Original Author: Mary Gambill, L.I.S.W.
Symptoms of anxiety signal that we are leaving the present and not staying in the here and now. So I ask, what seems to be going on with all the anxiety people are experiencing? Anxiety is an evil spirit. Anxiety is an emotional vampire. Anxiety is a wakeup call. More importantly, anxiety can be a normal response to a very abnormal situation in life. For example, I was driving from Ohio to Washington, D.C. recently when I found myself trapped in 4 lanes of traffic on the Beltway and my GPS went kaput! It was dark, rainy, and there was an accident with all the emergency vehicles trying to get through. My symptoms of anxiety kicked into high gear. Once I became aware of my sweaty palms and racing heart, I began to do deep breath-work and positive self-talk. My symptoms of anxiety at that time were normal given the situation, and I was able to implement good self-care.
Anxiety is our bodies attempt to gain our attention. When we don’t pay attention to our feelings, and we are not able to express them verbally our anxiety increase. Our bodies have a wonderful way of letting us know that what we are doing isn’t working anymore, and that something needs to change. For instance, when I was stuck in traffic without my GPS, had I not paid attention to my sweaty palms and racing heart I may have started to exhibit even more symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath and even panic. Once panic sets in the ability to think clearly decreases which can have serious consequences both for myself and the drivers around me. Instead, I took care of myself the best I could by remembering to do deep breathing or breath-work. Fortunately, I was able to reach my destination safely and feeling in good control of myself.
There are many options to coping with Anxiety. Breath-work such as the 7-7-7 technique is one of many. To do the 7-7-7’s count to seven when inhaling through the nose, then seven counts on the exhale through the mouth, and repeat seven times. The 7-7-7 technique will re-regulate your breathing.
Other options for dealing with anxiety is to increase one’s self-care including regular exercise, eating healthy, restorative yoga, and positive self-talk.