Today I'd like to walk through a couple of techniques that can be useful to deal with anxiety in the moment. First breathing; taking conscious control of your breathing and slowing it down and filling your lungs can start loosening the grip anxiety has on you. Basically speaking, anxiety is the little part of our brain looking for things that could go wrong so we can try and avoid them, by running away or fighting them. Fight or Flight. Both of these are energetic and so our body increases our heart rate and breathing to prepare. But in the modern world a lot of what sets off our anxiety can't be fought or run away from. So we just get stuck in the anxiety. Try following this breathing exercise and notice how you feel after trying for just a minute.
On top of the breathing, another technique for leaving anxiety behind and grounding your self in the present is called the 'Five Things Technique'. So, once your have spent a moment breathing, now look around where you're sitting. and we're looking for:
- Five things you can see. Just noticing what is around you right now, taking a moment and see what stands out to you.
- Four things you can touch. Anything you can feel, especially different textures. Your own hair, your feet in your shoes, the fabric of the chair you're sate on...
- Three things you can hear. These do need to be things outside of your self, not your own runaway thoughts. A ticking clock, passing traffic, birdsong.
- Two things you can smell. This one can be tricky, but that can be even better as you're really having to focus on what is around you. Even smelling your own clothes for the smell of (hopefully) detergent or perfume, or walking over to another room to smell an air freshener or a piece of food.
- One thing you can taste. You don't have to eat or drink something to experience a flavour. Just pay attention to your mouth right now and notice perhaps the aftertaste of the cup of coffee you had earlier, or minty fresh still from cleaning your teeth.
Hopefully with having taken some time to practise deep breathing and attended to what is happening for you in the hear and now you have broken the hold of anxiety and can think about whether the situation has a solution in the present, if it is something that is for you to solve, or even if the situation is even real in the first place!