I understand more than anyone that when you have a panic attack, it’s hard to focus on strategies that you’ve read about or learned in therapy. However, there are times when I have used 3 questions to help me come down from a heightened state of anxiety.
- Will this problem that I’m worried about matter in 1 year from now?
This was a question that a former psychiatrist of mine told me to ask myself. It works for me! So let’s say I’m stressing about a meeting at work. Will this meeting matter a year from now? No. I don’t think it will matter 365 days from now. Sometimes I can keep going with it. Will it matter 6 months from now? Nope. Will it matter 1 week from now? Nope. Will it even matter 24 hours from now? The meeting will be over 24 hours from now! It distracts me from my anxiety, and helps me to feel that I am in control again. Obviously, some things we stress over won’t be resolved in 24 hours, but you get the idea.
- Did I do everything that was in my control?
This helps me especially with bills for some reason. Money really stresses me out! So sometimes I will have an issue with a bill, like everyone does, and it destroys me! I obsess over it until it is resolved. We all know that sometimes that can take weeks! Lately, I’ve been asking myself did I do everything that was in my control? If I made all of the phone calls, sent all of the e-mails, and gave all of the correct documentation, it’s not longer on me. I just have to wait. Unfortunately, waiting and anxiety do not mix very well, but this has helped me to a degree. If my mind starts to wander and I think well, what if the person on the other end doesn’t do their job!? That’s when I go back to number 1. Will this problem that I’m worried about matter in 1 year from now?
- Have I been here before?
I’m not sure who really started this, but this is something that my husband and best friend both ask me when I am having an anxiety attack. Now it’s a question that I ask in my own head. I have hit rock bottom before where I thought I wanted to quit my job, move back home, and not get out of bed ever again. Am I there now? No! That shows you that I made my way back up. So anytime that I feel like my anxiety is the worst it has ever been, I say to myself have I been here before? Most of the time, the answer is yes! So if I’ve been here before, I can absolutely pick myself up again. Then I try to think about the strategies that I’ve used in the past that helped me get out of the current state I am in.
Do they work 100% of the time? No. Nothing is perfect. Will these work for everyone? No. Everyone is different, and everyone has different strategies. They are worth trying though! When I first heard number 1 from my doctor, I didn’t think it would work either, but it does for me! Please let me know what questions help you! I would love to try them!