Often, decisions made at a knee-jerk situation end up in regret once the panic and anxiety subside. When experiencing anxiety, your typical thought process gets messed up due to the adrenaline the situation gives you. This is the “fight or flight” response, which happens when one perceives danger or harm to them.
Researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, notes that humans have an ingrained negative bias. It is the reason why negative emotions are felt harder than positive ones, which have a more subtle approach. Below are steps to make your brain have a break, and prevent you from making decisions that you may regret later.
Look Out For Your Stress Signals.
An anxiety attack, depending on the person experiencing it, always starts with any of the following: rapid heart rate, tightening in the chest, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and nausea. You may feel your body getting all tense and worked up, and the more you take notice of it, the fewer chances your brain will go with it. “Use your strengths of critical thinking and hope to look at any negative situation in a fresh way. You might tap into hope to see how there are benefits to the stressor. ” Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. advises.
Take Deep Breaths Or Do Some Physical Activity.
This to divert your mind from going awry and making poor decisions based on your current state. The goal to keep in mind is to tell your mind and body to not overreact to the situation, and you aren’t in imminent danger. Diffusing the situation inside you by being present helps loads, and is the key to getting out of the panic state and back into a more rational one. “Rest time is essential to recover from the burden of stressors in our day to day lives. Rest can include sleep, relaxing, time doing something that you enjoy doing such as reading, fishing, calling a good friend.” Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC also advises.
Suppress, If Not Eliminate All Negativity.
Be swift to shoot down any negativity that comes knocking at your brain’s door. Don’t let those voices say anything negative, silence them. Be vigilant with those kinds of thinking; the unrealistic, catastrophic, and downright unhealthy ideas. Anxiety feeds on over-dramatization, starve it, and be better off.
Be A River, Not A Rock.
What does it mean by this? Let your thoughts be flowing ones, adapting to every day, much like a river does. A rock is unmovable, which is also true of those rundown and stubborn thoughts. Adapting this mantra means you’re on to thinking rationally.
Do Things Differently.
Look for different ways to do things. According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” Anxiety originated from a “fight to flight to freeze” response; hence, your mind cannot distinguish as clearly a threat from a perceived one. Often, it is tempting just to let go and be carried away by emotions. You can be giving in to your impulses (fight), runoff due to the immense emotional flood (flight), or be immobile altogether. The moment you get to know your unhealthy behavior patterns, it becomes easier to make more informed decisions and actions.
Repeat these tips 1-5. There is no timetable for this, and it can take, however long or short that you may need. However long it takes, it is ok so long as you can reason afterward. Do remember that the goal here is to put the thought to the nervous system, so it becomes more resistant to these types of mental attacks.
Hang in there. Don’t quit! Surely, anxiety can be very overwhelming, devouring, and endless. Whenever under attack, here are words to circulate in your brain.