Amidst the myriad suggestions for alleviating anxiety, Evergreen Counseling’s therapists offer four tools they believe can significantly reduce anxiety levels. Explore these practical approaches to cultivate a sense of calm and resilience.
Tool #1: Grounding Techniques and Breath-Driven Soothing
Anxiety triggers the autonomic nervous system (ANS), initiating fight, flight, or freeze responses and unleashing a cascade of physiological symptoms. Grounding exercises coupled with intentional breathing can effectively calm the nervous system.
- Find a comfortable seated position, eyes closed, and hands resting comfortably.
- Inhale deeply, allowing your lower abdomen to expand, bringing oxygen to the bottom of your lungs.
- Exhale slowly, focusing on the sensations around you—your feet on the floor, your back against the furniture.
- Continue this mindful breathing for 10-15 breaths, bringing awareness to your surroundings.
- Return to the present when ready.
This tool enhances oxygen flow to the brain, promoting relaxation and enabling clearer, grounded thinking.
Tool #2: Untwisting Your Thinking with The Work by Byron Katie
When anxiety-provoking thoughts arise, untwist your thinking using Byron Katie’s approach. The simplified version involves identifying the anxious thought, questioning its reality, and finding four reasons why it might not be entirely true. By challenging and creating flexibility in your thinking, anxiety can be alleviated.
Tool #3: Counting Colors for Emotional Distraction
Emotional flooding, characterized by intense feelings that hinder rational thinking, can be interrupted using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-inspired tools.
- Look around the room and find five colors of a specific shade, counting them aloud.
- This external focus diverts attention from internal intensity, reducing emotional flooding.
Tool #4: Counting Backwards with a Twist
Engage your mind in a distracting task to disrupt emotional flooding. Counting backward from a chosen number to zero using an odd, random decrement captures your concentration and diverts your thoughts from anxiety.
Counting Backwards with a Twist:
- Choose a starting number (e.g., 637) and an odd, random decrement (e.g., 19.5).
- Count backward to zero by subtracting the chosen decrement.
These tools, inspired by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, offer subtle yet effective means of emotional regulation during moments of anxiety or intense emotions.
Seeking Further Support
For those seeking more tips or recognizing the need for professional assistance, Evergreen Counseling invites individuals to book a complimentary consult call. Trained therapists are available to explore personalized strategies for managing anxiety and fostering lasting relief.