Mental Health Awareness Week – Anxiety Focus

Active Essex


As we raise awareness for mental health, we look to focus on anxiety and the ways to encourage people to start a nationwide conversation about getting support and sharing experiences. Anxiety can be a daunting and scary experience but there are coping mechanisms and different ways to manage these feelings.

What works for some may not work for others when managing anxiety, anxiety can affect you physically as well as mentally which is why it can be important to focus on methods of relaxation.

Breathing exercises are a way to regain control as you can concentrate on bringing your body back to a normal rhythm. The 4 – 7 – 8 method involves breathing in through your mouth for 4 counts, holding for 7 then producing a large exhale through your mouth for 8. Another way to channel the lack of control anxiety may be creating is to journal your thoughts. Write down what is causing you to be worried and mind map off this what you can do to minimise the distress.

Movement is a great way to help you cope with and reduce levels of anxiety and the happy hormones such as serotonin produced from physical activity are known to help manage anxiety symptoms. Physical activity can take your mind away from anxious thoughts because you focus on how your body is feeling. Movements like walking, running, cycling and yoga can be great for easing tension, giving you a sense of achievement and focus and can boost your self-esteem.

At Active Essex we provide an activity finder which can help you find what works best for you as everyone has different schedules and preferences (see link below). Using this tool could be a great start to adding movement to your routine to manage anxiety and get support through a group setting.

Research shows that exercising in nature can produce even more mental health benefits than indoor activity because it can reduce levels of depression and anxiety while making you feel happier just to be outside in nature. Connecting with nature and immersing yourself in it whether that be through a long walk or a spot of gardening can take your mind away from anxious thoughts and recentre your mind so you can regain that perspective of feeling positive.

Anxiety can be extremely overwhelming and most of the time it may feel like no one will understand these thoughts because maybe you feel you’re anxious about something small or something that won’t be understood. However, talking about what is making you anxious and voicing these worries can be an amazing first step in trying to ask for support. A lot of people face anxiety and together we can start more conversations about how to support one another and making anxiety a visible issue so it doesn’t go ignored or dismissed anymore.

For more guidance and advice please visit the mental health foundation website:

Active Essex activity finder: