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Tips: Building Resiliency As You Work Through Anxiety
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, October 2011

If you have been feeling anxious for some time, saving your sanity is about dealing with stress that either comes from or is the cause of anxiety. Either way, your sanity needs to be preserved. Depending on a variety of factors, anxiety can be reduced by therapy, relaxation techniques, meditation, biofeedback, and changes in lifestyle.

Despite the route you choose (or combination of routes) learning how to breathe deeply (from and into your belly, instead of short, shallow breaths in the upper part of your chest) will help to ground you and give you confidence that whatever is disturbing you will be able to be dealt with in a healthy way. Deep breathing, along with a simple, progressive relaxation of your body, can guide you to a feeling of less anxiety and increased well-being. Practice quieting yourself, visualize a positive outcome, and find the spot in your body where you are NOT tight and see that relaxed spot as increasingly spreading to the rest of your body.

Here are some other tips for building resiliency as you work through anxiety:

Get Connected - Reach out to others who care about you. Avoid the urge to retreat and isolate yourself. It is in linking with others that you can find the connection within yourself that you need to be strong.

Use Humor and Laughter - Step away from the situation and find something utterly silly or ridiculous in the circumstance and bask in that feeling, even for a moment.

Remain Hopeful and Optimistic - Believe you will be okay and that you will grow in ways that have yet to be revealed.

Accept and Anticipate Change - Know that there will be change and assure yourself you will be able to handle whatever it is. Keep focused as you celebrate your growing ability to be flexible and open in the face of the unknown.

Quiet Yourself - Dedicate time each day to "taking a vacation from your worrisome thoughts" as you focus on breathing deeply, listening to sounds of silence, and feeling your body, mind, and spirit become calm.

Take Action - Make a plan to change what you can, one step at a time. Remind yourself that you will be fine. You have gone through this before and you have survived. Each time you utilize some of the techniques that you know are helpful, you are empowering yourself.

Release the need to control that which you cannot change.

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