These techniques fall into three typical clusters:
- the physical arousal that constitutes the terror of panic
- the ‘wired’ feelings of tension that correlated with being ‘stressed out’
- the mental anguish of rumination – a brain that wont stop thinking distressing thoughts
Cluster One: Physical Arousal
Distressing Physical Arousal – sympathetic arousal causes the heart thumping, pulse-racing, dizzy, tingly, shortness of breath physical symptoms, that can come out of the blue and are intolerable when not understood. Even high levels of anxiety can cause physical tension in the jaw, neck and back as well as an emotional somatic feeling of doom or dread in the pit of the stomach, which will set off a mental search for what might be causing it.
Method 1: Manage the body.
- Eat right
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, sugar and caffeine
- On going self care
- Consider hormonal changes
Method 2: Breathe
Breathing will slow down or stop the stress response
Do the conscious, deep breathing for about 1 minute at a time, 10-15 times per day every time you are waiting for something eg., the phone to ring, an appointment, the kettle to boil, waiting in a line etc.
Method 3: Mindful Awareness
Close your eyes and breathe; noticing the body, how the intake of air feels, how the heart beats, what sensations you can feel in the gut etc
- With eyes still closed, purposefully shift your awareness away from your body to everything you can hear or smell or feel through your skin
- Shift awareness back and forth from your body to what’s going on around you