I hope you all are well, but if you aren’t maybe today’s anxiety post will help a bit.
If you suffer from anxiety attacks or panic attacks, today’s post is for you!
First, did you know there is a difference between the two?
Anxiety attacks are provoked by stressors and are short lived. Like if you think someone is in your house at night. As you are anxiously waiting for noises and footsteps your anxiety builds and builds and results in a short bout of racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, and dizziness. (Not a full list of symptoms.)
Panic attacks, on the other hand, are unprovoked and can occur randomly. I would get them grocery shopping, in church, walking the dog, driving down the street, anywhere! Seemingly out of nowhere, sudden symptoms of dizziness, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, and racing heart hit like a ton of bricks. (Not a full list of symptoms).
It is important to learn the difference between the two because if you are like me and have experienced a panic attack thinking it was an anxiety attack, the fact that it is lasting a really long time only adds to the panic!
Grounding techniques are things that you can do when symptoms occur to bring you back into reality. When we are anxious, we live in our minds, not in reality. As real as the symptoms are, they are all stemming from your mind. When talking with my doctor about my symptoms, I told him that I was having real shortness of breath, real dizziness to the point of having to lay on the ground. I was having real acid reflux and brain fog, and real tremors so there had to be something wrong with me like a disease or something horrible. He told me when someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder, the symptoms are real. The anxiety causes real headaches, real nausea, everything. But the symptoms are coming from the anxiety, not cancer or hypoglycemia, or heart failure, or whatever it may be that we have self-diagnosed ourselves with during our obsessed Googling.
If you are too the point where you are having anxiety or panic attacks frequently, please read last week’s post, The Blessing of Medication. Do not be afraid to accept the help we have available to us.
Whether you are on medication or not, or even if you have an anxiety disorder or not, these techniques are good to know. Everyone has anxiety at some point in their life and it’s helpful to how to get out of our own heads. These techniques are easy but make a huge difference.
My post on the Five Thinking Hats Technique is still my most popular one to date! This is a great way to force your mind back into the here and now. Here’s how to do it.
Wherever you are at the moment…
- Find five things you can see.
- Find four things you can feel.
- Three things you can hear.
- Two things you can smell.
- One good thing about yourself.
Asking ourselves simple questions is another great to bring our minds out of the whirl.
- Where am I?
- What is today?
- What is the date?
- What is the month?
- What is the year?
- How old am I?
- What season is it?
Trace Your Hand
Trace your hand on a sheet of paper. Write the five senses on each finger. Then for each of the five senses, identify something safe and comforting for each one. For example, the pinky finger represents sound. The waves rolling in at the beach. Pointer finger represents feel. Warm sheets from the dryer.
That was calming even typing that. 🙂
Other Things To Do When In Public
While you could certainly do Five Thinking Hats and Asking Questions in Public, here are some other things that you can do when you are not at home.
- Step out into cool weather.
- Wash your hands in cold water.
- Focus on the voice of who is talking to you.
- Feel the ground. Take off your shoes if possible.
- Hold onto a cold drink
- Turn the air conditioning on in your car and let it blow on your face.
- Squeeze a ball or stuffed animal.
I hope you find some of these helpful! And there are certainly more grounding techniques out there. Do you have any others that you use? Please share! Let’s all help one another.