Worry, panic, fear, stress, and that awful feeling in the pit in your stomach… these are all symptoms of anxiety. It’s uncomfortable, nauseating and even painful at times. However, anxiety is something that is universally felt. Yes, that’s right. We ALL experience it throughout our lives.
Did you know that we need stress, anxiety and fear to survive? Stress and anxiety actually can be beneficial at times, keeping us motivated. There’s a name for it. It’s called: Eustress (coined by Hans Selye). And fear is instinctual; it sends signals to our brain to try and keep us safe from harm. More on this and facing fears in a later post.
But what do we do when we feel anxiety and fear is taking over our life? What if we are constantly feeling on edge, and it’s affecting our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and complete tasks. What if our worries become obsessive? What if these symptoms are interfering with our ability to live our lives to the fullest? For some, anxiety can be all-consuming. But there is hope. We can find relief from anxiety by practicing certain techniques.
There are many ways to reduce anxiety, and I work with my clients to help them find the ways that work most effectively for them.
Here are three ways I find helpful:
What the heck is square breathing, you ask? Square breathing is: taking a deep breath in through your nose, while counting to four. Then, hold your breath while counting to four. Next, exhale through your mouth, while counting to four. Finally, repeat this skill four times.
2. Ground yourself in the present moment. Sometimes we spend too much time dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. This takes us away from what is happening in the “here and now,” and because of this it is likely we will miss out on something really great or important.
You can ground yourself in the present moment by tapping into your senses. An easy way to do this is to find and name five things you can see, then four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This skill is great because you can practice it anywhere.
3. Engage in movement with a purpose.
For many individuals who suffer with anxiety, sitting still for too long can actually increase one’s level of anxiety. So unless you plan to do short, quick meditations or are preparing to go to sleep, here are some other things to try: Working out, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, water aerobics, basketball, volleyball, tennis…
If you or someone you know needs help with building some coping skills to reduce stress or anxiety, I can help. Call 630-797-9192 today.
Disclaimer: Any advice or comments in this blog do not replace professional counseling and therapy services. If you or someone you know is having difficulty navigating through a challenge in life, please encourage them to seek professional help.