Anxiety can be a real b*tch. I know this to be true, because I personally suffer from a form of anxiety disorder.
Sometimes, I feel like I can’t control my worry – even when nothing is wrong. I’ll work myself up while overthinking about situations that may never happen and before I know it, I’m sweating, crawling out of my skin and breathing heavily.
It can be big things, or small, but when I’m spiraling out into an anxiety attack – I have a hard time controlling it.
When anyone is in the midst of an anxiety attack, it seems like there’s no way out. No matter how much you tell yourself to “chill the f*ck out,” nothing seems to stop it. And, while there’s no true cure for anxiety (unless you decide to try medication to combat it), Cognitive Behavior Therapist have uncovered a way to aid in the moments when you feel you have lost all control.
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It’s called the “grounding technique.”
Or, some therapists call it the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Either way, it’s psychologically proven in studies with individuals who have anxiety to work.
Here’s how it goes – when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack – stop and:
5: Acknowledge 5 things you see around you. No matter what they are. A wall, a chair, a bag, your cell phone.
4: Acknowledge 4 things you can touch around you. It could be anything near you, as long as you touch it and feel it for exactly what it is.
3: Acknowledge 3 things you hear. It could be a car outside, someone speaking, your TV, music – it helps to get you out of your own head.
2: Acknowledge 2 things you can smell. If you can’t find something you can smell, get up and spray some perfume, light a candle, give yourself something to breathe in while you inhale deeply.
1. Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste. It could be something you ate earlier, it could be gum you’re chewing.
All of these steps should help you get out of your own head – it’s true that our thoughts are directly related to our anxiety attacks, according to CBT specialists. It may not cure your anxiety forever, but at least focusing on these steps will get you out of the cloud of anxiousness and worry you’ve been fixating on.