The shortness of breath, fluttery heart (and not in a just-met-my-crush kind of way), tight chest and boggled mind…it seems the world is going to end and the walls are going to fall down.
And it feels like the only option is to scream.
In these moments, I realize that this is what it takes in order to see the greatness of everything else.
In these moments I realize, without them, I would not be able to appreciate how clear other moments can be.
Thanks to the following tips and tricks I have picked up along the way, these moments seem to occur less often. Read, relish, and take away the ones that feel right, knowing that no single tip is the answer. These are simply a few tools that I use to help me along my daily path to manage anxiety:
1. Stop and Breathe.
Literally stop everything. Don’t talk. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Take seven deep breaths. Inhale to a count of four, and exhale to a slower count of five. It’s amazing what just a couple minutes of calming the sympathetic “fight-or-flight” nervous system, and activating the parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” nervous system can do in a moment of freak-out.
Go do a favorite activity. Run, yoga, swim. Get the heart rate up. Break a sweat. This reminds us that we are alive and that everything is going to be okay.
Get the body and mind on the same level. When the mind is running a race and the body is just sitting there watching it happen, bringing the body up to the mind’s speed can actually help slow everything down and give us a bit of perspective. Sweat is a physical way to clean the body, and it can definitely help to clean out whatever it is that is dirtying up the mind.
3. Do something scary.
There’s never a better time for growth and development than in a time of despair. What scares you? See your fear, and do it anyway. Shock your system into believing that there is always something on the other side. Happiness. Clarity. Love. Life. You will never experience the adrenaline of it unless you jump.
Put it on paper. Get it all out in the open. By working it out on paper you can take a third person perspective on whatever it is that your mind is trying to work out. Making an idea concrete by putting it on paper will allow you to then reflect on it in the future and hopefully will help you realize that maybe that idea that was taking over your mind, might actually not be so concrete after all. Also, write down goals. Use a dry erase marker and write two goals on your bathroom mirror. 1 daily goal, and 1 longer-term goal. Having them smack in your face everyday is a great motivator and a friendly reminder to stay on top of what it is that you want in life.
5. Zoom Out.
Google Earth your position on the globe. Zoom out. Slowly. First seeing the roof of your house. Then your neighborhood, taking a moment to notice the placement of your house in relation to your neighbors. Then see your town. Acknowledge how small your living room seems when compared to your state, then country. Then see where you are on this planet and how your placement compares to the rest of the Earth. Then keep zooming out. See the Solar System. Are you getting the picture? The BIG picture? I am always amazed at how truly the most minute things can set me off into a spiral of oblivion. When I physically see and take in how beautifully small I am in comparison to the big picture, things don’t seem to be quite so life altering.
What tools do YOU use to keep on keepin’ on? I hope you can add at least one of these into your toolbox of life. Cheers.