The Little Tricks I Use to Manage My Anxiety
OK. I am OK. A lot of people have panic attacks. My hands, feet and face will stop tingling as soon as I stop hyperventilating. My limbs will not fall off. My heart rate will return to normal as soon as I calm down. It will not be long before my lungs feel capable again. I am going to be OK.
According to The Kim Foundation, approximately 18.1 percent of Americans over the age of 18 in any given year will have an anxiety disorder. This is not a small percentage.
You are not the only one who has ever felt this way. There are others feeling it too, even right this minute, and you are never alone. There are resources you can reach out to, there are people to help you and this road is not a new one. It has been trodden before, will be trodden again, and though it may feel as if you are walking alone, there are thousands of other people walking it with you.
How do we calm down? It’s not simple, or easy. If it were, anxiety disorders would not exist. I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, but I can tell you what works for me.
In through the nose, out through the mouth, count to 10 and slow everything right down.
You are tingling because you are breathing too quickly, slow it down, and it will stop. This is a temporary feeling. It will not last forever.
Remember that you are OK.
It may not feel like it, and no one is devaluing your experience, but you are OK. This will not kill you, or hurt you. You are going to be fine.
Distract yourself — however you need to distract yourself, do it.
Color, draw, play loud music, watch television, talk to someone, google bad jokes. Think of something else.
Be kind to yourself.
You do not need to feel guilty for having a panic attack. You are allowed to be your own best friend. Have something extra to eat, to make up for the energy you have lost, rehydrate if you have cried. Do not beat yourself up.
Look only as far into the future as you feel comfortable with.
If the future is going to frighten you, don’t think of it, if you think it will help, think of it plenty. Do whatever it is that you need to do to make yourself feel better.
This is OK. You are OK. Everything is going to be OK. If you cannot tell yourself as much just now, let me tell you.
It is OK.
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Thinkstock photo via Yuko Yamada