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Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

Once a year the UK comes together to focus on achieving good mental health dedicating a week to tackling the stigma and helping people understand mental health. 

In an attempt to increase public understanding, Mental Health Awareness Week began in 2001. Each year has a new theme for discussion to focus on, with this year's theme being Anxiety. 

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that we all feel, however, if one's anxiety gets out of control it can become a mental health problem. Exam pressures, relationships, employment concerns, finances or other big life events can lead to feelings of anxiety. 

Anxiety manifests in different ways for different people and can affect you both mentally and physically. You might get headaches, have a loss of appetite or feel breathless. Anxiety may also lead you to feel tense, nervous, tearful or have trouble sleeping. Considering how Anxiety manifests differently in different people, there is a multitude of helpful coping mechanisms that can be used to manage these feelings. 

The Mental Health Foundation offers nine helpful tips to help manage anxiety.

Focus on your breathing

If you are feeling anxious being conscious of your breathing can help calm your thoughts and ease your anxiety

2. Get moving

Exercise is a good way of dealing with anxiety. You can choose any activity you enjoy, stretching, yoga, or just going for a walk can help take your mind off your anxious thoughts. 

3. Keep a diary

Ignoring our worries does not make them go away. Taking the time to keep a record of what’s happening in your life and how it’s affecting you can help you understand what is triggering your feelings of anxiety. 

4. Challenge your thoughts

Are you thinking about things over and over again? You are ruminating and it does not help your anxiety. If you catch yourself doing this, try to challenge these thoughts and consider the realities of your thoughts, will the thing you happening about happen? Is this something that is in your control?

5. Get support for money worries

If you are worried about money, do not be afraid to seek help. There is a multitude of resources available to help you support yourself and your family and get both your finances and mental health back on track. 

6. Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature has a positive impact on our mental health and can help us feel calmer and less stressed.

7. Connect with people and talk about how you feel

You don't have to deal with these feelings alone. Spending time with friends or meeting other people to chat about your feelings can be very helpful.

8. Try to get some quality sleep or rest

Sleeping can be hard when you've got anxious thoughts running through your head. However, trying your best to get a good night's rest is vitally important.

9. Try to eat a healthy diet

Anxiety may cause us to reach for sugary snacks, junk food or alcohol. It’s important not to turn to unhealthy foods or drinks as a way to cope as they will do more damage in the longer term. 

Source: Mental Health Foundation. Accessed 25/05/2023