Emergency Anxiety Tool Box
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
A few weeks ago I experienced something that I haven't had in a very long time. I wasn't sure if I should go into detail about it, but I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't share the good, the bad, and the ugly. So many people around the world go through this hardship on a daily basis but it isn't spoken about enough. That's why I am here, and can hopefully help others and shed some light.
December 29th... I woke up feeling absolutely exhausted. My body ached and throbbed all over, and I had pressure all over my chest and gut. I felt very off, but I kept going on with my day. I ran some errands, went to the grocery store, and as soon as I got home it all started. I started crying, and hyperventilating uncontrollably. I couldn't think, I couldn't speak or express how I was feeling. I sat at the kitchen table, grabbing the table and holding my body because the pain that jolted up and down my chest and stomach was as if there was a bolder laying on top of me. I was screaming, and breathing heavily and couldn't calm down. When all was said and done, I realized it had been close to three months since my last anxiety attack.
When someone used to say "just relax" I wanted to scream at them. This may sound harsh, but if you suffer from anxiety your only wish is to be able to relax and calm down, but it is extremely difficult to do so. I have learned through the years through therapy, trial and error, different techniques, that help calm your mind from racing thoughts. I am someone who used to have panic and anxiety attacks on a daily basis. Because of my anxiety, it made it so difficult to function on a day-to-day basis. Doctors and professionals have affiliated having a panic attack to running a marathon. It takes so much energy out of you, mentally and physically. I have been through this for almost two years and I have learned to manage my anxiety and live with it.
Below, I have put together some tools that I have tried, experienced, and use daily to help you through a rough patch of anxiety.
Breathe- Go outside and take a large deep breath of fresh air, get out of your environment and take as many slow, deep breaths, as you need too.
Box Breathing- This is one of my favorite exercises that I use all the time. In your head draw a box as you're breathing. Breathe in for 5 seconds, breathe out for 5 seconds, breathe in for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds.
Get up & Move- Sitting in the same spot and same position, causes you to ruminate in your thoughts and makes things worse. Get up, take a walk, and get your legs moving. This will allow your brain to start thinking about other things. Bottom line, get up and move around.
Positive talk- Saying encouraging words to yourself won't make the problem go away but, this will allow you to get through the difficult time. By saying "I am safe." and "This will pass" will help you calm down.
Grounding- This helps so many people get out of their own head. List in your head, 3 things you smell, 3 things you see, and 3 things you can touch. Repeat this until you are in a calmer state.
Counting- This is my favorite tool that I use all the time. Try counting by, 2's, 3's, 5's 10's. This gets your brain preoccupied on something else and can allow you to calm your anxiety.
Muscle Relaxation- Flex your muscles for 5 seconds then release, start at your head and work all the way down to your feet.
Distract- Trying to do productive things such as, putting away the groceries, talking to someone, cleaning, walking up and down the stairs can help you distract yourself from the anxiety and can allow your brain to start being more positive.
Surround Yourself- Personally, this is the most important tool. Be around people who lift you up and do nothing but support you. Smiling and laugher is the best remedy.
Just remember that everything will be okay, and you will come out on the other side.