Few things feel more demoralizing than thinking that you have something beat and then it resurfaces. Our Tampa anxiety counselors see this from time to time.
Unfortunately, this seems to be a common experience lately, especially in terms of dealing with the pandemic and the different surges that are happening. We think that we can “go back to normal,” and then another wave comes and reminds us again that it’s not over.
If you feel like you’ve had a handle on your anxiety and it’s getting kicked back up again, well, it makes sense, especially in a pandemic. The external circumstances keep changing, and it’s enough to make anyone feel nervous and unsafe.
Anxiety continues to ebb and flow, and I’m seeing it as a Tampa anxiety counselor. Here are some tips to use when you feel it growing stronger.
Do What You Know
If you’re noticing anxiety’s return…then it stands to reason that you’ve used some helpful tools to get it under control in the past. Return to those. Here are some ideas:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Box Breathing (Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and hold for 4 counts)
- Mindfully notice the anxiety (I’m feeling anxious right now, my stomach feels fluttery, my palms are sweaty, etc.)
- Do a grounding exercise using your senses
- Use a burst of cardio exercise to help move some of the energy out (i.e., quick series of jumping jacks, pushups, shadowboxing)
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Pay attention to your thoughts and the stories you are telling yourself about your anxiety. Are you dealing with all-or-nothing thinking? Are you mind-reading or fortune telling? Jumping to conclusions without the evidence? Often, we can change how we feel by challenging our thought process. A Tampa anxiety counselor can help you identify and reframe your thoughts to something that’s more accurate and helpful.
Although you may be disappointed that you’re feeling this way again, try to show yourself compassion. How would you speak to a friend that had a rebirth of their anxiety? Would you consider them a failure or assume they did something “wrong” to bring it back? Can you show yourself the same kindness that you would show to your friend?
Remember you’ve done it before
Remembering your past victories with anxiety can be helpful, as it can keep you out of feelings of hopelessness. If you can recall that you’ve already done this once, and you know what to do, and this won’t last forever, then it could lessen the frustration or fear that you feel as you’re confronted with it now.
It can be upsetting to be faced with a resurgence of anxiety when you’ve worked so hard to get it under control before. Working with a Tampa anxiety counselor may help you identify the places that could use some extra bolstering or even see if there’s a new trigger that wasn’t present before. If you feel like you could use some extra support, we’d love to help. Reach out today.