10 Power Tools to Manage Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common complaints in my mental health practice, regardless of a client’s diagnosis. Clients experience a range of anxiety symptoms, with distress subjectively ranging from 1 – 10 on a day-to-day basis. During each session, the distress score is recorded to track if intervention is working. You may want to do this for yourself on a calendar.
Chronic anxiety is distressing, causing the sufferer to brace against it, which causes more havoc. With the right tools in your toolbox, you can learn how to move with the ebb and flow of your anxiety.
Since every person can relate to what anxiety feels like in the mind (cognitive) and body (somatic), it’s a good idea to have these tools up your sleeve for the next time you need them. You might not be able to eliminate your anxiety completely, but they can help you to manage it.
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- Breathing – Practice sitting still in relaxed breathing for as little as 5 minutes.***
- Mindfulness Training to Increase Awareness – Techniques might include noting triggers, tracking anxiety scores daily, making correlations between scores and contributors to anxiety.
- Meditation – As your anxiety scores go up (meaning you are more distressed), so should the time you meditate. Start with 5 minutes, morning and evening.
- Somatic bodywork (simple stretches and slow movements to expel anxiety) – Exercise is shown to be effective. If you are not fond of exercise, simply focus on slow Tai Chi-like moves, head rolls, chair stretches and relaxing poses.
- Cognitive Therapy or CBT – Thought logs teach you to look at stressful dread and fear-based thoughts and reframe them! Email me for my how-to PDF. It’s free!
- Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) – This can be learned quite easily from self-help videos and books if you are not seeing a practitioner. See my YouTube video below.
- Wellness Plan – Overall wellness addresses all domains of stress management including sleep, organization, and nutrition. Email me for your free copy.
- Distraction and Coping Skills – Do something you enjoy or something that requires a sharp focus. Keep a go-to list with you so you can jump to these skills when needed. Email me for a free PDF.
- Journaling – Writing morning pages or last-thing-at-night journaling is a great way to expel rumination.
- Gut Care (cf: the belly is the second brain) – This is necessary to settle down the ramifications of long-term anxiety on your digestive system.
***If you’re not doing this, the effectiveness of the other techniques is reduced.
Focus on soothing rather than pushing yourself in all the 10 areas above. Anxiety causes hyperarousal, so the idea is to calm the nervous system rather than stimulating it further. This doesn’t mean you can’t do exciting things, but focus on softening your overall approach. Anxiety is a product of many complex interactions in your mind/body and it’s common for those who are perfectionistic and driven. You will need to learn how to be restorative rather than ‘crushing’ your next milestone.
To listen to my relaxation recording go here:
To find out what supplements might be helpful, look at my articles here:
If your guts are messed up because of your anxiety, learn how to regulate them here:
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Traci Baxendale Ball LMSW, CAADC is the founder of Vibrant Health Company LLC
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