Having some guidelines for handling anxiety flare ups can make a big difference in the intensity and duration of the experience.
A support program, complete with tips and tools to help us regain a sense of calm can help us quiet the little voice in our heads that might try and tell us we’re going crazy, or anxiety is back and will never leave us in peace again.
Here are our 4 gentle ways to support yourself when anxiety flares up:
1. Slow down
Anxiety can push us, if we are going too fast we can’t make good decisions and we might crash.
Take a deep breath. Use the calm point. Slow down.
Get some water or tea and allow yourself a time out.
- go for a walk
- read something uplifting
- listen to something relaxing
- do some calm breathing for five minutes
2. Question it
Don’t believe everything your anxiety tells you.
Look for generalisations and distortions.
Is your anxiety telling you things are worse than they really are? Is it telling you things will always be this way? Or trying to find problems with you?
Use your intelligence to question your thoughts. Look for evidence that you have support and that you are strong.
3. Allow acceptance
Calm your Critic
Check in with your inner voice. Ask yourself this one question: “Does this help my anxiety, or make me feel worse?”
If your internal voice is harsh or critical try taking a deep breath and thinking about how you can show yourself some support and kindness.
Treat yourself as you would a friend. Offer yourself, patience, space to heal and support.
If your anxiety is flaring up, chances are you’ve been through some extra stress or challenges.
Show yourself some understanding. Acknowledge what you’re going through as if you were hearing a friend.
Allow some time and space to get back to feeling more comfortable again.
Self-compassion reduces painful replays of stories from the past and is the opposite of self-criticism which increases anxiety. Practicing self-care via compassion, nutrition, and anxiety reducing attitudes and activities increases our sense of well-being.
4. Practice awareness of a simple task
Anxiety locks us in our mind. Try getting out of your head and into your senses.
Practice noticing how many things you can see, hear, smell and feel when doing a simple act like:
- drawing, colouring
- baking bread