Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Excercise for Managing Anxiety

We've all experienced anxiety in some form.  The racing heart, the fast breathing, a sense of being extremely overwhelmed by the situation, restlessness...anxiety can come in many forms.  There are things you can learn to help you manage anxiety before it starts and there are things you can learn to help you calm down when you're feeling anxious. 

One of my favorite techniques is also one of the simplest.  When I am feeling anxious I make lists.  My anxiety usually comes at night and usually has to do with some imagined tragedy involving my children.  Instead of laying in bed with my heart racing I pick a topic (vegetables, a specific color, things that have to do with summer, food...any topic you want) and I go through the alphabet listing something related to that topic for each letter. 

For example, let's say your topic is food. 

Deviled eggs

You keep listing until you get to Z.  And if you're still feeling anxious then you start over at A.  I find that, for myself, usually by the middle of the alphabet my mind has relaxed, my breathing has slowed, and I have calmed down.  If not, I pick another topic and keep going.  The beauty of this exercise is that it forces your mind to think of something other than what you are feeling anxious about and you can do it anywhere.

What's your favorite technique for dealing with anxiety?

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