I’ve been talking a lot lately about how you can manage your anxiety. As people with chronic illnesses, anxiety often comes as an annoying side dish. Not encouraged by side effects of our chronic illness medications or the fear of what the future will bring us. I worried a lot at the start of my diagnosis journey, especially being diagnosed in my 20s!
What is important, is taking back control from the anxiety often caused by chronic illness. What techniques can we do?
Try this one, breathing. Yep, sounds obvious right? And do you know why I suggest this one? There’s a good reason! It overrides your body’s flight/fight/freeze response. When we feel anxious or uncertain, it trggers chemicals to be released in the brain and our brain panics and thinks we are in immediate danger. It’s an evolutionary response developed from caveman times to keep us safe from attack. However, nowadays most of the time we’re not in immediate danger so we need to stop this system.
Enter… Breathing. When we’re anxious we get into a state where our body tenses up, our breathing becomes shallower, our chest tightens. Have you felt that before?
Great, here’s what to do…
We’re going to control our breathing and override that fight/flight/freeze system.
I tell you what, I wish I’d known this when I was a newly diagnosed 22-year-old, it would have saved so much time!
Here we go, are you ready? Breathe in for 5 seconds. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Pause. Then breathe out for 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Repeat as necessary until you’ve calmed down.
Check out our other anxiety techniques on our site.
Let me know in the comments if you found it helped or if you learned something new about anxiety.