There’s a real buzz about Glasgow with the Commonwealth Games, but for those of us who experience anxiety, it can all feel a bit much. Crowds, unpredictable public transport and big fences blocking our usual routes can aggravate anxiety and panic attacks.
We asked you to give us your tips to reduce anxious feelings and let you enjoy the excitement. Thank you to everyone who got in touch. Here’s what you came up with.
1. Be prepared
Everything is a bit up in the air just now. The roads are closed off, bus routes have changed and the trains are ridiculously busy. If the idea of being stuck makes you panic, do as much research as possible in advance, so at least you know what to expect. Visit Get Ready Glasgow to plan your route. It’s not usually a good idea to avoid situations that provoke anxiety, but it might help to know when transport will be busiest so you can plan to travel at quieter times.
2. Remember, everyone feels anxious
There’s a very fine line between excitement and anxiety. Of course, we don’t want to belittle the experience of people who live with debilitating anxiety, but remember that it is part of a continuum. When you look around you, remember that lots of the other faces in the crowd will be feeling overwhelmed too. In fact, the people who are completely calm are probably the exception.
There are lots of different schools of thought on how exactly we should breathe, but they all agree on one thing: slow down. Taking time just to breathe helps get the physical symptoms of anxiety under control and gives you something manageable to focus your mind on. It’s a good idea to practice your breathing exercises when you feel calm, so that you know what you’re doing if you start to panic.
4. This too shall pass
The feeling of anxiety is temporary. And so is the disruption of the games. They will pass. It’s hard to remember that when you feel the grip of panic, but reminding yourself can make that moment easier to deal with.
5. Look after your physical health
Aim for stability. Eat regular meals to stabilise your blood sugar and avoid stimulants, like caffeine. Exercise can also make a big difference.
6. You are not in danger
Anxiety and panic attacks can feel terrifying. Many people say that they feel unable to breathe and experience strong physical symptoms like trembling and palpitations. But, although they are frightening, panic attacks cannot harm you.
7. It’s okay to ask for help
Everyone feels anxious sometimes, but if you feel that anxiety or panic attacks are having a negative effect on your life, speak to your GP. There is lots of help available. Visit Moodjuice for more advice.
If you have any other advice, or if you disagree with any of these suggestions, let us know and we’ll update the post.