Sarah Barr from the New Beginnings Counselling Service shares simple and practical strategies to use to manage anxiety.

“Coping with anxiety can be overwhelming. It may trigger your fight or flight response, while using all of your physical and mental energy”.

Living with anxiety every day can be exhausting. It is always present no matter what you are doing, or how much you need to focus on different tasks. It can impact on your daily life, and spill over into other areas, such as your relationships, your job and completing household chores. This can make you feel even more overwhelmed.

Having anxiety can happen to anyone, at anytime. However there is hope, there are strategies you can use to manage anxiety. I hope today’s can offer you some help if you are facing anxiety at the minute.


  • The impact of anxiety on your brain

During times of increased anxiety, the brain can be so overwhelmed with stress, that it will reduce the levels of energy it provides to different areas of your body. This can lead to digestion problems or tension headaches, which can be caused by feeling more stressed and overwhelmed

  • The impact of anxiety on your mental health

When we talk about feeling overwhelmed, we are talking about how anxiety usually causes us severe stress that affects our thoughts. Anxiety makes it so hard to focus on anything other than your anxiety, therefore the more you focus on anxiety, the more anxiety you will feel. Some people may feel alot of emotional distress, causing them to cry, become more irritable or loose hope that their anxiety will stop.

Anxiety or panic attack sufferers often feel that they have no control over their situation, and that anxiety is now controlling them.

  • The impact of anxiety on your physical health

Anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, however physical symptoms can often lead to anxiety. Severe anxiety leads to physical ailments especially during an anxiety attack such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Difficulty in catching a breath
  • Feeling sick
  • Dizziness


“Anxiety is a naturally overwhelming condition, sometimes it can become so overwhelming that your mind and body will suffer as a result.”

  • How to manage your anxiety

Anxiety can be managed. The best way to stop feeling overwhelmed from anxiety is to control it.

Below are some tips that may be useful, in overcoming the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

1. Distractions: 

It can be difficult to distract yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. However, it can be done. By calling a friend and talking on the phone, your mind finds it hard to focus on your anxiety and talk on the phone at the same time. Therefore reducing your anxiety.

2. Go For a Walk:

Walking also makes it difficult for you mind to focus on your anxiety. Listening to music, or a radio programme can also distract your mind from anxious thoughts. Walking also moves blood around your body, and this helps to control your breathing and your heart rate.

Moville Pier

3. Controlled Breathing:

Controlling your breathing is important, as anxiety symptoms can create new anxiety symptoms. Breathing in slowly, and breathing out slowly can help if you are hyperventilating. When someone experiences a panic attack, they can hyperventilate. Hyperventilating stops your body from creating enough carbon dioxide, because you are breathing it out too quickly. This can lead to chest pains and feeling dizzy.

4. Keep a diary:

When your thoughts are too overwhelming, another effective thing to try is writing your thoughts down. This has been shown to have a positive effect on our mind. Our thoughts have been released from our mind and we can now see them in black and white. This can also help to clarify your thoughts.


5. Exercise:

Exercise is also a powerful tool to combat feeling overwhelmed. It uses up energy and tires out your muscles, whilst improves your breathing so that your symptoms are not as severe. Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but for your mental health too.

If you feel anxiety is controlling you, and you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, talking to a trained professional can offer you the support and help you need to move forward.

I work from my own practice in Moville, and I also offer counselling in Letterkenny. If you are unsure if counselling is for you, you are welcome to join me for a coffee (or tea) and a chat, at my Shepherd’s Hut in Moville. This is free and with no commitment, just a chat.

Sometimes counselling can be seen as clinical and scary. I want to offer a warm, friendly service that works towards empowering my clients to move forward with hope and strength. I can be contacted via my facebook page New Beginnings Counselling or call 0864477867.

~ Sarah.