How to combat overwhelm and anxiety attacks

 

Now I’ll admit, this is easier said than done when you’re in the midst of a heartbreaking separation and all the practical and emotional turmoil that goes along with it but with practice, it gets easier.

When you feel yourself getting stressed, halt the current flurry of thoughts in your head by standing still with both feet firmly on the ground. The worst is over. At least for now. At least at this moment. There may well be more to be heaped upon you in the days to come, but right here and right now, you are breathing and you have choices.

Yes, that is right. You do have a choice. You always have a choice. Even when you feel that everything is out of your control, you and you alone have the choice of how you react to it. And no one. Absolutely no one can take it away from you.

So what's it going to be? Victim? Or survivor?

You are going to have a little chat with yourself.  Don’t worry! No, you are not going mad.

Start by telling yourself, that the things that are upsetting me at this moment, have already happened. It may be that you are fearful of what is about to happen. It's understandable to have reservations about a changed and uncertain future but there is no value to anyone in fearing the unknown. You need to find a way of breaking down your situation into what you can change and what you cannot change, then take tiny steps, one at a time to address the things that are within your control. Just as importantly, you must try to find a way to accept that which you cannot change.

 

You are stronger than you think you are

Really plant yourself to the ground.

Take your shoes off. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Stand tall and solid.

Breathe in.  Deep breaths in through your nose.

Long and slow then exhale to the count of four through your mouth.

Remind yourself that you have choices as to how things will go from here on.

That was then. This is now. And now is where you are in control.

However terrible you are feeling now, you have already survived the awfulness of then.

You are stronger than you imagined. You can survive this too.

 

Now use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique.

Start to look around you.

Look intensely at all you can see.

Focus on the small things that give you joy. Can't find a single thing? Well, start with your pulse if that is all you have right now.

Use all of your senses.

Identify 5 things separate things you can see.  Take your time, really look at them.

Now hone in on 4 things you can hear. 

Reach out for 3 things you can touch.

Identify 2 things you can smell or imagine two things you like the smell of.

Take one more deep breath, in through your nose, right down into your belly.

You will start to feel your stress subside and with practice, the feeling of peace will wash over you more readily than it did this first time.

Do this as many times a day as you need to.

 

If stress, anxiety and unhappiness persist, please seek professional help.

List of helpful resources and organisations

Recommended reading

 

Published by Divorce Resource

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