4 Subtle Exercises to Calm Anxiety in Public

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult your life can feel most days.

When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become a sort of funhouse, only not that much fun. It’s important to be able to self-soothe in these instances. But how can you calm an anxiety attack subtly when you’re out in public?

 

Breath Work

As soon as you feel the anxiety coming on, focus intently on your breathing and nothing else. Begin to take slow… deep breaths. Inhale for a slow count of three… hold for a count of three… and exhale for a count of three. Slow deep breaths send a signal to our body that we are not under attack and everything is okay.

 

Talk to Yourself

In your mind, remind yourself that you are having an experience but that you are NOT that experience. While you feel that something is wrong, remind yourself that you are actually safe and all is well.

 

Visualize

Think of something that calms you. This may be your childhood bedroom or your grandparent’s home. It could be your favorite beach or your own bathtub. Simply put yourself IN that space. Use your full imagination to feel yourself there and allow the calm to settle over you.

 

Practice Listening Meditation

If you’ve never tried listening meditation, I highly recommend it for everyone. But it can be especially beneficial when you are feeling anxious, and here’s why. Listening requires you to stop thinking. Try it now. Stop reading and instead listen to all of the ambient sounds there in the room with you, outside the door and window.

What do you hear?

Let your sense of hearing grow and grow, picking up more subtle sounds. The buzz of the lights overhead… the noise of the ice maker… a bee at the window… your dog’s collar down the hall…

It’s actually a very fun exercise to do. And in order to REALLY GIVE SOUND YOUR FULL ATTENTION, you can’t think while listening. It’s a bit like trying to juggle while standing on your hands, it simply cannot be done.

Much of our anxiety comes from our anxious thoughts. It’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us alive by alerting us to all of the dangers around us. But when we meditate, this mind chatter goes away.

 

When an anxiety attack comes on, life can feel unbearable. The next time this happens to you in public, try one or more of these techniques.

And if you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, please get in touch. I’d be happy to explore treatment options.

Why Every Man Should See a Therapist

While women are often the ones who seek therapy, typically making up nearly two-thirds of therapy patients, multiple studies have shown that men benefit more from the process. But men rarely seek therapy because they just don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings.

Therapy, then, isn’t a very naturally masculine process. But I want to encourage men to push past their discomfort and seek therapy anyway because it can really help in so many areas of their life.

Here are some of the reasons why every man should see a therapist:

Men Often Struggle with Their Identity

Many men today struggle with what it means to be a man. Decades ago, the definition was more clearly defined, but nowadays a man can get completely lost. Should they be masculine or is masculinity somehow toxic? Should they show their emotions or not? Should they protect women or is that somehow belittling women?

It is entirely confusing for men, and many have had to grow up without a father figure in the home, or fathers who were there but emotionally absent. And so men look to media and advertising to find clues about who they should be, and this can be incredibly damaging.

Therapy can be a space where men can learn to define themselves on their own terms.

Gain Understanding and Tools for Your Relationships

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? That’s putting it mildly!

In their day-to-day interactions, men tend to live on a logical plane of existence whereas women live on an emotional one. No one plane of existence is right and no one is wrong, it is simply how the two sexes are wired.

But, since men tend to struggle to express their feelings and express themselves in a way their female partner can relate to, the relationship can take a hit and the two can grow apart.

Therapy can help men safely explore their own feelings and learn how to relate to women in a language women understand.

Become the Best Version of You

Seeing a therapist doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with you. Often therapy can be a way to explore who you are, what you want, and how to reach your goals. In other words, therapy can be a means by which you become the best version of yourself. If you hit the gym x times per week to get into the best physical shape of your life, why not hit the therapist’s office each week to get into the best mental and emotional shape of your life and be a total package?

Get Help for Substance Abuse

Studies have shown that men are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and depression in their life. Therapy can show you how to cope without the need for these substances.

Lower Your Suicide Risk

There has been a disturbing rise in instances of suicide among older American men. This is most likely a result of men not believing they have the right to seek help. When you’ve got to be the strong one all the time and fix other people’s problems, seeking outside help simply is not an option.

But it IS an option. Men need to get help with their issues so they don’t turn to suicide.

Help with Fatherhood

As I mentioned earlier, many men grew up without proper role models. They then find themselves a father, unable to cope with the challenges and responsibilities. Therapy allows men to discover who they want to be for their children and come up with a game plan to develop this side of themselves.

If you are a man struggling with these issues or any others and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

 

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