7 Things I Do When My Anxiety Skyrockets

7 Things I Do When My Anxiety Skyrockets

via Very Well Mind by Amy Morin

I grew up a pretty anxious kid. I hated school, mostly because I didn’t want to talk in class. I was convinced public speaking was the worst thing in the world.

I would have never imagined I’d grow up to become a professional speaker. Now, I can stand on stage in front of thousands of people without much anxiety at all (usually).

But conquering the fear of public speaking didn’t make all my anxiety go away. Now, I get anxious about other stuff—like my loved ones’ well-being.

There are still times when my anxiety spikes, just like it did when I was a kid. Fortunately, as a therapist, I have skills and strategies that help me manage it much better. Here are seven things I do when my anxiety skyrockets.

Notice It

My anxiety comes with a lot of physical symptoms. My stomach usually feels like it’s in a knot, and I completely lose my appetite. Usually, those are the first signs that my anxiety is getting out of control.

I pay close attention to what I’m experiencing and talk myself through it. Just thinking, “OK, your stomach feels like this because you’re worried about something,” can help.

Name It

Simply saying, “OK, I’m feeling anxious right now,” helps my brain make sense of what is happening. I instantly feel a little better as soon as I put a label on my emotion.

Naming it also helps me become more aware of how my emotions are likely to cloud my judgment. I’m much less likely to take a risk when I feel anxious. Even if it’s a healthy risk that is completely unrelated to why I feel anxious, anxiety causes me to play it safe. Recognizing this helps me make more rational decisions.

Be Present in the Moment

It’s hard to feel anxious when I’m just focusing on the here-and-now. When my anxiety spikes, I pause and pay attention to what I see, hear, taste, touch, and smell right now. That helps me feel a little more grounded when my brain is spinning out of control with a million “what if…” scenarios…

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