It's 2pm and you're sitting at your desk. The phone is ringing in the back ground and people in your shared office space are having general conversations. You can hear what's being said but it doesn't necessarily apply to what you are currently thinking or feeling. Now you feel yourself zone out slowly, perhaps you're thinking about the pile of laundry you need to do or stopping at the grocery store to pick up some bread, pasta, vegetables, etc. However, at this moment the thoughts do not seem to be as clear as they usually are. You feel a little nauseous, your palms feel a little sweaty; maybe your brain is trying to understand why your heart is beating so fast. Wait, is my heart beating too fast? Maybe you feel like you can shake it off and shift your attention to the computer, but everything you see is just making it worse. Then you may think, is it hot in this room? No one else has complained, is it only you? Now you start to feel some perspiration on your forehead but when you go to wipe your face, there's no actual perspiration. Am I crazy, you ask yourself? Why do I feel like this? Maybe I need to go get up and walk outside for some air? But you feel like you might be dying? Or crazy? Or dying? Which one is it?
This is just an example of what many people feel when they have anxiety and panic attacks. They are unexpected and usually stem from other situations that you may not be currently thinking about. However, the brain works and thinks even when you think you're focusing on a different task or a different thought. Someone new to having a panic attack truly believes that they are sick or potentially dying and a person who has had panic attacks before feels exactly the same. Despite having a panic attack before, it still feels real the next time, and the next, and the next time.
So what can you do? Many psychologists and therapist encourage their clients to practice deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and even yoga. Focusing on the air going in and out of your body can help alleviate some of the angst you are feeling. The golden rule is to take time and work through your stuff. We all have stuff. Take time to organize some of the projects you’re working on. Figure out what you need to do to get those projects completed. Make lists, start slow and pace yourself. List some goals that you have for yourself, stick with 3 goals, anything more than that is anxiety in its self. What kind of short term objectives can help with these goals?
For example: “Goal: I’m tired of renting; I want to purchase a home.”
Short-term objectives would be: Check my credit. Clean up any deficiencies on my credit. Put between 5-10% of my income into savings each month.
Anxiety stems from worrying about the end result and not finding any comfort in the current tasks you are doing in order to reach these goals.
Also, taking on too many projects can be overwhelming, stick to what you can handle. You know you’re on limits.
Make time for yourself, for sleep, and most importantly live within the moment.
Until next time,