Marie Talks: Anxiety -Calming Techniques

In this blog I will be touching on:

  1. Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
  2. Different Tricks To Help You Calm Down
  3. Grounding Techniques
  4. How To Help Your Friend Calm Down

Anxiety:
noun: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
From a Psychiatry stand point: a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

There are seven main types of anxiety disorders and they are:

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
      • characterized by chronic, persistent anxiety without a specific cause.
      • This may be seen in a variety of ways:
        • Disaster Thinking
          they may convince themselves of worst case scenarios
        • Unyielding Thoughts
          may be unable to turn off minor worries, focusing on them and possibly obsessing over them.
    • Social Phobia
      • Experience profound anxiety at the thought of social interaction.
      • Often overly worried about being judged by others.
      • Avoid situations that may force them out of their social comfort zone.
      • Often overly concerned about how they’ll act in public.
      • May experience worst case scenario thinking towards social situations.
    • Panic Disorder
      • Had more than one panic attack in the past month.
      • Fear having more panic attacks.
      • Change who you are because of your panic attacks.
      • Panic attacks cause you distress regularly.
      • Panic attacks are not caused by any underlying health problems.
    • Agoraphobia
      • Fear of being out in the open or in public.
      • Fear of being in an area with no easy escape.
      • Fear of being in unfamiliar places.
      • Fear of leaving your home.
    • Phobias
      • Experience severe anxiety when faced with a stimulus (the thing that causes fear).
      • Experience severe anxiety when anticipating the possibility of facing the stimulus.
      • The fear is uncontrollable, to the point where it can escalate – possibly into an anxiety attack.
      • Alter life in some way to avoid the stimulus.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
      • Reliving the trauma through memories, sensations, nightmares, flashbacks or more.
      • Experience anxiety, emotional numbness, or detachment.
      • Go out of the way to avoid situations that may relate to the event.
      • Are hyper-vigilant, often with an easy startle reflex, the inability to concentrate on tasks, or becoming easily irritable.
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
      • You must have either obsessions or compulsions or both.
      • You may or may not realize that your obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.
      • Obsessions and compulsions are significantly time-consuming and interfere with your daily routine and social or work functioning.

How do I deal with your anxiety when it gets too much?
I’ll be talking about the different tricks that may help you calm down, things that work for some people. I included just a few that I have found, and used.

Abdominal Breathing Technique
Step 1) place one hand on chest and your other hand on your belly
Step 2) Take a deep breath in through your nose making sure your diaphragm (belly) not your chest inflates.
Step 3) Repeat breaths eight time (or however long it takes to calm yourself down)

Progressive Relaxation
Step 1) Close your eyes
Step 2) Focus on tensing your toes and feet and inhaling for a count of five  then exhale through mouth and release the tension at the same time.
Step 3) Repeat step 2 for your knees, thighs, rear, stomach, chest, hands, arms, neck, face and eyes.

“Going Crazy”
If you are struggling with relaxation techniques due to your anxiety causing too much pent up energy, sometimes it can help to let out the energy and anxiety in a more unorthodox way. For this one you may want to be in a quiet and private place to avoid the worries about being embarrassed.
Step 1) Let everything out. Run in circles, flail your arms, throw a tantrum and scream.. The list is endless do anything that lets it out, this also includes: laughing hysterically, jumping on your bed and throwing your pillow.Whatever you wan to do, do it, let go of you sense of what is ridiculous.
Step 2) Do this until you feel as though you’ve let it all out. Then you keep going, do this until you have let go of so much pent up anxiety, stress and frustrations that you are left feeling drained and satisfied. Let it out for 5 to 10 minutes straight.

Other ways:

Grounding Techniques
For these make sure your eyes are open and lights are on, as these exercises are meant to bring you out of your fears/traumatic memories, etc. and back into the present.

5-4-3-2-1
Step 1) Think of 5 things you can see. (or say it out loud if it helps more)
Step 2) Think of 4 things you can hear.
Step 3) Think of 3 things you can touch, and physically touch them.
Step 4) Think of 2 things you can smell or like the smell of.
Step 5) Take 1 slow, deep breath. (Or as I have learnt prior, name 1 good thing about yourself)

Categories
Play the categories game with yourself. Choose a category (eg. types of dogs) and list any you can think of (eg. Rottweiler, Husky, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier)

Safety Statement
‘My name is _________; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not the past.
I am located in _____________ the date is _____________.’

Take a Shower
Jump in a hot (as hot as you are comfortable with) shower, not because you’re dirty but to release the tension in your body and relax.

Find more here:

How Can I help my friend calm down if they’re feeling anxious?
While going to college we were taught a few tricks on how to calm someone down. I found one fairly helpful but can cause the anxiety to worsen for some. This is particularly helpful when someone is having difficulty focusing on one thought or one thing.

We learnt it as the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise however it may have other names.

As the person to help another through this it is important for you to speak in a calm, friendly, and quiet voice. As well as to focus solely on them and remember to ask them periodically through the exercise how they are feeling.

Step 1) Have them sit (preferably if possible), and ask them if they want to close their eyes, but if closing their eyes causes them more anxiety or don’t want to assure them keeping their eyes open is okay as well.
Step 2) Have them take a deep breathe.
Step 3) Ask them if they can tell you five things they can remember seeing around them. (eg. clock, chair, food or a person) Remember to validate what they are telling you, and to repeat what they have told you in a calm, friendly voice.
When they’ve told you five things tell them that they have done a good job.
Step 4) Ask them to tell you five things they can hear around them. (eg. clock, breathing, vehicles) Again don’t forget to repeat back and reassure them on what they are saying in a calm friendly voice. If they get stuck make a sound (cough, tap the ground, or humm etc.)
When they’re done again reassure them that they’re doing well.
Step 5) Ask them how they are feeling and how they feel about the exercise.
Step 6) Repeat steps 3 and 4 except instead of asking for five things ask for four. Then repeat the steps for three instead five. Then repeat step 5.
Step 7) Repeat steps 3 and 4 for two things they see and hear and then one.
Step 8) Ask them to open their eyes and ask how they are feeling.

I hope everyone can take something out of this, even if it’s not what you are looking for.

Love, Peace and Serenity Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

 

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