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Anxiety pt2. Tools and Strategies

Updated: Jun 7

It's safe to say that anxiety has been experienced by most of us at some point in our lives. 

The fast-paced world we live in today can often exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, making it crucial to have tools in your toolkit to manage it effectively - no matter your age. 

We recently discussed the common and not-so-common symptoms of anxiety across the lifespan on our blog (check that out first before diving in here!). 


Children


It’s essential for children to learn skills to manage anxiety from a young age, providing them with tools they can use throughout their lives. Unfortunately, many older generations missed out on this early education. Now, with a greater understanding of anxiety, we know that developing these skills through introducing anxiety-reducing strategies early on can significantly assist in managing anxiety throughout life. Parents and carers play a pivotal role in their child's world. So, what are some strategies that can help your anxious child?



Relaxation Techniques

Deep belly breathing, rainbow breathing, 5-finger breathing. 

Have a Designated Quiet Space

Somewhere they can retreat to when they are feeling overwhelmed.

Stick to a routine

Having a consistent routine provides structure for the brain and reduces unpredictability, which provides more security and less anxiety. 

Provide emotional support

Acknowledge that their feelings of anxiety are real and valid.

Education

Books and videos can be a great starting point. 

Be a role model

Show them how you manage your own stress and anxiety e.g. Mum is feeling anxious right now, so she is going to take 3 big deep breaths before she leaves the house. 

Break down tasks

Get those problem-solving skills going and break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. 

Role-play

Role-playing through anxiety-provoking situations can be useful for working through what they can do in the situation and providing perspective on the worst possible outcomes. 

Media consumption

Turn off the news! Limit their exposure to stressful news or intense media. 

Art and creativity

These can be great outlets for them to express themselves. 

Get moving

Encourage physical activities like walking, biking, or team sports. 

Consider professional help

Therapy can be beneficial if anxiety is significantly impacting your child's life. 


Teens


Managing anxiety in teenagers requires strategies that respect their growing independence while still providing effective support.



Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to manage anxiety.

Deep breathing

Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

Physical activity

Encourage physical activity that they enjoy.

Balanced diet

What they eat directly influences their mood. Encourage a healthy diet at home.

Sleep hygiene

Sleep is extremely important for our teens, they need a consistent sleep schedule with good sleep hygiene practices like phone off by 8 pm, and limiting blue light in the evening. 

Manage social media and screen time

Teen brains are not equipped to handle the overwhelming amount of information on social media, nor can they easily distinguish that online lives often highlight only the best moments. This constant comparison can lead to anxiety, as they may wonder why their own lives or appearances don't measure up.

Planning tools

Use planners or calendars to help manage school work and provide structure and reminders of what is due. 

Break tasks down

Assessments can often be overwhelming and it can be helpful to break down a bigger task into smaller more manageable steps. 

Grounding techniques

Like the 5-4-3-2-1 technique can help teens stay present and reduce anxiety. 

Encourage hobbies

Support them in continuing activities they enjoy, as our teens can sometimes stop doing the things they once enjoyed due to the pressure of school or the need to fit in. 



Adults 


For adults, managing anxiety involves integrating self-care practices into daily routines


Take time for yourself

Whether that’s 10 minutes of yoga or mindful breathing, make time for self-care 

Mindfulness and meditation

Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditation and mindfulness exercises that help calm the nervous system and ease anxiety

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This technique systematically relaxes different muscle groups in the body 

Regular exercise

Engage in physical activity you enjoy to reduce anxiety 

Get outdoors

Spend time in nature

Journaling

Writing in a journal regularly is a great way to process emotions and reduce anxiety, when starting this it can be useful to have a guided journal 

5 senses walking meditation

A simple technique that can be done while on a walk that engages all 5 senses - name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste - this grounds you into your environment and can reduce anxiety 

Magnesium supplements

Consider taking magnesium at night for relaxation 

Social media consumption

Evaluate what you are consuming online and whether it’s what you want to be consuming

Seek therapy

professional help can be crucial in managing anxiety 


It's important to remember that each person is unique, and while some of these tools may work for you, others might not. The source of your anxiety also plays a significant role in determining the most effective course of action. However, introducing anxiety-reducing tools earlier in life can provide us with strong foundations to build upon as we go through each stage; child, teen and adult. These strategies provide a useful starting point for managing anxiety and adding to your toolbox, empowering you or someone close to you to navigate life's challenges with greater resilience and peace of mind.



A image of a lady deep breathing and text about our post on an
A picture showing our blog piece on Anxiety

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