As a licensed professional counselor, I have observed increases in clients reporting anxiety, with some reporting higher levels of anxiety than they’ve ever experienced before. You may even notice that those around you are talking more about anxious feelings. Perhaps you’ve experienced anxiety, or an increase in anxiety, yourself. There are probably a lot of factors contributing to increases in anxiety, including social and political issues, and the need we all feel to be up to date with the most recent media headlines and social media updates. While being conscious of what’s happening in the world around us is a positive thing, it’s so important to take time to disconnect from all of the media that we subject ourselves to almost 24/7. It’s all about finding a balance between being connected to media and being disconnected from it, which then helps us to reconnect with ourselves.
Self-care is an important part of balance, which includes getting enough sleep. It’s important to take one or two hours before bed to engage in real relaxation, such as listening to soothing music or white noise. Self-soothing before bed can also involve breathing techniques including counting breaths and visualizing breath moving throughout the body. There are several grounding techniques which can help you to reconnect with yourself in the present moment. Try to name five things in the room you can see, smell, hear, and touch. Play a categories game such as naming all of the states, identifying all the actors from a favorite movie, or recalling all of the trips you’ve taken with your family. These techniques can be especially helpful at the end of a long day at work or school, when our instinct is to come home and turn to our media devices to mentally “check out.” However, when we do this we don’t manage the stress we simply push it away.
When our attention is focused on the media including news and social media, it makes sense that most of us feel that we don’t have control, which then contributes to or creates anxiety. Of course we can’t control the world, or society, or even another person! What you can control is yourself, and you can gain a sense of personal control. One way to do this is to set goals for yourself including listing out steps towards reaching your goals. Create a poster or vision board of your goals and desires to remind yourself that you can have control over your own reality. You can also regain control and battle anxiety by interrupting anxious thinking. If you experience negative “what if” thoughts about the future, tell yourself “what if everything will work out?” or “what if things can go my way?”
If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety and needs some coping skills and support, call Specialized Therapy Associates today at 1-201-488-6678 or check out our website at www.specializedtherapy.com. We would be happy to help you reconnect with yourself and your needs.