Anxiety is an issue we all experience from time to time.
Worry and fear about the future are common markers of anxiety.
Sometimes we feel anxiety physically, including symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, or chest pain.
No matter how you feel anxiety, it’s downright unpleasant. It’s so unpleasant that it’s not uncommon to have anxiety about the anxiety, making the whole experience all the more dreadful.
The best thing we can do is to have effective skills to use when anxiety rears its ugly head.
Here are 3 effective ways to wind down anxiety:
1. Self-Talk. The things we say to ourselves about our anxiety can have a dramatic impact on our anxiety experience.
Come up with a few helpful self-talk statements and write them down somewhere that is easily accessible at all times.
When anxiety increases, pull out your self-talk statements and read them through, internalizing each one.
A few examples of self-talk statements to wind down anxiety might be:
· "I’m okay. I’ve felt this way before and it always passes."
· "I can allow this anxiety to be here, even if I don’t like it."
· "I am willing to experience this feeling. The more I resist this feeling, the worse it will get."
2. Pick out 5 objects in your environment. When we’re experiencing anxiety, it can be difficult to notice anything else. When anxiety strikes, get connected with what else is in your awareness by choosing 5 things in your environment and describing them to yourself.
For example, you may notice an object like a table is in front of you and you might say to yourself:
· “A rectangular, wood table. It’s dark brown, has grooves in it, and black legs.”
By picking out 5 objects in your environment, you become more grounded and anxiety isn’t the only thing in your awareness, thereby helping to lessen the effect anxiety has on you.
3. Ask yourself what else is going on emotionally. Sometimes anxiety acts as a cover for deeper, painful emotions. Gently inquire, “What am I feeling emotionally, underneath this anxiety?”
See if any awareness of other emotions, like sadness or grief, are there to be felt, and allow yourself to feel these feelings by acknowledging them and breathing into them.
Even though these other feelings are painful, many of my clients find that feeling painful feelings is a relief and helps with the anxiety that may be covering them up.
So there you have it! 3 effective skills to unwind anxiety that can be used anywhere, anytime. Begin practicing these skills to decrease anxiety and remember that you are more in charge than you think.
If you’d like help using these skills and learning others to help with anxiety, contact me for a consultation below.
Jennifer Huggins, Psy.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in West Los Angeles, specializing in Trauma and Chronic Pain. In addition to these specializations, she helps her clients heal depression, anxiety, and reduce stress though the use of cutting-edge treatments and empowering them to thrive in their lives. Her passion is helping clients find hope when its been lost.
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