Anxiety is a common experience for those of us who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. When we are having an anxious moment, we can follow these three easy steps to handle our anxiety.
First, Focus On The Breath
In part, anxiety is an overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which interacts with the amygdala in the brain, which is responsible for regulating experiences of stress and fear. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which operates in the body and brain to create calm, counteracting the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. You don’t need to breathe to calm down and you don’t need to breathe to meditate. Your brain and your body can still run haywire for a moment or two as you start to just focus on the breath. As you can, take deep breaths and just start to shift your focus to your breathing. Within just a few breaths, your heartbeat will slow, your brain will clear, and you will start to feel less anxious.
Second, Keep Breathing
The more your system has a chance to calibrate, the deeper your breathing will become. The deeper your breathing becomes, the more your system will calibrate and calm down. Take increasingly deeper and longer breaths until you develop a steady stream of inhales and exhales. You’ll find that the tension in your muscles has released, your body is overall more relaxed, and the moment of anxiety has passed.
Third, Reflect On Your Fears
Fear, as it is experienced in anxiety, is an incredibly real sensation. Anxiety convinces us of truths that aren’t true, and realities that aren’t real. It helps for us to reflect on what thoughts anxiety created for us, what fears we were being convinced of, and what reality we were scared to have set in. Talking with someone we trust, a sponsor, a therapist, a friend, or writing in our journal, we can trace our anxious thoughts and possibly find the event which set off our anxiety.
Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
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