If you feel an anxiety attack coming, there are 5 steps to take to help create progress towards finding symptom reduction and/or relief.
These steps might not be overnight magic but can significantly help reduce symptoms of anxiety, trauma triggers, and other unwanted emotions or thoughts.
Start with deep breathing as the introduction to any coping skills. Then go through the numbers in order to help ground yourself in present thinking through external factors:
5) Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. Maybe it is a bird, maybe it is pencil, maybe it is a spot on the ceiling, however big or small, state 5 things you see.
4) Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. Maybe this is your hair, hands, ground, grass, pillow, etc, whatever it may be, list out the 4 things you can feel.
3) Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This needs to be external, do not focus on your thoughts; maybe you can hear a clock, a car, a dog park. or maybe you hear your tummy rumbling, internal noises that make external sounds can count, what is audible in the moment is what you list.
2) Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. This one might be hard if you are not in a stimulating environment, if you cannot automatically sniff something out, walk nearby to find a scent. Maybe you walk to your bathroom to smell soap or outside to smell anything in nature, or even could be as simple as leaning over and smelling a pillow on the couch, or a pencil. Whatever it may be, take in the smells around you.
1)Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste.
Some people also find it useful to simply steady themselves by putting their hands on the table, or wall, or anything stable so they can physically ground and stabilise themselves.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, stress, depression or phobias, just give us a shout to see how we can best help you.