Have you been feeling anxious lately? I know I have with the pandemic still keeping us on our toes and the negative headlines constantly flashing across our news screens. Anxiety disorder affects about 40 million adult Americans every year, and approximately 7% of children 3-7 suffer from anxiety symptoms. It’s become a silent epidemic of sorts, causing people to miss out on opportunities or experiences and keep the creeping feeling at way.
It may seem like there’s no way to control it, especially when you’re experiencing an attack. However, there are tools you can use to help manage your anxiety. Here are five tips to help you or a loved one to help with your concern.
Learn What Triggers Your Anxiety
The most important way to manage your anxiety is to understand what triggers your anxiety. Sometimes, it feels as if your anxiety can come on randomly at any time. However, it can often be triggered by something we’re unaware of, like a repressed memory of a bad experience.
Take time to reflect on what triggers your anxiety attacks to either avoid those situations or learn to dismantle the trigger. Having a licensed therapist can help this process immensely.
Focus on Your Breathing
Focusing on your breathing is one of the most common coping mechanisms if you are in the middle of an anxiety attack. Take a moment to count your breaths or gain control of your breathing pattern by counting your inhale, hold, and exhale. This will help you stay present and prevent hyperventilating, which can lead to you passing out from the anxiety.
Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Another technique for when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack is to focus on your muscles. Find a quiet place to sit, then starting from your toes, tense and relax your muscles. This will take you out of your mind and into your body. Hopefully, this stops any cycle of overthinking created by your anxiety.
Shift Your Focus
As you can assume from the breathing and muscle relaxation techniques, it’s essential to find a way to shift your focus away from what’s causing your anxiety. One of the most effective ways to do this is to engage in something that gets you out of your head and more present in your body, and this will ground you and make you more current to get yourself out of the situation.
An excellent example of this is the “5-4-3-2-1” Technique. When you feel an anxiety attack coming out, find a quiet spot. First, identify five things you can see. Then four things you can handle, three things you can hear, and two things you can smell. Finally, remember one thing you can taste. This reconnects you with your senses and surroundings.
Let It Out
It’s critical to find an outlet for your emotions. This could be reflecting on what causes your anxiety by journaling or speaking with a therapist to understand it better. You can also find a hobby that can keep you present and calm before an anxiety attack, such as yoga, art, dance, or working out. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to further emotional damage in the future.
Anxiety is not something to be taken lightly, and it can become an added hassle in your life, adding unnecessary extra stress if left untreated. That’s why it’s vital to ensure you have all the tools you need to manage these issues. If you find managing your anxiety on your own challenging, reach out to your local doctor or therapist to develop a management plan.
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