Self Help for Anxiety

Those who have experienced severe anxiety know how daunting it can be. Such an episode may require medical attention. If there are no physiological reasons for these symptoms then there are various psychological causes ranging from nerves before an exam to the aftereffects of trauma. (Seek professional assistance if you are experiencing regular and/or severe episodes.)

The techniques described below are instantaneous means by which to deal with this emotional state that have worked wonders for me. It is best to undertake one or more of the physical methods first in order to alleviate the intense bodily symptoms. This will create the clarity required for the psychological techniques which assist in deepening a sense of calmness.

Physical Methods

To the Rescue Remedy

This fantastic homeopathic concoction is a Bach Flower remedy available in health stores – the greater your distress, the faster it works. If you experience these episodes regularly, make several bottles available in accessible places (e.g. handbag, car, office, bathroom, bedroom etc).

Just Breathe

Breathe deeply and exhale slowly counting backwards from five – do this at least five times.

Hands On

(All of these positions allow better blood flow to the head or heart, which is calming.)

  • Place one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head where your skull protrudes slightly – hold for at least three minutes.
  • Put your right hand over your heart and hold for five minutes.
  • Place one hand on each knee for a minimum of five minutes.

Psychological Methods

Positive Self-talk

Tell yourself repeatedly that everything is going to be OK, you are safe and that this is temporary. My favorite affirmation is: “This too shall pass.”

Visualizations

Imagine a pale pink or blue light enveloping you – stay with this for as long as you can. See and feel yourself enjoying a relaxing place or activity (e.g. the ocean, the forest, swimming etc). Use several of your senses to make this as real as possible. For example, if you imagine yourself lying on a beach, ‘smell’ the salty air, ‘feel’ the sand between your toes, ‘hear’ the sound of the waves and so on.

Say a Little Prayer

(This is a spiritual method however ‘psychology’ is derived from the Greek word ‘psyche’ meaning ‘soul’, so it does belong in this category.)

If you believe in God or a Higher Power, including angels, spirit guides etc, call on them to help bring you peace. Calling on deceased relatives or friends who were helpful and/or nurturing when they were alive, is also comforting during extreme anxiety.

© New Age Power (Helen Papadopoulos) 

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