A little something about ANXIETY

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A little something about ANXIETY

I'm FREAKIN' Out!
By Debbie Rasso, LMHC, CAP, NCC, ICADC

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say this? Things at times seem overwhelming and we may begin to feel high levels of anxiety. In the past, we would pick up our favorite drug or drink. Doctors were often quick to "give you a pill" to help you with that. That, of course, isn't much help. What we really need are the coping skills to be able to "deal with" the anxiety we are feeling. We need to solve the problem that is causing the anxiety. Sometimes it isn't so easy to think rationally. Especially when the pulse is raising, we are having racing thoughts, and are on the verge of a panic attack. Here are a few quick things you can try that may get you to calm down enough to begin to think of solutions to the problem at hand.
1. Check your breathing - Make sure you ARE breathing. Sometimes you will be holding your breath and not even realizing it. Take long SLOW deep breaths. If you need to, breath into a paper bag for a minute or two. (cup it around your nose and mouth).
2. Tell yourself "It is going to be fine, I can handle this". Repeat this phrase until you believe it. There really isn't much that you can't handle.
3. Get a cold drink. If you're driving, blast yourself with cold air from the air conditioner. If you're at home, take a few deep breaths with your head in the freezer (who cares who's looking!)
4. Smell something that comforts you. Reach for your favorite cologne or air freshener. Take a wiff of some chocolate or coffee. This sensory experience will interrupt the process in the brain that is feeding the anxiety.
5. Take a brisk walk or go to the gym.
6. Talk to a friend, family member or your sponsor.
7. Try mindfullness (Pay attention to everything around you at the moment...hear the birds, feel the air on your skin, feel your feet on the floor, listen to yourself breath, listen to the sounds in the room.
8. Put on your favorite music and sing along really loud! Or just get up and dance until you can't dance anymore.
Once the panic is over, take some time to think about what is making you feel anxious. Take pen to paper and journal about your feelings or make a list of things you can do to solve the problem at hand. Remember not to sweat the small stuff!