Your heart is racing, you begin to shake, and the moisture behind your eyes begins to build. The place, time, and present company do not come to mind. All that matters is getting the feeling of being suffocated to stop. In this frame of mind figuring out what is causing this reaction is not feasible. But once it passes and everything around you clears, it is time to get to work. You must think back to the events leading to the attack. Depending on the severity this can be a challenge, but if you take the plunge to face it, you will develop your skill in preventing it.
I) Begin by writing down where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with right before the attack began. Then make a list of the smells around you, the temperature, and the way you were feeling. Write down what you ate and drank, and the very first thing you did when you woke up. These answers are just some of the main triggers of your anxiety. By writing them down you will increase your chance of understanding its onset.
II) Go through your list focusing on each item one at a time. An aha moment or at the very least a theory will form based on analyzing what occurs right before the anxiety attack.
III) Then decide what changes need to be made the next time you are faced with that situation, that person (or those people), and when you are in that environment.
(IV) Formulate a plan to use the alternative tactic, so when it happens you are ready to react differently.
(V) The true test will be in the response. Were you able to react in a way that eased or diminished your anxiety?
I recently applied these steps at work. I began feeling overwhelmed which caused an anxiety attack. Once I calmed down I made my list and went through each item. It turns out I was bombarded with emails and requests, and instead of responding one at time, I attempted to address everything at once. I ended up making a couple of mistakes, which just worked to exasperate my attack. A few hours later after clearing my inbox, I felt better. The best part is that I was able to avoid another attack when a slew of emails came in again later in the day. I took my time, and even set what was not urgent aside for the next day. It was the unnecessary pressure that I was placing on myself that needed to change.
Resolifers, how do work on detecting your anxiety triggers? Comment below.
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