Everyone suffers from some measure of anxiety. It can come up when we are stressed at work, or when we are overwhelmed with a situation, or simply feel out of control with everything happening in our lives.
Some people suffer with anxiety attacks more frequently than others, and some people need medication to help assist with coping so that they can experience a balanced life.
But no matter how many times you have experienced it, anxiety attacks always feel just as nerve-wracking and out of control as the first time you had one.
Anxiety attacks feel different to everyone and have varying levels of intensity.
It could feel like your worrying has gotten out of control and that you are spiraling down a deep hole of bottomless “what ifs?”
It can feel like you have too much to do and you can’t possibly get it all done, but you have to and there seems no solution to make it work and meet your obligations.
It can feel like you’re going to make the wrong choice and you will fail or accidentally cause pain or hardship for others, so you fear making any choice at all.
Or it can come up out of nowhere and make you feel like you are powerless and have no control over yourself and the situations in your life.
Experiencing an anxiety attack is awful.
Sometimes you can’t breathe and have physical effects such as lightheadedness and/or rapid heart-rate.
Sometimes you feel immobile and can’t bring yourself to make or take any action. Sometimes you are overcome with emotions and experience many different emotions in rapid succession.
It can be difficult to communicate your needs when you are having an anxiety attack, and even if you are able to there is often not much someone else can do to help you.
Luckily, there are some techniques you can practice to help yourself calm an anxiety attack and find balance again.
Grounding is a way to help reverse an anxiety attack while it is happening.
Grounding will help you regain balance, and stop the sensation of panic, overwhelm, and helplessness.
Here are 5 ways to ground during an anxiety attack:
It seems like such a simple thing, but hyperventilating is a big concern when it comes to anxiety attacks.
Focus on taking deep breaths in and out.
Count while you do it.
Counting your breaths will help to quiet the overthinking in your mind that may have led to the anxiety attack, and will help to calm you.
Focus on your senses.
Similar to counting, this will give your mind something to focus on other than whatever thought circle you’ve gotten trapped in.
you may not find something for each sense, but do the ones you can.
– Identify something you feel.
This can be the air conditioning in the building, the sun, or your clothes against your skin.
– Identify something you smell.
Are there flowers nearby?
Trash that needs to be taken out, Fresh air, even your own perfume or cologne.
– Identify something you hear.
This can be the hum of an appliance, the sound of your own breathing, or birds chirping outside.
– Identify something you see.
Something that, perhaps, you didn’t pay attention to before.
The color of the walls, a painting or picture, the placement of the outlet, etc.
Repeat a mantra.
A mantra is a phrase that you can repeat over and over to calm yourself or find peace.
One such mantra is the phrase: “this too shall pass.”
Another to consider is: “this is my anxiety, this is not how it really is.”
Find one that works for you and repeat it over and over while you breathe.
Say the alphabet.
Similar to counting, going through the alphabet will give your mind something simple and familiar to focus on.
Sing your favorite song from memory.
Like the alphabet or counting, this is pulling on memory which takes your mind away from the current anxiety.
It also gives you something to think about that doesn’t require additional critical thinking or reasoning, which can trigger or amplify an anxiety attack.
Anxiety attacks happen to most of us at one point or another in our lives.
There will always be a time or experience when we feel overwhelmed or out of control.
These grounding techniques are responses that you can do on your own will help you to reverse your anxiety attack as you feel it coming on, or even while you are at the height of it.
Give yourself some control back by grounding and calming your anxiety.