Like so many of my clients, I feel the nag of anxiety more times during the day than I can keep track of. Anxiety, I have come to realize, is mainly (for me) about that which I can’t control AND the feeling of anxiety itself is also nearly impossible to control. It just comes on and gets me in its grips and I just want to ESCAPE desperately.
Does this happen to you?
Do you feel anxious and just want to escape? Do you try to push down those feelings or do you try to buffer those feelings with food or alcohol? This might work for a short time but in the long run, you will be sabotaging both your desire to manage your anxiety AND your desire to feel healthy and in control of your diet and your weight. I’ve recently stumbled upon the most simple, portable method to help with those sometimes overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
So, here’s what to do:
Step 1: Come to the awareness that you are experiencing anxiety
Different people experience anxiety in different ways. Do you know what your symptoms are? They can be subtle like a repeating worrisome thought, shakiness or feeling of overwhelm or not-so-subtle like heart palpitations or difficulty breathing. This is the most important first step. In my opinion, It doesn’t matter WHAT you are anxious about, just notice that you are FEELING anxiety.
Step 2: BREATHE. Take 2 slow breaths
Step 3: Use the 54321 technique: Look around and identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch (this can be anything from the feeling of your clothing against your skin, the ring on your finger or your hands on your lap), 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste (this can simply be the taste in your mouth).
You may have to do this exercise multiple times during the day but, over time, you may find that your anxiety lessens. Let me know how it goes.
I was recently discussing this technique with my friend Sue who is an amazing healer and I asked her why she thought this works so well (which it really does). She wisely pointed out that by using your five senses in this way you are quickly brought into the present moment and you really can’t be anxious if you are in the present moment.