Carla Calderas, MA, LPC
4 Tips For Lowering Anxiety
According to the Mayo Clinic, Anxiety is intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. In short, Anxiety is constant worry about the future and spending a lot of time in the ‘what ifs’. If you suffer from anxiety, read below for 4 tips you can incorporate to manage the uncomfortable feelings that come with it.
1-Mindfulness: We hear this word a lot. It basically means to be in the moment. When you notice yourself worrying excessively, accept the feeling and let it go by coming back to the present. To do this, you can use your 5 senses: you can focus on a tree and how the wind makes its leaves move or you can smell one of your favorite essential oils.
2-Healthy Coping Skills: Sometimes we are anxious and we eat more, engage in harmful activities or use an unhealthy coping skill. Make sure you have healthy coping skills in your back pocket so that you can pull from them in an anxious situation. Healthy coping skills can be walking, meditating, or journaling. And most importantly healthy coping skills are to be used consistently, regardless of feeling anxious or feeling great. Think of coping skills as brushing your teeth, we do it for health and prevention and not only when we have a cavity.
3-Identifying Triggers: Do you notice when you first start to feel uncomfortable? We don’t go from being okay to having a full on anxiety attack (even if that's how it feels). Notice how your body reacts to different situations. Body awareness can be a great ally in identifying our triggers. It is important that you know what your triggers are so that you can avoid them or prepare yourself if you are going to be in a triggering situation. Some triggers can be big crowds, loud noises, or small spaces.
4-Emotional Regulation Techniques: So you’ve been triggered and are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, now what do you do? You regulate your emotions. We don’t try to distract ourselves or push our feelings down. We comfort ourselves and accept that this feeling will pass. It is important to know when to walk away from a situation, go to a quiet area to meditate, or go take a bath as you do diaphragmatic breathing. Find the breathing technique that calms you down and works for you so that you can easily use it to regulate your emotions.
Dealing with anxiety is overwhelming, don't try to carry all that weight by yourself; Ask for help and invest in yourself.