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  • 3 Tips to Reduce Anxiety in the Moment

    Stress and anxiety appear to be one of the main reasons why individuals seek counseling. According to NAMI {National Alliance on Mental Illness} anxiety is defined as “Feelings of apprehension or dread. Feeling tense or jumpy. Restlessness or irritability. Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger.” Can you relate to any part of that definition? Also, why do so many of us experience this, and what are some useful tools and resources that we can use in the moment to help us cope?

    Some symptoms can include life-altering phobias, such as the fear of driving, to seemingly normal occurrences, like headaches or fatigue. If you believe that you can relate to some of those symptoms, seek the guidance of a licensed mental health professional near you as many are offering online telehealth sessions making it even easier to seek counseling.

    3 tips to reduce anxiety in the moment

    1) Step Back:

    Although your initial reaction may be to continue with that negative or anxious thought process or anxiety-provoking conversation, it is important to remember that you can take a step back. Therefore, I suggest giving yourself a “time out”…yes, I said it give yourself a time out! There is no need to continue with that negative thought process or with that anxiety inducing conversation because if you do, where do you think you will end up? {Here’s a clue, more anxious than when you first started, even more confused, and probably without any real solutions to move forward with}. Therefore, allow yourself to be excused until you can regroup and then come back to the problem/conversation to resolve it or to come up with realistic and plausible options. Making decisions when you are at a heightened level of anxiety does not usually turn out well.

     

    2) Breathe:

    Yes, Breathe. Here’s a simple technique you can use in the moment:

    4-7-8 breathing technique

    Allow your lips to gently part.

    Exhale completely, making a breathy whoosh sound as you do.

    Press your lips together as you silently inhale through the nose for a count of 4 seconds.

    Hold your breath for a count of 7.

    Exhale again for a full 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound throughout.

     

    3) Try grounding techniques:

    My favorite technique that I often recommend when I work with clients is called “grounding techniques”. Although there are a few to choose from, I enjoy the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique…

    This technique gets you to use all your five senses to help you to get back to the present. It starts with you sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and taking a couple of deep breathes. In through your nose (count to 3), out through your mouth (to the count of 3).

    Now open your eyes and look around you. Name out loud (or in your head):

    5 – things you can see (you can look within the room and out of the window)

    4 – things you can feel (the feel of your skin, the texture of the material on your chair, what does your hair feel like? What is in front of you that you can touch? An object perhaps?)

    3 – things you can hear (people talking, birds outside, soft music in the background).

    2 – things you can smell (Just in case, I suggest keeping a calming scented essential oil if you’re not sensitive to smell and rubbing some on your arm/wrist and smelling it. Calming scents include lavender, chamomile etc.)

    1 – thing you can taste (it might be a good idea to keep a piece of chocolate handy in case you are doing this grounding exercise! You can always leave your chair for this one and when you taste whatever it is that you have chosen, take a small bite and let it swill around your mouth for a couple of seconds, really savoring the flavor).

    Take a deep breath to end.

    Remember to speak to a mental health therapist to work through any deep-rooted problems in order to work through it, heal, and become the best version of yourself.

    If you are in need of a therapist you can contact our office at:

    407-720-5976

    [email protected]