Many people experience anxiety, ranging anywhere from occasional, manageable instances to debilitating panic attacks. With the most challenging cases, you should seek professional help; however, if your anxiety only flares up once in a while, these tips on how to deal with it in the moment provided by Russell Jack, Southland based yoga and mindfulness teacher, can help you ease your symptoms and calm yourself down.
Anxiety attacks usually come up unexpectedly and are exhausting to your mind and body. It is easier to prevent it from happening by developing healthy mindfulness and self-care practices, but if you are already in the midst of it, try the following tips.
Although it may seem like a simple act, breathing can signal our brain that we are safe. Taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly makes your breathing more natural and calm, contrary to hyperventilating that occurs in people who are having an anxiety attack. There are many breathing exercises that you can try, such as belly breathing, equal breathing, resonant breathing, or yogic breathing. Learn these in your free time and practice whenever you have anxiety.
Accept What Is
One reason people have anxiety is that they overthink the future and worry that something may not go their way. If you feel like you are not in control of the situation, the best way to go about it is to accept it for what it IS. Fighting your anxiety is also counterproductive, so simply accept that you have anxiety at this moment, and you need to take the time to regulate yourself and your mental state.
Reframe Your Thinking
After you’ve accepted that you are experiencing anxiety, it’s helpful to reframe the situation you are worried about. Your thoughts about it are simply your thoughts and not the reality. Try saying out loud “I am having a thought that my presentation is not going to go as planned (or whatever you are worried about).” You having a thought doesn’t make it real, it’s simply a thought. If you can, try to think about a little more positive thought, such as “I worked hard on this presentation and I truly care about my performance at work.” Usually, if you are having anxiety about something, it means you truly care about that subject.
Anxiety creeps in when we are emotionally and mentally exhausted, so another great way to deal with it is to take a break and comfort ourselves. Whether it means taking a bubble bath, going for a walk or a bike ride, engaging in your favorite hobby, reading a book, or talking to a friend, do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfortable and safe.
Ask for Support
During an anxiety attack, it may be difficult to see that others care about you and want to support you, but remember that they do. Reaching out for help to a trusted friend or family member and letting them know you are going through an anxiety attack can help you manage your state and get the help you need. Many people close themselves off during difficult times because they don’t want to bother anyone or be seen as weak, but sharing these moments of vulnerability helps strengthen our bonds with others and build more meaningful connections with them.
About Russell Herbert Jack
Russell Herbert Jack, Southland Yoga Trainer and mindfulness teacher, is based in New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights protection, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.