Ways to help deal with and reduce anxiety

 

Our Helpline & Information Officer, Stuart Macgee provides information on ways to help deal with and reduce anxiety, especially during this uncertain time.

Anxiety is a core emotion that many people experience at certain points in life.

It can be quite significant in the life of a person with epilepsy. People may become anxious after the diagnosis of their condition, it could be a side effect of your medication or a symptom of your epilepsy.

It is perfectly normal that the feeling of anxiety is heightened especially given the new restrictions and the current uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although anxiety does not cause epilepsy, for some people it may well be a seizure trigger.

If you continue to feel a continuous level of anxiety in your life, it’s time to ask for help. You can contact our freephone helpline on 0808 800 2200 and talk to someone and find out what help is out there

You may find that once you have asked for help and let people know how you feel, you feel more in control of your life. This may help you feel less anxious about having epilepsy.

There are also a number of ways, which can help you reduce your anxiety levels.

 

Breating & relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques can help towards lowering your anxiety levels. This could be learning specific breathing exercises like mediation or yoga.

We all have different ways of relaxing, and for some people this could be simply listening to music or going for a walk.

Whatever works for you, try and incorporate this into your daily life, so you will reap the benefits.

Remember Epilepsy Scotland has a wellbeing service which offers breathing & relaxation classes in a friendly and welcoming environment. For more information click here.

 

Anxiety

Be more active

Exercise is good for you and can make you feel more positive and less anxious.

It can help clear your thoughts and deal with problems more calmly. It can also alter the chemical balance in the brain to counter the effects of stress and anxiety.

Even just going for a walk can help you clear your head and reduce your anxiety.

 

Put things into perspective 

If you can, try and identify everything that makes you feel anxious. Ask yourself, is this something I can change? If not, you may need to let it go.

For example, if you are anxious about what people might think if you have a seizure in public, it’s pointless. You can’t control what other people think about you. It’s their problem, not yours.

Focus on the areas of your life you may have some control over. For example, if you are affected by side effects of your medication, seek medical advice from your epilepsy specialist.

Or identify possible seizure triggers and work on avoiding or reducing these.

 

Connect with people

Having epilepsy can make you feel lonely at times. It’s not always easy to open up to others and talk about what it’s like for you.

Bottling things up can make you feel anxious. Find someone you trust and start talking.

Some people may find it easier to talk to someone they don’t know. Our helpline is here to help contact them on 0808 800 2200.

Alternatively, sign up to an online support group, such as our own online private Epilepsy Scotland Facebook support group. Knowing you are not alone in what you experience and how you feel can help you feel connected.

For more information on dealing with stress or anxiety, please read our factsheet by clicking the link. For a hard copy, please email contact@epilepsyscotland.org.uk.

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