Therapy for Anxiety : Calming the Storm
Therapy for anxiety is on the rise in our society. Understandably, people are experiencing more anxiety than ever given the COVID-19 outbreak. Anxiety about safety, finances, lack of certainty about the future, and loneliness.
Anxiety is a normal experience every human faces at certain times. It’s designed to protect us, to keep us safe, however in modern times the “dangers” in our lives are rarely actual dangers. If a bear was chasing us, yes please anxiety, do your job! But today what many modern moms experience anxiety about are things like their children’s development, finances, work, or health. These are all important, but very rarely immediate threats like a bear chasing us. Our brain and body respond the same way to these as to the bear, however, which can lead to chronic states of stress and health problems. Knowing that anxiety can trick us is a helpful first step to taming it. Here are some more research proven strategies to manage the worry we face every day, especially during the challenging times we’re all facing.
Learn breath control, if you regulate your breathing you slow down your heart and basically send the “all clear” signal to your brain. Color Breathing is a great one to try: Visualize your anxiety and stress as a color (many choose red or black), visualize yourself blowing out all of red or black from you body. Now visualize calm as a color (many choose blue), take in a deep breath of calm air through your nose. Continue this slow color breathing, out through your mouth and in through your nose for at least one minute, or until your body feels calmer.
Check in with you body throughout the day and do this quick trick: lower your shoulders, unclench your jaw and pull the tongue down from the roof of your mouth. We carry so much stress in those parts of our body that we’re not even aware of!
Get enough sleep! Look into good sleep hygiene, exhaustion makes anxiety and stress so much worse.
Fuel your body well. If you’re not eating enough nutrients throughout the day low blood sugar may be exacerbating your stress and anxiety.
Learn about mindfulness and meditation. Research shows this is hands down one of the best things you can do to manage chronic stress. Here are a few great apps to try:
Stop Breathe Think
Name it to tame it! When you’re experiencing anxiety or worry call it out by name. Thank it for trying to keep you safe and remind yourself right now, in this moment, you’re ok. (It’s usually a “what if” thought about something that might happen in the future that is worrying us, not something happening right now.)
Move your body! Our bodies need movement to manage the physiological effects of stress and anxiety: running, yoga and martial arts are great options.
Don’t isolate! Seek help and connection. Reach out to friends and family and start or return to therapy. Therapy is an awesome way to understand yourself and your anxiety and can give you freedom from the vicious stress cycle.
If you’d like more tools or are interested in speaking to one of our therapists via a secure video appointment, please feel free to contact us.