Anxiety and panic attacks are horrible and very unpleasant. They are two distinct phenomena, but they have a lot in common. They have strong physical and mental symptoms, and they can affect your life very strongly. They are also exhausting. It’s common for suffers to feel extremely tired after an attack, both physically and emotionally.
If you or someone you know suffer from them, here are three simple, tried-and-tested useful techniques to allow you manage and sometimes prevent those attacks.
The “5-4-3-2-1” grounding technique
This technique uses all five of your senses. Start by sitting comfortably, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and then exhale slowly in a controlled fashion.
Open your eyes and look around you, slowly taking in your surroundings and follow the five steps below, doing it nice and slow. Take your time and at each step, pay attention to the quality of the experience you are focusing on.
- Notice 5 things you can see.
- Notice 4 things you can touch.
- Notice 3 things you can hear.
- Notice 2 things you can smell.
- Notice 1 thing you can taste.
Then take a deep breath, release it and end the process.
Again, when you notice something, take your time to appreciate the quality of the experience. For example, when you notice the mug on your desk, what colour is it? How does the light reflect on it? Any nuance of texture? Is there any steam? Any imperfection you may not have noticed before?
Take your time.
For this technique, you need to choose a small item that you can easily hold in your hand and carry around. Things like a stone, gem, or you could use an earring, bracelet, a necklace, etc.
Once you have your item, hold it in your hand and fully focus on it.
First focus on how it feels.
You might want to close your eyes. Is it soft or hard, sharp or blunt? Is it cool or warm? What is the texture like? Smooth, rough, bumpy? Now notice its weight, is it heavy or light?
Then focus on what it looks like.
Is it coloured? What colours can you see? Are there any patterns? What other details can you notice?
After having done it a few times and, as long as you use the same object, you’ll notice that just having the item with you or holding it in your hand can help you to focus in stressful situations.
Happy place technique
For this, all you need is your imagination.
First, get comfortable, take nice deep relaxing breathes.
Then start imagining your happy place. It could be anywhere, anytime, real or imagined. For some it’s a beach, for some a meadow, a holiday place or just floating in space. You could be with friends, family or on your own. Whatever feel right for you, whatever qualifies as quality time for you. Your imagination is the limit.
It’s really that simple. The trick is to really engage all your senses. Close your eyes and imagine your scene – what does it look like? How does it feel like to be there? Is the sun warming your skin, or can you feel a pleasant cool breeze? What can you smell?
Everybody is different and imagine things their own way. So just take any senses you can and imagine ramping them up to make the experience even more real, more vivid, more enjoyable. Really immerse yourself as if you were there and enjoy. Whether you’re relaxing or having fun! It’s a well-deserved holiday, a time-out in the privacy of your own mind.
The more you practice this technique, the better you will be at it. Just one piece of advice, if you have to be somewhere after your break, set an alarm as you might not realise how long you’re losing yourself in your fantasy. It’s very easy to lose track of time.
Also, guess what. This is an effective type of self-hypnosis!
Anxiety spikes happens to almost everybody every now and then. If you suffer from it regularly and consistently, please speak out and get some help. Chronic anxiety doesn’t have to be permanent. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you can get help and get out of this situation and this state.
Talk to your GP, talk to a friend or contact me, just don’t suffer in silence.
Hypnotherapy is a great way to get your anxiety back under control so you can start living the life you deserve, free from those horrible overreactions. You can then start enjoying yourself and make the most of things. If you want more information on how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help you or someone you know deal with their issues, contact me here.
You don’t have to live near Folkestone or even in the UK, I offer sessions face-to-face and also online via Zoom. It works just as well. :)