SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
This blog post builds upon my first blog post. It is not necessary to read it, but it may give more context to the comments below.
When I first started experiencing anxiety attacks, I didn’t know what they were. That was scary. In addition, I couldn’t begin to manage them or even know that I could. But trust me, they were scary: When I felt one coming on, I would start breathing faster, my hands would become sweaty, my legs would go numb, my mind would race with thoughts of hopelessness. Then, right when I would think it couldn’t get worse, my body would shake uncontrollably.
Anxiety and panic attacks are waves of extreme emotions that envelope your entire mind and body. It’s as if the floor gives way and you start floating aimlessly in all directions without being able to grab any footing. It’s an earthquake that separates your mind from your body and nerves cannot be controlled.
So much fear has come from these attacks that I developed agoraphobia (unable to leave my house) and PTSD symptoms. People that experience anxiety and panic often have a heightened sense of their emotions, everything is on the surface, and any emotion could be triggered at any time. I’ve had to train myself with skills to remain calm or tune-out situations to maintain a calm state.
Over the next few blogs, I will be sharing my personal tips on how to maintain calm in your everyday life. I will begin by ending this blog with one of the most helpful strategies: breathing. Breathing exercises are great for mild anxiety that you might experience in public speaking situations or with full-blown panic attacks. So, here’s what you need to know, with tips from Sheryl Ankrom, of whom is a licensed clinical professional counselor and nationally certified clinical mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She has many years of experience in researching and treating panic disorder and agoraphobia.
Knowing how to properly breathe can help you calm down from an anxious episode. Whenever I felt anxiety coming on, my mother would tell me to lay down, she would turn the lights down, sometimes light candles, and tell me to close my eyes and focus on my breathing. She would try to distract me from the storm brewing inside myself by speaking softly and putting my focus on her words. So, I recommend that you “set the stage” for relaxation by keeping yourself with a place to escape in your home and to practice deep breathing.
Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety
by Sheryl Ankrom
In my next blog, I will share additional tips to assist you with managing social anxiety.
Randi is a non-traditional student that has decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery while at SIU. She majors in PR and Minors in Journalism while focusing on overcoming her greatest fears. She hopes to become a communicative force in the professional world. She happily uses her many years of experience to help others with similar afflictions while attending college.
If anyone has questions, or simply wants to talk about their own battles with anxiety, depression, and all that falls under that umbrella, please contact her here: randi.burns[at]siu.edu