And I’m back with another lesson I’ve learned from therapy about anxiety. In a few short months I’ve come a very long way, and although these posts are no substitute for the real thing, I hope that they’re helpful!
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I’m finding my anxiety triggers by taking note of what is going on when I feel anxious, and adding it to my list of triggers that lives on my phone. But the work I’ve done with my therapist definitely doesn’t end there.
The next step in our process was to create another list (she gets me, clearly) of things that make me feel better when I’m in the thick of it, feeling anxious or panicky. The idea is that when I’m in the moment, I don’t have to think (which I often can’t do anyway), I just have to open the list and see if there is anything that works for the situation at hand.
Not all of the items on the list work for every situation, so I add things as I think of them so that I always have as many resources as possible to choose from.
For example, one of the things on my list is to take a hot bath. Obviously if it’s the middle of the day and I’m working or with the baby, that’s not happening. But if it’s right before bed and I feel my anxiety bubbling up, a bath with candles and a face mask can help calm me down.
Here are some more examples:
- Hike with Boots (or just a walk down the street if in a pinch).
- Go outside for five minutes without my phone.
- Turn on my diffuser with lavender or peppermint oil.
- Call Anel or my sister and talk through what I’m feeling.
- Take a series of deep breaths and say three things that I’m grateful for.
- Go to the nail salon and get a 10 minute back massage.
- Clean my office or closet or fridge… or anything in my house.
You get the idea. These are not action items that will cure my anxiety in any way, shape or form, but sometimes I just need to snap out of it to get back on track and live like a normal person on any given day.
Granted, they don’t always work when things get really bad, but I’ve learned that that’s ok. Sometimes I just have to let myself feel what I’m feeling and ride it out. I just remind myself that this too, shall pass.