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Exercises/ Coping Tools

Square Diaphragmatic Breathing

Use when: During a panic attack or before entering a stressful situation. 


1) When you start to feel panicky or feel a fastened heart beat, try to relax your body and stand or sit up tall. You want to breathe from you diaphragm and not from your chest. A good rule of thumb is to place your hand on the top of your belly; when you breathe in you should feel his part of you move up and down, NOT your chest. 

2) Take a nice and slow breath in through your nose and slowly count to 4 while you are inhaling. Remember to place your hand on the top of your belly to control your breathing. I like to breathe in as far as I can, really pushing my limit. 

3) Next, hold this breath in for 4 counts. 

4) Slowly begin to exhale, count slowly to 4. I also like to push myself at this step and really try to blow out any and all air that's left in you. 

5) This is the "relaxation" stage where you resume normal breathing for 4 seconds. 

6) Repeat!


Positive Self-Talk

Use when: During a panic attack or before entering a stressful situation. 

Fighting a panic attack will only make it worse- I repeat, fighting a panic attack will make it worse!! 

Instead, try using one of the phrases below. When you are experiencing an anxiety attack, stop, breathe, and choose a phrase below to say out loud and repeat as many times as you need. 

1) This is just adrenaline. My body is just overly excited. It will pass through me. 

2) I accept and allow this anxious feeling. I accept and allow this anxious thought. 

3) It may feel uncomfortable, but I will let go and ride the wave. My body will take me back to shore."

4) This feels different, but I am not in danger. 

5) My brain and my body are very smart. I can let go and let them do their thing. The body will stabilize.



 Challenging Your Anxiety

Use when: When planning on doing something and second guessing yourself. This is also great to incorporate into your daily routine!

 I challenge you to do one thing out of your comfort zone this week, even if your anxiety is kicking and screaming "no!" at you.

It helps me to give my anxiety a name and imagine my anxiety as a little caricature. Take your anxiety by the hand and imagine yourself dragging it along with you like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Tell it "Okay, if you want to kick and scream go ahead, but I am continuing forward whether you like it or not!".

Below is my caricature of anxiety! 

Lately, I've really been pushing myself to not listen to the annoying anxiety voice inside my head and continue to do something out of my norm. While it may not be the most comfortable in the moment, I leave the situation with more proof that I CAN do whatever I want despite my anxious thoughts and panic attacks. And yes, there have been times where I have not "succeeded" and had a panic attack. However, I know I tried and now I know what to do differently the next time! The most important thing is to always try and get back on the horse. Always get back on the horse.

Remember - you can be scared and still be BRAVE. You do not have to pick one or the other.