Anxiety is normal, and at some point, in our lives most people experience at least one symptom connected to it. For the most part, anxiety symptoms are experienced as a normal result of activation of our brain's fear response system in reaction to something we perceive as scary, intimidating or dangerous. Sometimes, that system becomes over-activated and it can start becoming problematic in our daily lives, and we continue having symptoms in situations that wouldn't typically provoke them (driving to work, going to the grocery store, socializing with friends). So, when that happens, there are some tricks you can use to rewire your brain and take your power back.
Slow down your breathing (focusing on making the exhale the slowest part). Start with loosening your shoulders, making your jaw soft, and if possible, closing your eyes. Imagine your stomach filling up with air like a basketball being inflated:
***In for 1,2,3,4,5,6
***Hold for 1,2,3,4,5
***Out for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,
-Repeat at least 4 times
Objectify and observe the symptom. When you notice a troubling sensation connected to anxiety (racing heart, muscle tension, sweaty palms, dizziness or feeling disconnected from your body), say to yourself (out loud or not, depending on your location) "I am a person feeling a symptom of anxiety. Anxiety is causing my heart rate to increase/muscles to tense up/palms to get sweaty/head to feel light/body to feel strange. This will pass." This can feel like you are able to separate yourself from the symptom and make it feel less powerful.
1. Notice what you are feeling (the chair against your back, the floor under your feet, your hands on your lap)
2. Notice what you are seeing (others in the room, the rain or breeze outside the window, the hand on a clock moving)
3. Notice what you are hearing (your own breathing, cars driving by outside, a TV or radio in another room)
4. Notice what you are smelling (scents in the room, your lotion or makeup)
5. Notice what you can taste (tea you are drinking, mint in your mouth, aftertaste from food)
Thought dropping/stopping visualization:
If your find yourself getting anxious about being anxious (yes, it's a thing!), picture the word anxious or the word connected to the symptom (racing heart, light-headed, sweating, tight muscles) written on a piece of paper. Next, picture that piece of paper being contained in a helium balloon. Imagine yourself holding the string to the balloon looking up at the balloon floating and letting go-watching it float away. Try to continue watching until you can no longer see it as it disappears. If the feeling continues, picture yourself writing it down again, putting it in a balloon again, and watching yourself holding it and letting go again, watching it float away and disappear.
These are just a few tricks that could help you manage anxiety and take back control over your life. Let's connect and see if we can team together and get you back that power!