By: Grace Gufler
Anxiety can feel overwhelming, suffocating and lonely, and can lead to social withdrawal, decreased work performance and a diminished quality of life. Anxiety looks different for everyone but may include: worse-case scenario thoughts, frequently worrying about what others think of you, panic attacks, low appetite, dizziness and avoidance of unfamiliar situations. If this resonates with you, you may want to consider seeing a therapist for help managing anxiety. In the meantime, check out these 3 tips!
- Grounding Technique: a grounding technique is used to manage anxious thoughts through re-centering oneself. My favorite grounding technique incorporates all of your senses to re-focus you back in the present. Begin an inner dialogue of a detailed description of your surroundings; this narrative should incorporate all 5 of your senses. For example: notice where the wallpaper has begun to peel in a corner, listen to the sound of traffic, or the feel of the carpet on your feet. This grounding technique will help center you in the present and let go of anxious thoughts.
- Give Space to Anxious Thoughts: some anxious thoughts are not easy to shake from our minds with a grounding technique or distraction. For these thoughts, try to give some space to the anxious thoughts coming into your mind. Anxiety is not something that has to be avoided and in fact, the more we avoid anxiety the more likely it is to surface in an uncontrollable or unhealthy way. Spend a few minutes letting your anxious thoughts come to the surface and then try a coping skill or grounding technique. Here are some examples: imagine your thoughts going down a drain, begin a deep breathing exercise or repeat an affirmation (my anxiety has been given an outlet and it is ok to focus on something else now).
- Keep Track of Triggers: educating yourself on what your triggers of anxiety will set you up for success in managing them. This will also help decrease any feelings of fear you may have about anxiety preventing you from enjoying or participating in something. Once you have a good understanding of your triggers, you can begin to develop coping skills for them.
Anxiety can be very frustrating, as it can take some time to find the tools that work best for you in decreasing symptoms of anxiety. I encourage you to seek support during this process and extend patience to yourself.