If you are someone who experiences anxiety (like a lot of us do), welcome! My goal for this blog post is a refresher on anxiety, its symptoms and some coping strategies. We all need a refresher at times, especially as things in our lives are always changing and evolving, it can be hard to keep up and maintain the things we might categorize as “easy” or “simple”; but with anxiety we all know, nothing is as "easy" as it seems.
Anxiety is defined by intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
Some (but not all) symptoms you may experience are:
Feeling nervous or restless
Having a sense of impending danger or panic
Increased heart rate
If you do experience these, you may be in need of some coping strategies as well.
You can try following this pattern: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, pause for 4 seconds and repeat. You can do this cycle 4 times and see if you notice a shift in your body, making breathing easier and slowing your heart rate back down.
Incorporating some mindfulness into your weekly self-care routine can help you stay in the present moment, acknowledge thoughts & feelings and not get attached to them and feel more grounded. This can be done by taking a mindful walk (using your 5 senses on the walk to stay present) or a 5-minute meditation (apps like Calm and Headspace are great!).
Changing Your Temperature
Changing your temperature by holding a piece of ice or running your hands under cold water triggers your brain to think about your cold hand, rather than the racing thoughts, and in turn calms your body down to think more clearly.
Taking a break throughout the day, even for 5 minutes, can allow you to take a breather, step away from a situation and again, calm your body and mind down. If you are able to get outside, even better! But a change of any type of scenery can be helpful!
Listening to Your Favorite Song
Music really does work wonders! Listening to your favorite song can remind you of a positive experience and can also give you a break from some racing thoughts. A mini dance party doesn't hurt either :)
Tackling One Thing at A Time
If you struggle with thinking "this is too much, I can't handle this", start by tackling one thing at a time. Go slow and remain focused on one task, one situation, one decision and meet yourself where you're at.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means and what works for you, may not work for someone else, so it's important to try out different coping strategies and figure out what works best for you! It's also important to learn ways to identify your anxious triggers and understand them which a therapist can help you do!
If you experience anxiety and want to understand more about it, please reach out! We are here to help and YOU deserve it.
Stephanie Polizzi is a licensed psychotherapist (LMHC) and Eating Disorder Specialist.