Let’s be clear, everyone experiences anxiety. It is one of the most common mental health issues, which is why the majority of people I work with come to me with anxiety-related concerns.
Women are far more likely to have anxiety and its associated symptoms than men (typical!) and when you add motherhood into the equation, it is even more likely. Anxiety is often triggered and perpetuated by stress and overwhelm, which mums endure quite frequently.
Anxiety can look different for everyone and it’s a completely normal response, by the way - so if it’s something you’ve been experiencing, you’re not alone. I just thought I was a bit of a ‘worrier’, not realising over time I was in a constant state of worry, critique and negativity. I’ve since overcome this and have waved goodbye to over 90% of my ‘worrying’ behaviour.
Perhaps you resonate with one of these?
Having a worry you just can’t get out of your mind
A repetitive action you just have to keep doing
Feeling constantly on edge or irritable
Trouble concentrating or not sleeping very well
Avoiding some social situations
Having shortness of breath or heart palpitations
Not being able to relax or just ‘be’ for a few moments…
To be fair, I would say mums experience many of these simply due to being a mum! However, constant triggers and the pace of our ‘do it all’ lives can build up over time to exasperate initially manageable symptoms.
As mums, if we're aware of what triggers us into a state of stress, overwhelm or anxiety and the inevitable physical symptoms that come along with it (IBS flare up, anyone?!) we can start to shift not only our thoughts but our behaviours to lessen the impact (thoughts for another blog!).
If any anxious thoughts or feelings are starting to have a noticeable negative impact on your daily life, then there are many helpful techniques, usable guidance and expert support you can call upon.
How can we start releasing and overcoming anxiety? Here are 3 quick practical tips you can try the next time you have a wave of anxiety (even with the kids in tow!):
Controlled Breathing -
Breathing is vital in reducing both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety.
It acts as a distraction, by focusing your attention on the breath and triggers anti-stress hormones throughout the body. If the kids are being a challenge, get them to do it with you!
Controlled breathing involves breathing deeply into your lower abdomen for the count of 4, and out for the count of 6, repeating this for at least a few minutes. It genuinely works!
Compassionate Self-Talk -
Anxiety can develop from self-criticism, such as believing you don’t have the skills to cope with challenging situations. It’s that little voice inside your head, ready to reiterate your insecurities, such as ‘I'm not good enough’ or ‘I can’t do it’ (how often do we all feel this?!).
Compassionate self-talk can help reduce anxiety and self-criticism, whilst boosting your confidence and resilience. For example, “I’ve coped before, I can get through this.”
You can say these out loud or in your mind…get the kids involved, if they witness you reiterating your self-compassion, it will help develop it in themselves too.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Method - When you’re feeling anxious about something that’s happening, or is potentially going to happen, this method will help you to focus on being in the present.
It’s super easy and you can do this wherever you may be (with or without the kids). It includes naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. As you focus on each sense, your mind is distracted from the anxious thought and re-focused on what is happening right now.
Did you know, Hypnotherapy is one of the most effective forms of therapy in treating anxiety related issues? I often have clients referred by their GP’s for my expertise, because hypnotherapy is recognised as such a beneficial treatment.
If you’ve been experiencing any anxious thoughts or feelings, whether recently or long term and are ready to commit to making the changes necessary to feel calmer, more at ease and in control of your thoughts, then this could be your answer.
It’s not going to take months or years or a huge financial investment; in as little as three to four 1 hour sessions, your anxiety can be transformed, creating more ease, calmness, confidence and control over your thoughts. It’s all completely possible for you, whether you’re a mum or not!