London is full of people experiencing anxiety: it’s one of the capital’s most commonly reported health issues, and living in a big city is known to be a risk factor for developing the condition. What’s making us so anxious? What can we do to calm down when we feel frazzled? And what about tackling the issue in the long term?
We’ve spoken to four experts in dealing with anxiety, who’ve shared some common causes and handy coping strategies with us.
The therapist: Lucy Blair
‘We pick up ideas like feeling guilty, ashamed or hurt, and tell ourselves they’re unbearable. If you feel like you’re going to have a panic attack, look at your shoes and describe them to yourself. And practise mindful walking: really focus on nature when you walk instead of just living in your head.’
Lucy does CBT at Barnsbury Therapy Rooms
The Buddhist: Danayutta
‘We can tend to shut off from the world in order to get through our day. Meditation can help: it’s time and space to get some perspective on your life. Try the London Buddhist Centre’s free six-week meditation challenge.’
Danayutta is a meditation teacher at the London Buddhist Centre
The masseuse: Tracy Byrne
‘Checking our devices every second can make us anxious. We need to make sure we’re not doing that and be more mindful about what we’re saying yes to. The physical process of writing out your thoughts is good for getting you out of your head. Regular massage, reflexology and acupuncture are really restful. They increase all the good hormones in the brain.’
Tracy works at Holistic Health Hackney
The yoga teacher: Rebekah Hay-Brown
‘The world we live in now is non-stop and we’ve lost the structure of our working week. Place one hand on your chest and slow your breath down. It will soothe the nervous system. And go to bed earlier. Sleep is really key and normally the first thing that goes when our stress levels are up.’
Rebekah teaches at Triyoga in Ealing