Calming Down When You’re Anxious: A guide

Calming Down When You’re Anxious: A guide

Clients often ask us what to do when they’re feeling a panic attack coming on or they’re just generally feeling anxious. Here are some ideas to start with to help ground yourself into the present and get yourself calm.

  1. Take deep breaths – sit up straight and breathe in for 3 counts and out for 4 counts. Repeat several times.
  2. Remind yourself: I’m going to be okay. Nobody has ever died from a panic attack. I will get through this.
  3. Keep taking deep breaths.
  4. Engage your senses
    • See – What do you see? Point out the colors you see in your room. Name everything you see that’s blue.
    • Hear – What do you hear? Can you hear cars going by? Neighbors talking?
    • Smell – Can you smell your shampoo? A candle in the room?
    • Taste – Chew some gum or eat a hard candy and notice the taste. Make a cup of coffee or tea and notice its distinct taste.
    • Feel – Feel a pillow, the fabric of your clothes, pet your dog
  5. Keep taking deep breaths.
  6. Engage with another human – call/text a friend. Let them know how you’re feeling. Ask them to simply be there for you.
  7. Keep taking deep breaths.
  8. If you’re feeling strong enough, move your body. Walk around the room, your home, or your neighborhood. Do some stretches or yoga poses. Remind yourself that engaging your body will engage your mind. Keep breathing.
  9. Keep taking deep breaths.

Your body and mind are connected. One can’t be anxious while the other is calm.

When your mind is anxious, calm your body down and your mind will follow!

What is trauma anyway?

What is trauma anyway?

Deep breath. There’s a lot here.

Trauma is a lot of things. There’s emotional trauma,
physical trauma, sexual trauma, spiritual trauma, psychological trauma. There’s
traumatic grief. There’s complex trauma. And more. SO. MUCH. TRAUMA.

But what exactly is it?

Well, it’s unwanted, uninvited. It doesn’t ask for consent.
It plows through our lives. It puts us in a position of having to deal with it
even though we didn’t sign up for it. It rears its ugly head, wreaks minor to
major havoc, and exits (sometimes), leaving you left to put yourself back
together. Sometimes a few parts are chipped off and easily glued back together.
Other times you become a jigsaw puzzle of parts strewn over miles that takes
years to reconfigure.

Trauma often leaves us feeling helpless. It often impacts
our sense of identity. We wonder what it means about us that it happened. We
wonder how things would have been if it hadn’t. It can make us feel crazy.

Sometimes we get tripped up because we compare traumas. It’s
tempting, I know. Is mine as bad as
others? Is mine worse?
Some people vacillate on minimizing their own trauma
to then minimizing others’ traumas in order to validate their own. We live in a
current political climate that is both validating of and at times glamorizing
of trauma (yes, this is a controversial statement – to be addressed later!)
It’s complicated and nuanced and leaves many people wondering what to make of
their own experiences.

Here’s what’s important: Your reaction to the event or
events. Your feelings are valid. Does it matter if what happened to you was
“worse” or “not as bad” as what others have experienced? If you’re noticing
that it does matter to you, talk with your therapist about what this means for
you. What you think matters and can be a part of your recovery journey.

Our encouragement to you: Notice yourself. Notice how you
feel. Notice what happens in your body when something reminds you of what
happened. Notice your thoughts.

Gather data on yourself. Be a scientist with yourself as
your subject. Pretend you are an outside observer taking notes on your own
experiences. “Hmm, she’s becoming tearful.” “Well, he started tapping his foot
rapidly when talking with so-and-so, he must be feeling anxious.” Take notes on

Does your heart start beating rapidly? Do you go numb? Do
you get a sinking feeling in your stomach? Do you notice anger rising up? Is it
hard to speak? Does grief wash over you? Let yourself notice these things.

The signals our bodies and emotions give us mean something.
They’re important. They’re often telling us something we may not consciously
know. Listen to them. Maybe they haven’t been listened to before? Many people
who have been through trauma have already been invalidated, ignored, minimized.
Don’t do this to yourself. Honor yourself by noticing what your body is telling
you and taking it seriously. Sometimes we treat ourselves like the offending
person or people treated us – we ignore our own feelings, we minimize our own
stories. If you’re doing this to yourself, take note of this and shift your
focus to lending a self-compassionate ear toward your own pain and suffering.
Learn how to be the person to yourself that you needed when you were going
through your trauma. Care for yourself.

The good news: you can heal from trauma! Regardless of the nature
of your trauma or traumas, healing is possible. It may take a minute. It may
feel scary, vulnerable, and overwhelming. If you seek healing through therapy,
it can take a bit to learn to trust your counselor. Listen to your gut. Do you
think they get you? Do you feel like they care? Do they seem to want to
understand you? When you’re in a safe therapeutic relationship or setting (this
doesn’t have to be therapy – it could be a number of settings!), let yourself
open up. Say the things. Feel the feels. Connect with yourself and with others.
Healing will come. You will be amazed. You will take back your power as you
take back your life!

Are you looking to start therapy in Dallas for childhood trauma? Check out our childhood trauma counseling page and see if one of our therapist might be a good fit for you!

Welcome to Dallas Therapy Collective!

Welcome to Dallas Therapy Collective!

We want to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find articles on various topics that are important in our practice. Some serious, some silly, some informative, some practical, and some just food-for-thought.

Our goal is to be helpful while offering you a flavor of how we think about things and how we work.

Our dream came true when we opened our practice in 2018 after several years of planning, plotting, and goal-setting. We carefully chose our location in North Dallas for the convenience and accessibility to our clients. We are located right off 75 and Walnut Hill and easily accessible via the DART rail. Our building is inviting from the time you walk inside. It overlooks a lake, where you can sit outside before or after sessions to think and re-group. Our suite has been decorated in such a way as to communicate our values for hospitality, comfort, and connection.

We are so excited to have a wonderful team of therapists working at Dallas Therapy Collective who share our mission and values. Throughout the fabric of our practice, you’ll notice our value for multiculturalism as well as our emphasis on trauma-informed care. We work in such a way as to honor our clients’ cultural identities and their intersections while encouraging empowerment and healing through both connection and autonomy.

Feel free to poke around and see if we might be a good fit for you!

Kathryn and Justine