Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, CBIT, ERP, CBT-I, Behavior Consultation, and Treatment for Anxiety and Insomnia

Laura Van Schaick-Harman, Psy.D., BC-TMH


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Wait it Out

Posted on November 25, 2019 at 2:35 PM

Have you suffered from an anxiety disorder? Have you experienced a panic attack before? Have you felt like anxiety would never end?

 

Feeling anxious is incredibly uncomfortable. You may feel sweaty. You may feel that you are not getting enough air in. You may feel sick. You may feel like your heart is racing. You may feel a tight chest, tingly hands, or sweaty palms. You may think this will never end. You may think you’re dying. You may think that something has gone terribly wrong with your body.

 

Anxiety is a normal human emotion. We all experience anxious feelings during our lives. Anxiety is supposed to show up when we are in danger, such as being chased by a mountain lion or driving during a white-out blizzard. Anxiety is also supposed to show up when we need to be motivated to prepare for something, such as a test, job interview, or meeting someone new.

 

Anxiety becomes problematic when it shows up and we are not in danger or needing to be prepared. Anxiety is problematic when it shows up in a very loud and excessive, noisy way disproportionate to the situation (for example, having your mind “go blank” when taking a test).

 

One of the best things you can do to cope with anxiety is to just let it be.

 

Wait it out.

 

Anxiety will not last forever. It is temporary.

 

One of the best ways I have seen this described was on a recent episode of This is Us. Real anxiety symptoms and panic attacks have been depicted on this show. One of the characters disclosed how he suffered from anxiety and how his mom helped him. His mother would pour seltzer into a cup and say that this represents anxiety. All he had to do was wait for the bubbles to settle.

 

Wait for the bubble to settle. Wait for the anxiety to pass. It will- that is how your body was designed.

 

Of course, anxiety can pass quicker if you use other coping skills such as deep breathing or telling yourself you’re not in danger. The key here- it passes even if you do nothing.

 

So, just wait.

Categories: anxiety