According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult your life can feel most days.
When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become a sort of funhouse, only not that much fun. It’s important to be able to self-soothe in these instances. But how can you calm an anxiety attack subtly when you’re out in public?
As soon as you feel the anxiety coming on, focus intently on your breathing and nothing else. Begin to take slow, deep breaths. Inhale for a slow count of three…hold for a count of three…and exhale for a count of three. Focus only on the sound and feeling of your breath. Slow deep breaths send a signal to our body that we are not under attack and everything is okay.
Talk to Yourself
In your mind, remind yourself that you are having an experience with anxiety but that you are NOT that experience. While you feel that something is wrong, remind yourself that you are actually safe and all is well.
Think of something that calms you. This may be your childhood bedroom or your grandparent’s home. It could be your favorite beach or your own bathtub. Simply put yourself IN that space. Use your full imagination to feel yourself there and allow the calm to settle over you.
Carry a Calming Essential Oil
Keep a small vile of your favorite calming oil in your purse or pocket and inhale its scent. You can even rub some between your finger and then rub on your temples to calm down. Aloha carries high quality doTERRA Lavender, Bergamot, Vetiver, Clary Sage, Frankincense, plus the entire line of Emotional Aromatherapy oils. We have lots of samples you can test when you come in. Just ask someone at the front desk!
Practice Listening Meditation
If you’ve never tried listening meditation, we recommend it for everyone. It can be especially beneficial when you are feeling anxious and here is why. Listening requires you to stop thinking. Try it now. Stop reading and instead listen to all of the ambient sounds there in the room with you, outside the door and window.
What do you hear?
Let your sense of hearing grow and grow, picking up more subtle sounds. The buzz of the lights overhead… the noise of the ice maker… a bee at the window… your dog’s collar down the hall.
In order to really give sound your full attention, you can’t think while listening. At first, it’s a bit like trying to juggle while standing on your hands, but with practice it gets easier.
Much of our anxiety comes from our anxious thoughts. It’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us alive by alerting us to all of the dangers around us. But when we meditate, this mind chatter goes away.
When an anxiety attack comes on, life can feel unbearable. The next time this happens to you in public, try one or more of these techniques.
If you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, please call Aloha Behavioral at 801.399.1818. We’d be happy to explore treatment options.