Effective Coping Methods For Anxiety…

And Some Not So Good Ones Too

 

by Tiffany Joy Mansfield

Limit exposure to anxiety inducing people or events

Limit or do not participate in events or be around people where you cannot cope with anxiety in a healthy way. If you do have to be around this, choose one of the following coping strategies.

Check in with your body regularly

The best way to keep away from a full blown anxiety attack, is to check in with your body at regular intervals for signs of anxiety. These signals are your body’s way of saying: Stop. Pay attention. And they are different for everyone. For some, it might be an upset stomach. For others, it might be that you’re holding your breath. Still for others, they may experience both. Regardless what the early sign of anxiety is, it is a signal that your body may be heading into a danger zone. And it is much simpler to reduce anxiety in its earlier stages than when you are in a full blown attack. When you do notice these subtle signs, you can make a plan to keep it at bay.

Use mindfulness

Tara Brach, a mindfulness leader, says “Your attempt to control the life within and around you actually cuts you off from your own heart and from this living world.”  So instead of trying to control this, perhaps trying to understand it would be more beneficial. Here is what she recommends: RAIN is an acronym and a tool some Buddhists began teaching that begins to undo the anxiety.

 

R-Recognize what is happening. Where in your body do you feel this sensation? Your heart, your belly, your chest? What does it feel like?

A-Allow or accept what is happening. Don’t try to change it.

I-Investigate with kindness. Get curious and ask, “What needs attention? What am I believing right now?”

N-stands for Non-identification. You are not your thought, you are not your belief. In some instances, 10 minutes doing RAIN will allow you to ride out this uncomfortable feeling and you can move on with your day.

Use a grounding technique

Try out this grounding technique developed by Tiffany Roe, a clinical psychologist in Orem, Utah. “A grounding technique will engage the rational, thinking, present part of your brain. I recommend you put both feet on the floor while sitting in a chair. Begin rubbing your palms on the top of your jeans by your knees/quads. As you begin to create friction as you move your hands back and forth, observe and describe the following things: What do my jeans feel like? How can I describe this fabric? What sensations do I notice on my palms? Are the sensations different on my legs verses my hands? What do I notice about the temperature? What sensations do I feel now? At this point… you will be thinking about one thing; your hands. It’s a POWERFUL technique that you can do anytime.”

Less effective coping strategies

  • Numbing
  • anxiety with alcohol
  • drugs
  • food
  • social media
  • shopping
  • sex
  • alcohol

Everyone handles anxiety differently, and methods on how to manage it are individual  based on needs and severity. If what you are currently doing isn’t having an effect, try one of these 4 methods. It’s okay if you need a bit of help to get started, and we would be happy to help you. If you find yourself turning to these less effective coping strategies to cope with anxiety, we would encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible to get on the right path. Click here to set up an appointment.

Images by Oscar Söderlund

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