worries when you’re feeling calm.

    4. Resist avoidance behaviours
    While it’s natural to try and avoid the things that make us anxious, making a habit of it can lead to missed opportunities for progress. Before you react on a feeling of worry or fear, take a second to ask yourself first if it’s out of anxiety or out of habit.

    5. Practice meditation
    Utilising mindfulness can help you put your mind at ease. You can learn more about managing your thoughts by visiting the meditation sessions on the Benestar Portal.

    6. Exercise regularly
    Working up a sweat even once has the power to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, while regular exercise can significantly alleviate their effects over time.

    7.Seek support
    If you or someone you know is displaying the symptoms of anxiety or panic disorder, you can seek support through your local GP, mental health organisations like Beyond Blueand also Benestar’s MyCoachwho all have a number of resources on hand to help.

Source: This is an edited extract from ‘How to fight your anxiety and win’, available from AFA Care and Benestar at For more information about accessing AFA Care resources available at Benestar please visit