Managing anxiety is tough.
And it can be hard to focus on anything else when it feels like anxiety is at the forefront of your mind. It gets in the way of schoolwork, family time, stuff with friends or romantic partners.
If you deal with anxiety on a regular basis, you also probably know how it builds over time. Sometimes it builds slowly, until you suddenly realize that you're way too stressed out. Other times, it seems to skyrocket and you're left dealing with a very unexpected panic attack.
So, let's build some tools for managing anxiety.
In this series, we'll focus on practical tools that you can easily integrate into your day-to-day life.
Week 1: Take a deep breath.
As you know from my 6 Weeks to Mindfulness Series, breathing is a fundamental part of relaxation and anxiety management.
Honestly, this tool is so simple, it almost seems like it shouldn't work.
To properly utilize this technique, you need to practice calm breathing.
What's the difference between calm breathing and anxious breathing?
When we're stressed, scared, or angry, our breath becomes really shallow and fast. Our bodies are prepping us for a fight, flight, or freeze response. Think about the kind of breathing you do when you're in the middle of a work out.
When we're calm, our breathing is slow and deep, just like when we're in bed and ready for sleep.
Focus on breathing slowly, in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Do this a few times.
Try and imagine that breath traveling slowly all the way down your throat, lungs, and diaphragm. As it travels out through your mouth, picture the air moving slowly back up.
Clean fresh oxygen in for three counts, good used oxygen out for three counts.
When to use this:
Try deep breathing in the morning, before bed, and during big assignments or test. Just a few deep breaths can help lower your heart rate and bring concentration back to the table.
Curious to hear more therapist anxiety tips? Looking for teen counseling or college anxiety help? Reach me at email@example.com.
Kelsey specializes in anxiety and anger management for kids and teens, from age 4 through college, and you can experience panic attacks at any age. Kelsey's office is located in Webster Groves, and she works with clients around the St. Louis, MO area, including Brentwood, Webster Groves, Town and Country, Creve Couer, Ladue, and Clayton. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with follow up questions.