By Lauren Lafferty
As you already know, one in four people will experience mental health issues and almost 5% will experience anxiety. Recently therapist Chloe Brotheridge spoke to The Independent about how to manage your anxiety. Her interview is more than your usual ‘tips from a therapist’ as she too suffered with anxiety for much of her life.
Chloe recalls first having a panic attack at 15 years of age. She revealed that after the experience she felt very unsafe in her own body, fearing she could lose control at any moment.
“Panic attacks are pretty scary; I thought I was having a heart attack and dying, having no idea what was happening to me.”
Chloe said that it wasnt until she reached 25 that she started going to counselling.
“A mixture of therapy, self-hypnosis (at 25 I trained as a hypnotherapist), meditation and learning how to take care of myself made a huge difference. Learning that anxiety was normal and I didn’t have to feel ashamed was a huge step for me.”
Meditation is at the top of chloe’s list to manage her anxiety. She also encourages her clients to use it to help calm their own anxiety.
Her full statement on meditation:
“Think of it as a brain training exercise, one that actually changes the structure of your brain, I like to think of it as upgrading my brain’s hardware… Instead of fighting against feelings of anxiety such as a racing heart, allow the feelings to be there, and breathe through them instead. Carl Jung said ‘What we resist, persists’ and I see so many people battling against their anxious feelings, which only makes them worse. Instead, take deep belly breaths, slightly lengthening the out-breath, to calm the fight or flight response. Paradoxically, when we accept anxious feelings, they pass by themselves.”
Another thing that helps according to chloe is keeping a journal. Writing journal’s can be very beneficial.
- They can help you prioritize problems, fears and concerns
- Tracking symptoms and feelings day-to-day can help you identify triggers and learn how to control them
- Help you identify negative thoughts and behaviours
- Provide an opportunity for positive self-talk
- Help to remember times you felt anxious and what went through your head to share with a therapist/loved one
- Writing down your feelings gives you time to process and understand them
The overall solution according to Chloe comes down to self-love and appreciation, taking care of your body, opening up and discussing your feelings and finally doing the things you’re afraid to do.
“This grow’s your confidence and teaches you that you can indeed cope.”