Anxiety and Panic - Tips and Tools to Help

Posted by Stacy Bremner, MA, RP on September 28, 2019 at 10:19 PM
Stacy Bremner, MA, RP

4 minute read

What to do When Anxiety Strikes - Imago Relationships North America

Anxiety is a normal human occurrence, and part of the challenge is to understand and accept that anxiety is normal. We tend to panic about panic!

In this blog, you'll discover many practical tools and practices to help you feel less anxious and feel more peaceful and empowered. It's a necessity to put energy and consistent effort into methods to help you manage your anxiety. If we don't practice, our brain stays the same, and we remain the same.

I recently read a quote from HEADSPACE, which said, "It's amazing to think how much time we spend looking after our physical health and how little we spend looking after the health of the mind." I find this true for many people. However, I'm one of those who has chosen to place a lot of time and energy into feeling better. My favorite tool is journaling. Consistent use of journaling has changed my life, and I use others as well. I'm hoping you'll also find tools that help you on your journey to managing anxiety well.

Step One: Reducing anxiety and gaining greater feelings of health and confidence is around acceptance that you feel anxious.

For example, “I accept that I am human, and feelings help me know I am alive!” Here are examples of inner talk to help guide you:

Write down a reassuring message for yourself.
  • “It is just anxiety. It will pass, and I am OK…”

  • “This anxiety gives me an opportunity to try new tools and to get to know myself better.”

  • “Everyone feels anxious sometimes, I am not alone…”

  • “Oh hello there, Anxiety, what are you trying to tell me?”

Take some time to create your own reassuring messages so you'll be prepared the next time anxiety strikes. Then grab your journal and write about what is going on for you. 

Step Two:  When you feel panic or anxiety, reduce the intensity by using a distraction. Distraction can quickly reduce the physical effects of panic.

Choose a physical distraction technique.
  • Look at things around you and name what you see.

  • Place your hand on your heart or any other place on your body. 

  • Tap your fingers on the table or on your thigh. Rub a “worry stone.” 

  • Talk about something light. 

  • Whistle or sing. 

  • Place your hands on your belly and bounce your knees while you say, “ha ha ha.”

  • Gently stomp your feet and pay attention to how your feet feel on the floor.

Step Three: Calm your body with your breath. There are many effective Breathing Techniques. These techniques tell your brain that “everything is OK.” You'll start to feel better. It really works. 

images-Aug-24-2020-04-32-40-98-PM

Choose a breathing technique & write it down.
  • Box Breathing:

    • Breathe in for 4

    • Hold for 4

    • Exhale for 4

    • Rest for 4

    • Repeat until calm

  • Sniffs:

    • Do 4 or 5 small sniffs in

    • Then breathe out deeply

    • Repeat this until calm

Step Four: Over time, we become aware of how we create our anxiety. When we get in touch with the “stories” we have inside, we can work to counteract them. Inner thoughts about ourselves and situations create anxiety, plain and simple. Sometimes the stories are not obvious to the thinker. If you cannot find it easily, by practicing mindfulness and observing your thoughts each day, you will eventually notice the scary, negative thoughts.

What were you thinking about when you got anxious? Once we find the thought, we need to challenge that thought and replace it with a more realistic, comforting, and maybe even empowering!

If that is difficult, think about what you'd say to your best friend in that situation. 

Choose a comforting message - say to yourself.

Step Five: Do some inner work with yourself to increase your self-love, deservingness, and self-esteem. This is about daily efforts towards feeling better. Every human can benefit from time spent on self-love every day. Many self-help books and resources address this.

Support and Resources available:
Last but not least!
  • Install a relaxation app on your Smartphone.  Then use it. There are many free apps, such as Mindshift or Healthy Minds or Insight Timer.  There are also apps you can pay for such as Relaxation Lite or Breethe

  • It's helpful to re-image anxiety as “a Messenger” versus a bad thing, so instead of believing your thoughts or trying to push them away, start to listen to the anxiety, and embrace what anxiety is trying to tell you.

  • Use the tools, and over time you'll feel better about yourself. You'll become a better friend to yourself, and eventually feel empowered to take appropriate action, and feel more peaceful overall.  It takes work to feel better, and we all get to choose the path and practices that speak to us. 

If you're struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, we're here to help. Check out our workshops and therapists!  We offer online therapy and workshops now too! 

Discover more about Imago with our Imago Professional MembershipImago Professional Facilitators, Imago Professional Training and Imago Educational Webinars

Connect. Transform. Thrive.
 

 Stacy Bremner, MA, RP, Registered Psychotherapist - Imago Relationships North AmericaThis blog post was written by Stacy Bremner, MA, RP, Registered Psychotherapist. 

Stacy Bremner is in private practice in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. She holds a Specialized Honours B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Human Development. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the CRPO (the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario), as well as a member in good standing with the OAMHP.  Stacy is also a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist with Advanced Clinician status and a Certified Imago Workshop Presenter. 

For two decades, she has assisted individuals, couples, and groups. She has taught a variety of workshops on topics such as relationships, communication, sexuality, healing, self-awareness, creativity, and self-help. Stacy has a background in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Meditation and Mindfulness, Psychodramatic Bodywork, Conscious Core Transformation (CCT), The DNMS, Discernment Counselling, and PACT. She also continues to study and teach in the area of Couplehood and sexuality. 

Even before she became a Psychotherapist, Stacy was a spiritual seeker and passionate about her own healing journey. Areas of study for Stacy include Kabbalah, Buddhism, and ACIM (A Course in Miracles). Because she is so passionate about her work, she cannot resist the desire to upgrade her skills in an ongoing way through reading, attending workshops, and teaching. Stacy feels that all these efforts contribute to her growth as a well-rounded person, a therapist, and a spiritual being.  

Check out Stacy's website: www.ameetingofminds.ca 


 

Topics: Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Self Care, Stress Relief, Mental Health, Mental Fitness, Imago Relationships, Self Trust, Self Love, Breathing Techniques, Self Esteem, therapy

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The Imago Relationships Blog features content from our team of professional therapists, workshop presenters and facilitators who are passionate about helping you discover a new way to communicate and love your life.

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