Tips for Managing Anxiety From an Anxiety Therapist

My favorite tid-bits to help my fellow worriers.
  1. Did you know... That panic attacks are natural and completely safe? Sure it feels like death is watching you while someone is forcing you to do jumping jacks as they choke you, however, it's just your fight or flight response (natural) happening at a very inopportune time. You are 100% not dying of a heart attack.
  2. While we are on panic attacks, it is impossible to have one if you initiate deep belly breathing before things escalate. In fact it is the short rapid chest breathing that gets the whole thing started.
  3. And to sum up panic attacks, it is physically impossible for them to last for any significant period of time. Typically 10 minutes at most. Our bodies are not wired to stay at that acute level for very long. It will end, you will be ok. Unless you actually are being eaten by a bear.
  4. Approach do not avoid. Anxiety is really skilled at holding us back. Avoidance provides temporary relief but just makes the anxiety worse/stronger in the long run. Example: the longer you avoid giving that speech the more hellish it will be when you actually have to do it. But don't worry nobody is actually paying that much attention anyway.
  5. Mind racing when you want to sleep? Seems overly simple but focus on your (deep) breathing. When your mind wanders, which it will, don't get mad just gently refocus on the breathing. Repeat. It does work. 💤 It is basic mindfulness and mindfulness is like a muscle- the more you use it the stronger it gets 💪🏽
  6. Worrying about a lot of little things all day long? That makes for a pretty shitty day. Schedule 30 minutes per day to do all of your worrying. Like 4:00-4:30. No worrying outside that time frame. I bet you end up using 5-10 minutes of that window, because when you actively try to worry it's pretty mundane.
  7. Cardiovascular exercise, adequate sleep, and physical health in general. But a good walk or run is key.
  8. Come see me for therapy 😎