Anxiety Self-Help

The people making a difference: the man who set up a mental health walking group for ‘blokes’

After bottling up his own anxieties for a decade, Scott Oughton-Johnson created a group for other men who’ve felt the same. Now it’s his turn to be treatedScott Oughton-Johnson simply did not talk about his feelings. Not when he separated from the mother of his children a decade ago, and not during their subsequent custody battle.“I was in and out of court for the best part of 10 years,” says the 35-year-old community sports coach from south London. “It was a nightmare. I bottled it all up. People would say, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ But inside, it was terrible. The stress and anxiety were killing me.” Continue reading…

Panic 101: what to do during a panic attack – and how to prevent them

A sudden episode of intense fear leaves sufferers feeling debilitated and out of control. Practical steps can help to regain calm and avoid future attacksPanic is like a runaway train. A form of acute anxiety that quickly spirals out of control. As a psychiatrist, I try to help prevent anxiety from escalating into panic in the first place. There is so much we can do – from getting plenty of sleep to daily breathing exercises, to keeping blood sugar stable – to decrease overall anxiety and eliminate unnecessary stress responses that might otherwise drop us into a state of panic. But sometimes our anxiety passes the point of no return and we find ourselves in a full-blown panic attack – a sudden episode of intense fear, accompanied by physical reactions such as rapid heart rate and shortness of breath.A panic attack is essentially a discrete stress response in the body with no real danger or apparent cause. In a survey of over 3,000 urban residents across the UK, more than half stated that they’d had at least one panic attack in their life, with 14% experiencing them at least once a month. Continue reading…

Self-care for anxiety

Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Individuals suffering from anxiety may find themselves prone to: Overthinking Planning for all worst-case scenarios Being indecisive Fearing rejection Seeking out constant communication (and getting anxious if a

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How I learned to tame my hypochondria

Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people suffering with health anxiety. Annalisa Barbieri reveals what triggered – and eventually settled – her ‘late-onset hypochondria’Surrounded, as I was growing up, by slightly health-hysterical women (“How are you?” I once asked an aunt over the phone. “I’m on a mobile intravenous drip,” was the answer), I never worried about my own health. There simply wasn’t room to anyway, because someone was always more ill. How I laughed at my friend Mark when, in our 20s, he thought he was dying due to some dodgy bolognese. Even when I smoked and developed what would now be a Google-worthy search – a searing pain in my lungs – I just lay on a tennis ball and massaged the spot. It went.So when my, as I came to call it, “late-onset hypochondria” hit, in my 40s, I wasn’t ready for it. And I didn’t know how terrifying it could be. In its own way, it is an illness. (Strictly speaking hypochondriasis and health anxiety are two separate malaises with overlapping features.) The background to all this was deaths – lots of them. My cousin died, aged 51, her death shrouded in whispers and secrets; then a friend died, then another, then another. This last friend, Callie, had felt fine, gone to the doctor and was dead two weeks later. All these friends had also been 51 when they died and in my mind, it seemed impossible to get beyond that age. Continue reading…

How to Stop Needing Everyone to Like You

What Does it Mean If You Want Everyone to Like You? Are you wondering how to stop needing everyone to like you? The need to be liked by others is a deep-seated psychological vulnerability. It’s often driven by low self-esteem and a fear of rejection. People pleasers go out of their way to avoid conflict … Read More about How to Stop Needing Everyone to Like You
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‘Anxiety is part of me’: Mara Wilson and other anxious minds on how they cope

From lavender oil to a cold martini, Bruce Springsteen to sertraline, four writers share the tools they have found to manage their symptomsOf the nine most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders on the Mind website, I’ve been diagnosed with seven. I realise this is a peculiar boast, but in case you’re wondering – hypochondria, a legitimate anxiety disorder in itself – isn’t among my diagnoses. Continue reading…

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