There is no doubt our lives are disrupted these days. Ever-shifting life at home creates anxiety for many. If you’re feeling anxious, here are three exercises to help you manage and return to the present.
Tip #1 – Assess Your Anxiety Level
Becoming aware of your anxiety level, and simply recognizing it is a good place to start. Assess your level using a 1–10 scale. It’s like the pain scale, but for your feelings. Ask if the level of intensity you’re feeling is appropriate. No need to judge. Just question. This can help your brain consider other things.
Tip #2 – Focus on Breath
When we are anxious, our breathing tends to change. We often breathe more than we need to, and this pumps too much oxygen into our bodies. It’s a standard fight-or-flight response, but in the modern world it’s not very helpful. Instead, focus on 4-7-8 breathing for five to ten minutes. This helps calm your thoughts while balancing the carbon dioxide levels in your blood. Return to this pattern when you want to slow anxious thoughts.
Tip #3 – Create a Pathway
There is an old saying: “Depression is living in the past, anxiety is living in the future, and peace of mind is living in the present moment.” If your thoughts are stuck, running, or spinning all around, check in with the present. Ask yourself, is it happening now? If you don’t get an answer, use a pathway thought to move on. Sometimes it helps to say your pathway thought out loud, and in repetition. Examples of pathway thoughts are:
- Peace of mind is living in the present.
- Be here now.
- Don’t engage with that thought.
Editor’s note: How are you feeling?
According to the Washington State Department of Health, many of us are experiencing some anxiety and depression. Now that days are getting darker, those feelings can be more intense. We reached out to Navos (owned by Multicare), a behavioral health facility here in Burien. They provided some tips for ways to reduce anxiety and build resilience.
The City of Burien and Navos have partnered for several decades to provide behavioral health services to our neighbors experiencing mental health and substance use disorder issues. With two locations in Burien (including the former Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center campus on Lake Burien), Navos provides crucial outpatient treatment services and supports for children, youth, and adults of all ages, as well as supported housing and residential treatment.