Wellbeing is very important at Cunningtons, and caring for mental health is a huge – and often neglected – aspect of your general health. We look at the debilitating effects of anxiety.

We’re proud to support the Mental Health Foundation and its mission for raising awareness around mental illness.

This year, the topic for Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety. Anxiety is something that we all deal with, but it’s important to recognise and control when we feel anxious to make sure that it doesn’t overwhelm us.

What is anxiety? How do I know I have it?

Anxiety is a physical and mental response to something that makes you feel uncomfortable. There are a whole range of symptoms,, including shortness of breath, increased heart rate, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, restlessness and even hypochondria.

Having problems sleeping due to anxiety is another common indication that your brain may be worrying, even if you don’t realise it.

Reliance on alcohol is another way people have classically both disguised and self-treated anxiety, and it often makes it worse. If alcohol is a potential issue, contacting Alcoholics Anonymous on 0800 9177650 could be an option for you.

OK, I may be anxious. What next?

Implementing coping methods is a great way to stop your anxiety in its tracks, but these differ from person to person. Most people respond well to being active and getting outside to provide somewhere to redirect their energy, while others need to combine exercise with support from friends and family.

Dealing with the causes of anxiety

Finding out the specific cause of your anxiety is a great way to understand how it affects you, and allow you to seek help if attacks are becoming too frequent. For instance, if you are worrying over finances, perhaps contacting Citizens’ Advice to run through different options would help.

Anxiety and health issues

There may come a point where anxiety severely affects your everyday life. Contacting The Samaritans on 116123 is a good first step, before getting in touch with your GP for professional help and guidance.

It can be very difficult to take the first steps in managing your anxiety, but the Mental Health Foundation have great advice on how to start this process: Mental Health Foundation | Good mental health for all.

Prevention: always better than cure

As with so many other health issues, keeping your mind healthy in the first place is more effective than finding a cure.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, taking these steps can help:

  • Don’t bottle up your feelings; it’ll help you feel less alone.
  • Keep in touch with friends, and don’t shy away from meeting new people. Friends can all care for each other, without even knowing that they’re doing anything.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep. This helps you both physically and mentally.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet – taking time to cook and enjoy your food can only have positive effects.
  • Make sure you take enough exercise. So many health conditions are now known to be improved by physical activity.
  • Look at mindfulness as a way of being fully engaged in the world around you.
  • Actively care for and support others – they’ll return the favour!

Make sure you keep an eye on those in your community, as none of you may know when you need help.

Dealing with mental health issues

If you are struggling with your mental health, there is more help available than ever before. Some of us are more prone to mental health issues, whether it be a result of genetic issues, the environment we live in, or traumas in the past.

Added to that, feelings of isolation due to the pandemic, as well as the cost of living crisis, have both helped tip some people into depression and anxiety. However, extensive media coverage and the fact that some issues have affected us all, have made mental health an issue that we all know about.

Follow the links in this article to find tools and information available to help dealing with mental health and anxiety.

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