Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why do I feel anxious for no reason?” Well, maybe it’s not for no reason. Firstly, it’s important not to make assumptions or invalidate the state of our mental health. And secondly, not every negative emotion we carry needs a reason that society would deem “normal.” In truth, because we are human with things constantly going on in our heads, some days are simply more challenging than others.
Clinical psychologist, Simay Gökbayrak, says, “Not all things that cause anxiety have to be obvious or observable in your daily life.” The important thing is that you eventually acknowledge, validate how you feel, and tend to yourself. When we feel as though we shouldn’t feel a certain way, we often engage in emotional suppression. But when we suppress, the experience of the emotion may increase rather than decrease. It’s true that acknowledging anxiety might feel exhausting, but in the long run, it will lead to better outcomes.
Acknowledge your anxiety
Acknowledgment simply means to recognize the importance of something. However, processing something means that you’re engaging something, thinking, and talking about it. Processing is best done with the support of a mental health professional.
In regards to acknowledging your anxiety, you provide yourself with motivation to engage in self-care and ways to calm yourself down.
One thing you can always do is breathe. “To soothe your anxiety, try placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, paying attention to when each expands as you breathe in and out,” suggests Natasha Bryant, LCSW.
You can also try pursed-lip breathing. According to the American Lung Association, “This exercise reduces the number of breaths you take and keeps your airways open longer. More air is able to flow in and out of your lungs so you can be more physically active. To practice it, simply breathe in through your nose and breathe out at least twice as long through your mouth, with pursed lips.
Grounding is a self-soothing skill to use when you are having a bad day or dealing with stress, overwhelming feelings, or anxiety. Grounding is a technique that keeps you in the present and prevents spiraling.
Licensed psychologist, Kendra Kubala, says, “You can activate your senses to help ground yourself. For example, think of or smell a fragrance that appeals to you. This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, citrusy, and so on).
- 5 things you hear
- 4 things you see
- 3 things you can touch from where you’re sitting
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
If you would like to do a grounding method rooted in positive feelings, you can also think of 3 things you find beautiful or good about yourself, 2 things you find beautiful in nature, and 1 way you can add beauty or comfort to your week.
There are beautiful things about you, and you do deserve comfort. Overall, anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. These methods are a few tools you can use to calm yourself, and seeing a mental professional can help get to the root cause and promote progress.
“How Therapy Works: What It Means to ‘Process an Issue.’”Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-therapy/201801/how-therapy-works-what-it-means-process-issue#:~:text=%E2%80%9CProcessing%E2%80%9D%20in%20this%20context%20often,understand%20the%20past%20and%20present. Accessed 6 Nov. 2023.
Written by Kerri Hardy