Garrett Counseling Blog
Understanding Anxiety Part 2
While you are waiting to see the therapist, there are some things you can do to slow down and sometimes stop the sensations at the onset. It is logical if you know what adrenaline and cortisol do to the body. Adrenaline causes the heart to beat faster, so taking a walk helps to use up the chemical. If you are sitting at your desk at work and cannot move at that moment, remember to add some fitness into your afternoon or evening. At the onset of symptoms, begin drinking water. Cortisol causes a thickening of the blood, and thick blood is hard to pump, so drinking a tall glass of water will help increase blood flow. A few swallows is not enough. It will need to be 8 oz or better. Secondly take a deep breath and hold it till the count of 10 seconds. Blow out slowly. Do this because the anxiety cycle involves the brain reading low oxygen when the shallow breathing of anxiety/panic begins to rob the blood of the normal supply of air. You can help to reset the system by drinking water and deep breathing so the blood moves well and is filled with the oxygen needed for the body to function. You will be using your human brain to control your animal brain. Now look around and determine if there really is a danger. Nobody else seem distressed? Well then, it is probably you starting your own signal of danger because of the troubles you are thinking about. The “what if” thinking gets people all of the time. Drink the water, breathe deeply and slowly, and look around. Remind yourself that you are actually safe even though your body says “HELP”. The next part is where talking to a therapist is really helpful. If you are triggering this anxiety a lot, maybe you need some time with a person who is trained to help you recognize some changes that need to be made in your life.
This is all a simple explanation to an extremely complicated function of the brain, but the strategies are known to help. Love yourself enough to gain control of anxiety. There is help available and much information about the connection between anxiety management and improved Wellness as a better lifestyle and the confidence to deal with problems in your life. And while you are making these positive improvements, consider cutting out caffeine after lunch. It is a powerful drug and it will accelerate your heart rate. Did you just make that connection? Anxiety accelerates your heart rate and so does caffeine. Pat yourself on the back because you are on the road to better mental health.
Ginger Caudell, LPC is an Independent Contractor with Garrett Counseling who specializes in helping clients with relationships and the emotional strain caused by grief, fears, anxiety, stress, and depression.