Anxiety is powerful and intense. For someone with anxiety, when these feelings arise, it is like a storm brewing inside. We try to resist it, but it’s no use sometimes because we allow the negative thoughts to take hold and have an impact on our body.
When I feel the anxiety storm growing, I know it is time to reflect on what I am thinking. Are my thoughts “normal” or are my thoughts irrational and negative? Thoughts like “I’m not good enough” are irrational and, if repeated over and over with all the other untrue thoughts, will have a negative impact on my body and overall well-being.
Do you recognize when your thoughts take a wrong turn? Can you identify what is rational vs. what is not?
Being aware of our thoughts is very important. Giving them power to control how you feel is not! When negative thoughts arise, we can gently explore what they are and how our body has changed as a result of these thoughts. This will help you to see just how much power you are allowing your thoughts to have over your body — if you let them.
For me, I have been through enough therapy to recognize when I need to make changes related to self-care, work or home activities. I know that if I don’t make changes, the anxiety grows and I become agitated, tense, scattered or disconnected. My husband would likely add a few other emotions if I asked his opinion!
I thought I’d share some techniques that can be used to calm that anxiety storm if it rises up in you:
- No matter where you are, if you feel anxiety rising up, recognize the emotion, then gently take a deep breath in through your nose, deep into your stomach and slowly back up and out your mouth. Take as many deep breaths as you need so that you begin to feel grounded in the present moment.
- Take 10-20 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and listen to relaxing music. This is a perfect time to gently observe the thoughts that are rolling through your mind so you are more aware of why you feel the way you do. I will be the first to admit that it’s not easy to take the time to meditate, but I can tell you that for me, when I do meditate, it’s extremely helpful. Especially at times when I feel I just can’t calm down or am unable to stop obsessing about my to-do lists.
- I always recommend counseling to people with anxiety disorders. It’s very helpful to be able to vocalize the painful emotions with someone who can listen, guide and support you. The most important point about counselors is that when you do find one, if you don’t feel that it’s working out, don’t give up there, keep searching for the right counselor until you find someone you feel comfortable with.
In addition to breathing, meditating and seeking help, it is also helpful to consider what is happening in your life right now. Has anything changed that may be causing an increase in anxiety? Is there anything you can adjust to help you during this time?
Maybe it’s just stress. Once I overcame social anxiety disorder, any remaining anxiety issues for me are usually related to stress. I always try to do too much, set the expectations too high and put a lot of pressure on myself. Can any of you relate?
A few quick tips to de-stress:
- Prioritize what is truly important right now and put everything else on the back burner
- Ask for help!
- Say No
- Take mini-mindfulness breaks during the day
It is my hope that you will be reminded of how great you are when you take the time to pause, reflect and breathe. And, that you will be able to calm the storm in your mind!
For more information on therapies, check out Chapter 11 in Releasing the Secret Pain.
Sending you wishes for a great day filled with peace, friendship and love!