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How to cope with unexpected anxiety

We've all been there. It's a normal day, everything's going fine, and then suddenly boom anxiety hits out of nowhere.  completely out of the blue. It's like a surprise party you didn't really ask for but you're forced to attend and you have no idea what is actually troubling you. But don't worry, I've got your back. Let's talk about how to cope when anxiety decides to make a surprise appearance and you are in the grips of an anxiety spiral and don't know what to do. 

1. Recognize that it is anxiety and not a real problem

First things first, let's recognize anxiety for what it is an unwelcome guest that has arrived just as you are about to have dinner and you don't have enough food to go around. When it hits out of nowhere, it can feel like lightning has hit you and you are paralysed with fear.  You might experience rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, or feel a sense of impending doom. you might be wraking your brain to what is the problem where is this fear coming from? What am I missing? It has to be for a reason right? Wrong anxiety can be for no reason at all. Remember, That these symptoms are temporary and they will pass. Acknowledging this can help take the edge off. You can say out loud this will pass. This is temporary. I do. 

2. Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques are a lifesaver when anxiety hits you. One popular method is the "5-4-3-2-1" technique. Identify five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. This exercise helps bring your focus back to your surroundings and away from anxiety.

I like to do the finger-touching technique. Where I tap my fingers off my thumb and count. This puts me back in the moment. 

3. Breathing Exercises

When anxiety hits, our breath often becomes quick and shallow. this can make it even worse.  By deliberately changing your breathing pattern, you can help your body calm down and relax. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle until you feel calmer. Concentrating on breathing can really bring you back to the moment. 

4. Reach Out

Sometimes, talking to someone you trust can help to be the best coping mechanism.  This doesn't necessarily mean you have to talk about your anxiety. Just the act of chatting about everyday things can be enough to distract you and help you feel more grounded. Remember, it's okay to ask for support when you need it. It is not a weakness to say you are struggling it is a strength. 

5. Self-Care

In moments of sudden anxiety, self-care becomes more important than ever.  You are important. Do something that brings you joy or comfort. From making a cup of tea to listening to your favourite music, going for a gentle walk or watching TikTok. Taking care of your needs can help your body to settle and your mind to refocus. Do something for you. 

6. Write It Out

Try writing down your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or blog. It doesn't have to be coherent or structured.  just get all though thoughts out. The act of writing itself can help to organize your thoughts and provide a healthy outlet for your feelings.

I write down what is worrying me in the moment then I think and what would I tell my friend if they said this to me. This really helps. 

7. Seek Professional Help
If surprise anxiety attacks become frequent or particularly distressing, please speak to a mental health professional. Therapists and counsellors are trained to help you develop coping strategies tailored to your unique situation and will help you. No matter what you're going through, from medical conditions like ED (which you can find help for from an ED Clinic Huntsville or a similar clinic in your local area) to mental issues like low self-esteem or depression, you'll be able to find a professional specialising in this area that can work with you to overcome your trigger

8. Animal therapy

I am a great believer in animals as a way to help with anxiety. My own dog is wonderful at sensing when my anxiety is peaking and will come and sit on my knee. Just her doing this comforts me. If I am really struggling one day I will turn the day around but making it about her. She needs walking feeding playing. She looks after me by letting me look after her. 

Remember, it's okay to feel anxious. It's a natural, even if it's an uninvited one. The next time anxiety decides to crash your party, remember these strategies. You're stronger than your anxiety, and each time you face it head-on, you're building resilience.

And always remember, it's okay to ask for help. You're not alone in this. There are people who care about you and professionals who can support you. 
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