Posted By: Parkridge Employee | August 6, 2020
We live in a fast paced world. We have busy lives, stressful jobs, and complicated relationships. Sometimes anxiety manifests as panic attacks. Anxiety can even interfere with daily activities. And depending on your schedule or life circumstances an in-person support group may not be an option right now.
Many Americans say that they feel stressed daily. The good news? There are ways to deal with it! Anxiety coping skills are a real, powerful thing!
In this post we will go over four amazing anxiety coping skills. Pick one or two and start using them today!
The key to using anxiety coping skills is consistent use. Deep breathing will help you feel calm in the moment, but it works best when used regularly.
Deep breathing is an easy technique that’s wonderful for governing emotions. It is effective, discreet, and simple.
Step 1: Sit in a relaxed position with one hand on your abdomen.
Step 2: Breathe in through your nose. Fill your body with enough air to make your hand move. Hold the air.
Step 3: Start to slowly exhale through your mouth. Pucker your lips as if you were using a straw. Go slow!
Step 4: Continue breathing in and out. The timing should be 4 seconds for the inhale, 4 seconds for the hold, and 6 seconds for the exhale.
By tensing and then relaxing the muscles throughout your body, you can achieve a wonderful feeling of relaxation. When you know what a tense muscle feels like you will be able to notice that feeling and remedy it.
Get comfortable. Whether that's sitting or laying down, do what feels right. Next, tense all of your muscles. Hold that tension for a few seconds and focus on the feeling of tension. Now release that tension and focus on the feeling of relaxation.
Working from your toes to your head, flex each muscle group, hold, then release. Curl your toes in tightly, hold, then release. Flex your calf muscles by pointing your toes like a ballerina, hold, then release. Pinch your knees in together and try to activate your thighs, hold, then release. Suck your tummy in, hold, then release. Squeeze your shoulder blades together like you're trying to touch your elbows, hold, then release. Pull your shoulders as close to your ears as you can, hold, then release. Ball up your hands into fists and then try to touch your shoulders, hold, then release. Scrunch your face together like you just tasted something incredibly sour, hold, then release. Again, try to flex all of your muscles at once, hold, and then finally release.
We all can have irrational thoughts pop up. Simply put, irrational thoughts are thoughts that do not have evidence to back them up. Unfortunately, these irrational thoughts can create, or add to, anxiety.
When negative thoughts come to mind challenge them! Ask yourself, "Is this true?" or "can I prove this?" Think of it like a trail. When that thought pops up you are taking it to trail. Gather any fact-based evidence for or against that thought. Compare the evidence. Ask yourself even more questions like: "Is my thought based on facts or feelings?" "How would my best friend see this situation?" "How likely that my fear will actually come true?" "If my fear does come true, will it still matter in a week, month, year?"
Your thoughts can have a huge affect on how you feel. If you think of something sad, you may start to feel sad. It's also true that if you think of something happy or relaxing, you will probably start to feel more happy and relaxed.
Using imagery as a tool we can start to harness this truth to help reduce anxiety.
To begin, think of a calming place. Perhaps a beach, your home, a peaceful hiking trail, or even being surrounded by family and friends. For the next few minutes let this place sink in. Use your senses to imagine it more fully. Are you sitting or standing? Laying down or all snuggled up? What can you see around you? In the far off distance? What noises are coming to your ears? Waves crashing on the ocean? A soft babbling brook? What can you taste? Saltwater coming off the ocean? A snack on your quiet hiking trail? Maybe your favorite pie at that family gathering. Who is around you? Are you alone? How do you feel?
Imagining this peace can often lead our minds to a more peaceful place.
We'll call this the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Take a deep breath and follow these steps:
Along with choosing a technique to help you deal with stress and anxiety, don’t forget to do positive things for yourself to help avoid or minimize it in the first place! Things like sleep, exercise, healthy eating, and less screen time have all been linked to a reduction in stress levels!
And as always, if your anxiety is interfering in daily life activities, consider talking to a mental health professional.
We provide medical answers and information so you can take a step out of anxiety. Schedule an appointment if a free pregnancy test, ultrasound, or STI/STD testing will bring you peace of mind.
Coping Skills. Therapist Aid. Available at: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/coping-skills-anxiety
Accessed on: June 16, 2020.
By the Numbers: Our Stressed-out Nation. American Psychological Association. Available at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/12/numbers
Accessed on: June 16, 2020