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What is anxiety?

If you were to see a tiger in the wild, you would experience     anxiety's protective feature: the fight, flight, or freeze response. This built-in danger monitor prepares your body to fight the tiger, run away from the tiger, or stay very still. But most of the time, when anxiety shows up, we aren't in any real danger. Many of us will never be face to face with a wild tiger. 

 

Instead, we might feel anxiety on our first day of school or when we think about our loved one's health. Although it's normal to feel anxiety sometimes, we don't want anxiety to keep us from feeling our best. Just like Kaiah, YOU have a superpower inside you - your breath and tools to calm yourself down. Try the grounding skills below and see which ones work for you. 

What does anxiety feel like? 

Anxiety causes physical sensations in the body. For some of us, anxiety might show up as a stomach ache or a headache. For others, it might be a fast heartbeat, sweaty palms, or sore muscles. Sometimes anxiety even makes it hard to sit still.

 

Next time you have anxious or worried thoughts, try to notice where in your body you feel anxiety. Then, use your grounding skills and notice what happens to the sensations. 

Faint Glow

Safety Scan

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Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by sensations and thoughts. In those moments, it can be difficult to remember that we aren't in any real danger. But when we pause and notice our environment, we remind ourselves  that we are safe.

 

Practice

 

1. Slowly look around you and notice anything that makes you feel calm or safe. You might notice a soft texture, a smiling face, or your favorite color.

 

2. Focus on the items that make you feel calm and say to yourself, "I am safe."

Breathing 

Focusing on the inhale and exhale of our breath, can help us calm our bodies and thoughts.

Practice

 

1. Sit or stand and hold your hands out in front of you, as if you are holding a beautiful rose.

 

2. Imagine you are smelling a fragrant rose as you breathe in deeply through your nose.

 

3. Now, pretend you are making a wish and blowing all the seeds out of a dandelion. As you exhale, blow all the air out through your mouth. Repeat until you feel grounded. 

Blowing on a Daffodil

A-B-C Around the Room

Laying on Grass

Another way to ground ourselves is by paying close attention to what is happening around us.

Practice 

1. Whether you are indoors or outside, look around you.

2. Try to find things that starts with each letter of the alphabet, beginning with "A". For example, if you are outside, you might see an airplane, a bike, and a car.

Mindful Stretching

When we are anxious, our bodies often tense up, leaving us with tight muscles and clenched posture. We can release muscle tension by stretching.

Practice

1. Reach up high to the sky. Then, bend your upper body over to the left, then over to the right.

 

2. Now, reach down and try to touch your toes.

 

As you stretch, focus on the sensations you feel in your body. You might notice more tightness on one side of your body or the tension melting faster.  

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