First, take a deep breath: 7 steps to anxiety relief

First, take a deep breath: 7 steps to anxiety relief

Anxiety: everyone feels it and, to some extent, most of it is considered normal. Those who experience anxiety could feel stressors magnified to a degree in which these feelings are all-encompassing, taking over daily life and preventing normal activity. It can even reach the point where a person actually worries about worrying.

According to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., there are steps an individual can take to mange symptoms in a healthy manner:

  1. Take a deep breath; focus completely on inhaling to a count of four and exhaling to a count of four. This process activates the body’s relaxation response and diverts the mind from worrying thoughts
  2. Become aware of the anxious thoughts and understand that they are just a feeling. Accepting the thoughts rather than fighting them helps a person realize that, while these worries are present, they will eventually go away
  3. Understand that the brain can play tricks on us, bringing on feelings of shame guilt, pressure or a need to “be fixed”
  4. Question the thoughts that are arising. If a person has to give a presentation at work they may be thinking, “I’ll be so nervous I’ll never get through it.” Ask “what’s the worst that can happen?” and understand that the consequences of a small error are typically not earthshaking
  5. Try a calming visualization. Picture a favorite place: a beach, a park or a river, for example. As situations arise that may have the potential for producing anxiety, try not to label them as good, bad, right or wrong. Simply view what comes up as information with no emotion attached to it
  6. Be aware and observe thoughts and feelings as they come up without judgment, look at where they originated and what the consequences were
  7. Talk internally in a positive manner. Try thinking encouraging thoughts such as, “Last time this happened I became anxious and this time I’m not.” People suffering from anxiety often project into the future, so those who suffer from the condition can focus on the here and now. When thinking from moment to moment, there is no opportunity for worrisome “what-ifs?”

Rather than passively sitting with anxiety, those suffering from the condition can take steps to control worries. If anxiety grows too large to control, professionals are available to help treat the condition with efficient modalities of therapy. If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety, call the Florida Helpline for Anxiety at any time