Yesterday I shared with you the two main exercises I am to try to assist in minimizing my anxiety and my PTSD. Those exercises, though can be done in the moment while having an anxiety or PTSD attack, were for more long term changes to my brain. Today, I am also going to share two more tips that my therapist suggested for in-the-moment pulling out of an attack.
I tend to separate myself from people, and distract myself with say my phone… If it’s bad enough I’d also be trying to deep breathe and splash water on my face. I did all of these things last Wednesday when I had an anxiety attack in class. I jumped on the chance for a trip to the bathroom when we had a mid-class break right after.
Anyway, when I explained what happened to my therapist he suggested, along with the bilateral stimulation, that I could try to pull myself out of a crisis by:
- Sucking on an extremely strong mint, or a very sour candy. The thought behind it is that it’s somewhat of a sensory overload and will take my brain’s focus away from the anxious / fight or flight feelings. Today when I went to the grocery store I bought myself some Redhots to carry around in my purse. I’ll give it a try as long as I think of it for the next time. If those don’t work I’ll see about hunting down some Fishermen’s Friend or some such.
- Another common trick is to “ground” yourself in your surroundings when you find yourself in such a situation. This means either focusing on something in the room or something going on around you… Or focusing on and noting objects in your vicinity: blue chair, round clock, wood table… Clearing your mind of everything except these kinds of series of words and visual objects.
Separating myself from the trigger or from people in general, I think, is still something I will continue to do when I am able… But that is just not always practical or doable. Regardless this is a pretty ingrained reaction that I often do it without really thinking about it, and I do feel that it works pretty well for the most part.
What do you do when you are anxious?