Anxiety can be such a scary feeling especially when it starts to overwhelm and take over your daily life. The loss of control is paralyzing which can perpetuate or increase the anxious feelings. The problem with anxiety is that when you feel out of control and helpless it makes you panic even more, perpetuating the cycle. Today I will be sharing with you a few tips I give in my counseling sessions to help you better manage anxiety and to feel more relaxed.
I-Spy with my little eyes…
The biggest task with decreasing anxiety is pulling yourself away from triggering thoughts. One way to pull yourself away is by playing I-spy. Distract your anxiety provoking thoughts by asking yourself to describe the room in as much detail as possible. For example, describe the types of chairs in the room, what are the colors or textures of the walls, how many electronic devices are there, what are the devices, etc. The more you engage yourself in this activity the more you can pull yourself away from the fear inducing thoughts. Do this for at least 2-3 minutes until you notice yourself decreasing in emotions and physical symptoms.
Another technique to distract yourself from negative thinking is to list things in a specific category. When you notice your anxiety increasing start naming as many things as possible in a specific category such as animals, fruits, or celebrities. You can even make the task more challenging by listing things in alphabetical order. Once again this will pull you out of your head and into something else while your emotions and body calm down. Use this technique for at least 2-3 minutes and then assess your state to help you decide if you need to continue.
Smells and Scents
Smells can trigger very strong emotions and calming effects. Scents such as lavender and eucalyptus are often used by massage therapists to help their clients’ bodies relax. You can use these scents to help you relax too. Keep relaxing scents on hand in different forms such as lotion, essential oils, antibacterial. For example, after a tough day, go home and diffuse eucalyptus essential oils. Or, while you are at school/work you can keep a bottle of lavender lotion to use when feeling nervous. Another direction you can go with is to keep on-hand scents that trigger happy or calming memories. For instance, every time you went to grandma’s house you smelled fresh baked cookies. Grandma’s house is filled with happy memories. Now every time you smell cookies you connect it with happiness or comfort. You can use the connection between smells and memories to create positive emotions. For example, keep candles in your room that smell like cookies and light them when you feel upset. The scent will trigger you right back to the place of comfort and happiness at grandma’s house. You can also use the smell trick in other forms such as lotions, body sprays, or even perfumes.
According to the national institute of mental, the most common mental health disorder faced by Americans is anxiety disorders. Women are 50% more likely than men to experience anxiety.
Seek assistance today if anxiety or panic attacks are becoming more and more of an issue in your daily life. Call Life Counseling Solutions at 407.622.1770 to set up an appointment or a free 15-minute consultation with me. Or, make your first appointment online by clicking here.
About Colleen: Colleen values the importance of a comfortable and non-judgmental atmosphere. At the heart of her work, she seeks to create a safe environment in which clients can feel at ease while working through life’s difficulties. Her specialty is working with women and adolescents struggling with anger management, trauma, and anxiety. She also enjoys assisting those facing multicultural or racial issues. Ultimately, her goal is to help clients uncover the source of their distress so that they can begin to heal.See Colleen’s full bio.