It's a feeling that seems to come out of no where- a pit in your stomach, a creeping feeling in the back of your throat, an inability to focus, shaky hands, a dry mouth, and even nausea. All this while you brace yourself for impending doom.
Anxiety is a real feeling, though sometimes the things we are worrying about aren't real threats. If you've ever experienced this, you are well acquainted with feeling alone, wondering if you're crazy, and being unsure of what to do next. You get why it's so hard to open up and tell someone what you're thinking and feeling: they may think you're nuts! Or worse yet, dismiss your thoughts and give you no reason to trust that everything's OK.
The reality is, anxiety is your body's way to letting you know there's a disconnect. And no, you're not imagining those feelings or physical symptoms. Here are 10 quick fixes to help you pull yourself out of an anxiety attack:
1. Talk it out.
There are several different ways to talk it out: call a friend, write your worries in a journal, blog about them, post it as your Facebook status, share with a co-worker. You get the idea.
2. Walk away.
If your schedule allows it, take a quick 10-minute walk around the neighborhood. If you're at work, walk away from your desk and go to the restroom or to someone else's office to bounce an idea off of them.
3. Get organized.
Take a moment to clean off the top of your desk. Or maybe write down your goals or schedule for the week. Being organized helps us to feel in control of our life. And a sense of control leads to calming anxiety.
4. Deep breathing.
You've probably heard this one a few times. Deep breathing has a calming effect on the body's systems. It can help slow down blood pressure and it gives more oxygen to the brain (and since the brain sends out those fight or flight signals, that's a good thing). But if you're a skeptic about all of that, just know that deep breathing can help you to focus on something else- something that you can control. And that shift can be all you need.
5.Make a plan.
Make an action plan for how you'll take care of that worry. Figure out how to pay for the unexpected car repair. Make a menu so you won't have to worry about what's for dinner. Put out a listing on Care.com to find someone to help you care for your child or aging family member. Then, if that worry happens, the worry is gone because you know what to do.
6. Get the facts.
Most of our worries are about things that never come to fruition. And a good portion of those worries are about things that aren't even real! So get the facts and start crossing off worries that aren't even going to happen- not in a million years, not ever!
7. Take a nap.
Clearly, this may be easier said than done if you're working. And clearly too much sleep can be a bad thing. But a good nap can help put some space between us and that worry, giving us a new perspective when we wake up. A nap can also give us a boost of energy, which also allows us to see things in a new light.
8. Share a hug.
There's something magical about hugs. They connect us to someone in a way that gives comfort and hope, along with calming our spirits. Share a hug with someone you feel comfortable around. In seconds, your heart rate can decrease.
There are many, many women who find solace in cleaning. That sparkling stove? The result of coping with anxiety. So pick a room or focus on the floors or the cobwebs and get started.
10. Change Your Self-Talk.
When we're worried, we tend to replay the same thoughts over and over in our minds. Make a change to the wording of that thought. Change “when” to “if” and then make a plan for what you'd do if it happens or if it doesn't happen.
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