A Daily Regimen to help you manage, when anxiety attacks.
A Brief Anxiety Story
Last Sunday night, I got into the car and turned the key. The engine cranked, but wouldn’t get ignition. Instantly, I felt that all-too-familiar feeling of anxiety rush through my pectorals, up into my shoulders, and down my upper-arms. My abdomen got tight, and I felt a pit in my Solar-Plexus.
Turn the key a second time, and this time, press the gas-pedal all the way to the floor. Engine cranks. No ignition. A third time. No go. And each failed attempt only increases the feelings of anxiety in the body.
Now, I have two cars for just such an occasion. I took my immediate belongings out of the broken-down car, got into my back-up car and continued on my journey. At the time, I was listening to an audio-book in the car, on Mindfulness, of all things. After five minutes of driving, I realized that I hadn’t heard a single word that had been said.
I dearly wanted to listen to the audio book. I desperately wanted to be mindful, present, feeling okay, feeling at ease in that present moment. But the truth was, I wasn’t feeling any of that. The truth was, I was thinking about my car. And car problems cost money, so I was thinking about how car repairs would affect my bank account balance. I turned off the audio-book and continued to my destination, in that all-too-familiar, escalating, anxiety-driven haze.
The following morning, I woke as I frequently do. When my comfort zone has been affected by something outside of my control, when something or someone I love and am emotionally attached to is threatened, I feel fear. Anxiety. Tension. Dread. Overwhelm.
If you’re a linear-thinker like me, you enjoy lists. Lists take the uncertainly of life’s circumstances and makes them more manageable. If you’re also like me, when you find yourself in an Anxiety State, it becomes difficult to think clearly. Even the simplest tasks can seem overwhelming.
Waking up in an immediate and intrusive Anxiety State on Monday morning, in that moment what I wanted was a list. I wanted a check-list to go down, one by one, to get me through this situation that had triggered an unmanageable state of anxiety. I’ve had a number of daily self-care rituals over the years, but ironically, I never wrote them down, even though that’s exactly what I needed in that moment. What better time to craft one?
What follows is a Beginner’s Guide to Coping with an Anxiety State. My intention is to keep things in very simple, bite sized pieces. In later Blog Posts, I’ll discuss preventative measures, and therapeutic interventions. The intention to this Blog Post is Immediate Damage Control.
What is Anxiety?
Here’s a simple description of the anxiety reaction: Anxiety is what you feel when the Survival Mechanism of “Fight, flight or freeze” is activated, whether there’s a legitimate threat or not. It’s an entirely healthy, natural survival mechanism, devoted to the safety & protection of the organism. The feeling of Anxiety is involuntary and it is compulsory; it is an unconscious reaction to a perceived threat. Anxiety becomes a problem when the reaction is out of proportion to the perceived threat.
What follows is the Daily Regimen List. Start with the first task. Do the best you can with it. Then move on to the next one. Remember: You don’t need to do anything perfectly. Do what you can. Let go of what you can’t. Move on to the next one.
Beginning your day
This is what I do every day, whether I'm in an Anxiety State, or not. If what you’ve read helps you in any way, please “Like,” “Favorite,” “Follow,” and “Subscribe.”
I'd love to hear from you. What do you do daily, to help move you out of Undesired States, and into Resource States?
If you remember nothing else from this Post, remember this:
Self-Care is ALWAYS Priority #1.
~ Daniel W. Finney, CHt