Five ways to cope with anxiety

Five ways to cope with anxiety

Fears about the unrest in South Africa can leave you feeling anxious and stressed. These tips will help you get through this difficult period. 

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Picture: iStock

Many South Africans are currently consumed by feelings of shock, sadness, and anger.

The unrest in the country is hard to ignore, especially when you can hear gunshots from your bedroom or see buildings go up in flames in your community. 

Feelings of anxiety also make it hard for people to carry out simple tasks. But it is important to note that how you are feeling is a normal reaction to what is happening around you. 

We've put together five things you can do when those feelings creep in. 

Listen to music

Music is scientifically proven to help boost your mood. It is a powerful source of inspiration, especially on those days when stress and anxiety are weighing your spirit down. Music has also been used as a form of therapy for stroke patients who suffer from anxiety during acute rehabilitation. The findings of one study showed that after listening to music for one hour some participants "reported significantly less anxiety compared to before the intervention". 

You can make a playlist of some of your favourite songs and just keep them on standby for when you need them most. Marconi Union's 'Weightless' is often listed as one of the top 10 songs that helps reduce anxiety

ALSO READ: New study finds grey hair could be reversible with less stress!

Speak to family and friends

Bottling up your emotions can sometimes make things worse. Don't be afraid to speak to a friend or family member you trust about how you are feeling. It doesn't have to be a full-on "therapy session" but getting those feelings off your chest can help you feel less anxious. You might be surprised to learn that people in your close circle are going through something similar. Set up a WhatsApp group and instead of sharing updates about the news, share positives messages and quotes that will make people smile. 

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Start Journaling 

If you are not comfortable talking to people about your feelings, write them down. According to the University of Rochester Medical Centre, journaling is a healthy way to manage anxiety. 

URMC says journaling helps people control their symptoms and improve their mood by: 

"- Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns
- Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them
- Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors"


Not only is exercising a good distraction from the world around you but it also a natural mood booster. When you exercise your endorphin levels increase, which makes you feel good. According to MayoClinic, exercising regularly "can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety". 

Take a deep breath

It seems too simple to work, but taking a deep breath can help you feel more relaxed. Some people who suffer from anxiety often have irregular breathing, especially when they start to panic. recommends that you "Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs. Hold your breath to the count of “three.” Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach."

ALSO READ: Recipe: Emergency bread with no yeast

Main image courtesy of iStock/Ponomariova_Maria

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