HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN ANXIETY HAS PULLED A FAST ONE ON YOU? When you are caught in cycles of negative, intrusive, repetitive, scary thoughts that are carrying you down the Rabbit Hole, chances are, Anxiety is doing a number on you. When you're experiencing high states of arousal (not the good kind!) in your body (such as, racing heart, racing thoughts, catastrophic thinking, butterflies or something more on the order of upset Pterodactyls in your tummy, profuse sweating, dizziness, inability to focus, states of complete overwhelm, high levels of stress, high levels of irritability, panic, and more) and you're finding it difficult or emotionally painful to manage your day to day life, chances are you're in the clutches of Anxiety.
WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND REALIZE ANXIETY HAS OVERWHELMED YOU AND NUMBED YOU OUT TO YOUR JOY, BALANCE, AND THE ABILITY TO SEE WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING WELL IN YOUR LIFE, IT IS TIME TO CALL THE PO PO! There are steps you can take to start to set things right.
1. PAUSE. Noticing you're in your Anxious Cycle is half the battle. In my view of things, although Anxiety may be a Pick Pocket, it is really on your side. Anxiety is looking after you, trying to avoid painful situations, and working hard to get your attention. When Anxiety raises its ugly head and starts to harass you, you know it's time to move into Deep Self-Care. Now. So, Pause, notice you are in your Anxious Process and start to attend to your body and mind-state in very specific ways. These can include some good conscious breathing, noticing the stories you are telling yourself and noticing the way your body is responding to these anxious negative stories, distraction, a change in activity, reaching out and calling a friend.
2. ORIENT. I know this sounds weird, but orienting to your surroundings is just good ol' CavePerson 101 self-care. So, pause, take a good slow look around the space you are in. Notice what your eye is drawn to and notice how your body responds to that. Our old mammal-self likes to have a handle on where we are and if we're in a safe non-threatening environment or not. So, scope it out. We're actually orienting to our environment all the time, but doing so on the unconscious level. When we make orienting conscious and slow it down, the body responds by relaxing into a greater sense of safety. Translation: less anxious. Woot! To support this process further, sit in a chair or stand against a wall, if possible. Notice your feet are on the ground, notice where they feel the heaviest (heels, toes, sides of feet), notice your butt is anchored in the chair, and your back is supported (and therefore protected from attack--I told you, this is CavePerson 101 stuff--it's wired into the Old Brain), and notice where the exits to the room are. You've just told your body you are safe, your back isn't exposed to predators or the marauding hordes, who have come to steal your meat, women, or children. And if you need an escape route, you've identified it already. Relaxation CavePeson-Style. True Story. It works.
3. PRACTICE. Grab whatever (healthy) tools that have worked for you in the past for relaxing such, as moderate exercise, meditation, prayer, deep breathing, walking, music, art, your pet, etc.) and practice them. Daily. Not just when you are stressed out. Hunt around and see what others you might pick up (such as, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi Gong, playing an instrument, Progressive Muscle Relaxation). YouTube is great for stuff like this.
4. OR RING ME UP AND COME IN. I have a ton of tools I can teach you for helping to improve the quality of your life, work through your Anxious experience, and set yourself on the course to feeling better and I'd love to share them with you.