We all have fears. We fear things that may affect what matter to us and sometimes, things that don’t. It is perfectly normal. In other words, we all get anxious at some point. What is not normal though is when we allow anxiety to rule our lives; this is where anxiety becomes a disorder.
With the pandemic outbreak this year, medical institutions and health organizations revealed a massive increase in the reported cases of anxiety. Symptoms related to anxiety include rapid heartbeat which results in short breath intakes, shaky and sweaty palms, sudden perspiration, sometimes blurred sight and getting irritated. As a disorder, anxiety causes sleeplessness, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, excessive crying and paranoia.
If you exhibit majority of the symptoms above, it is best to visit a therapist as soon as possible. But while you await your session, or if you are experiencing low or mild symptoms, try these five steps to stabilize yourself.
Engage in Mindful Breathing
The very first thing you must do is to become aware of your breathing. Focus on your breath and try to reduce the pace at which you are breathing. You can count your breaths from 1 -10 and start over again; this will enable you to fully focus on your breathing.
Grounding is a technique that brings your attention or consciousness to your environment. To practice grounding; identify five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
Identify the Trigger
There is always a source. Trace back to when you first began to experience the symptoms. What was it? Was it a thought or was it a reality? Many times, we are aware of this trigger and just need to accept that that’s what it is. After identifying it, counter those thoughts or fears with the next step.
This step is to distract and take control your mind. After all, fear starts from the mind. You have to reassure yourself that everything will be okay, that you are safe and this will pass. It may seem silly at first but picture this; what would you want someone to say to you in that moment of anxiety to make it go away? Say it to yourself and make sure whatever you are saying is only good and positive.
Move your Body
Do not be idle. Do something. Go for a walk, do chores, yoga, exercise; mild or tough. Just make sure you are not in one position for too long wallowing in the anxiety. Moving your body or exercising leads to the release of endorphins also known as ‘feel-good’ hormones.
You can also decide to what comedy skits or shows. Select the funniest ones and laugh your head off. Then, reminisce on the funny scenes later. Life is too short to be ruled by fear.