Finding the source of anxiety and working through it to lessen the symptoms, overall, can take a while to work through. However, when working with clients who struggle with anxiety, I find the first concern is finding techniques to help them deal with the symptoms in the moment they occur. Anxiety attacks always seem to occur when you have the least amount of time to deal with them.
While I would recommend counseling to help with a more permanent ways to self-regulate, I thought this week I would provide you with a list of helpful “in the moment” techniques to use.
Breath in for 3 seconds, hold the breath for 3 seconds, and breath out for 5 seconds (continue practicing and over time work up to an out breath of 10 or 15 seconds)
2. Write in a Journal
It doesn’t just calm kids! Coloring has meditative qualities to it, allowing you to focus and calm your mind. While any old coloring book will do, adult coloring books are becoming increasingly popular – many of which include mandalas.
The design of the mandala is to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that chattering thoughts cease…a mandala can be seen as hypnotic, letting the creative hemisphere of our mind run a little more free while our analytical mind takes a little nap. (http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-mandala.html)
There are many different ways to meditate, try a variety to see what works best for you. There is a multitude of really good websites and apps that are created to help you in this process. (some of my favorite iPhone apps are Mindfulness Daily and Brainwave)
5. Anything Lavender Scented
The smell of lavender has a calming effect on many individuals.
6. Distract Yourself
The sooner you can identify and intervene on your heightening anxiety the better! (This is something you can develop an improve on with repetition)Talk with friends, sing along to the radio, read a book, listen to upbeat music, watch a happy movie etc.
7. Walk away from the situation
In a particularly stressful situation it is often helpful (and more time efficient) to walk away from it for a bit and then return to it later. You will be more productive when you allow yourself time away from it.
8. Find a way to laugh
Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) in your brain.
Fun exercise is generally more effective than exercise that you “force” yourself to do and becomes a chore.
10. Take a nap
Without adequate sleep all of our stressors become heightened and we are more easily effected by them. It’s the reason young children have a “melt down” when they are tired.
For more information about anxiety take a moment to look at my Anxiety page, or if you would like to meet to discuss ways to further alleviate your anxiety please feel free to contact me to set up an appointment!