Take Anxiety Out of the Driver’s Seat

anxiety disorder symptoms

Take back the driver’s seat.  This is your one life.
Navigate yourself toward the free expression of
your gifts, talents and purpose.

Do you think yourself into a fretful state more than others seem to?  Do you worry and become almost paralyzed at the thought of making a wrong decision or a mistake?  Do you feel on-edge?  Do you worry about how others see you? Do you tend to focus on potential risks and negative predictions?  Does your life seem to be shrinking? Is fear controlling you?

Does the thought of the future produce knots in your stomach?  Do you feel as though you are crawling out of your skin? Does your heart race and your breathing seem shallow and rapid?  Are you plagued with headaches, stomachaches, GI symptoms, tight muscles?

ANXIETY can cause all these things.

What is happening to me when I get anxious?

 When an event triggers anxiety or worry, the body gets ready to confront danger. The heart rate increases, the breath becomes shallow and rapid.  Therefore, one feels weak and shaky.  These sensations are caused by a sudden release of adrenaline and are harmless.  If the reaction to the trigger is interrupted, the body is able to come back to baseline in a matter of 2-3 minutes.  Panic continues longer if the triggers are repetitive.  Using effective tools can help dissolve the panicky feeling in minutes.

What will help?

How can I stop a Panic Attack and prevent retriggering it?

 Many tools are quite simple.  The first step is self-soothing, which can replace panic with calm and self-control.  All relaxation begins with breathing.  It is impossible to tighten abdominal muscles, a common symptom of anxiety, and deep breathe at the same time. Breathing techniques interrupt the panic sequence and allow one to find a pause button.  Then it is easier to identify the situational triggers, resulting emotions and choose a more helpful response.

Try it:  Pause right now.  Close your eyes and imagine a soothing image or fix your eyes on something around you.  Now take 3 very slow, deep breaths.  When you breathe out imagine releasing tension in your neck…shoulders…stomach.  When you breathe in, imagine drawing in comfort and calm.  To better hold your attention, count as you breathe:  In – 2 – 3 – 4.  Out – 2 – 3 – 4. “               In – 2 – 3 – 4.  Out – 2 – 3 – 4. “ 

  In – 2 – 3 – 4.  Out – 2 – 3 – 4. “

 Perhaps even this brief moment of deep breathing offered a small improvement to the moment.  Imagine what a little more time devoted to relaxation breathing could do for you.

Self-Soothing begins with mindful breathing, and then incorporates other skills that ultimately restore calm and confidence in one’s ability to manage thoughts and feelings effectively.  When practiced consistently and mastered, new habits become more natural and automatic when stress is high.

How can I learn to manage anxiety day to day?

I want to function at my best and enjoy my life.


Self-Observation and Awareness are keys in determining the most appropriate directions of growth and methods of intervention.  Some anxiety is biologically based; some is developed in response to stress, overwhelming life events, or trauma.  Discovery of the root cause indicates the best path toward change.

Hypnosis is an excellent choice of treatment for anxiety because it can help to quiet and redirect the exhausting inner dialogue, and tools for the management of reactive emotions can be deeply internalized, becoming almost reflexive with practice.

Hypnosis utilizes the power of the mind to produce change.  Walking, putting one foot in front of the other without concentration, and speaking, without focusing on the pronunciation of familiar words, is an unconscious habit.  Hypnosis utilizes the unconscious mind to turn new skills for the management of anxiety into habits that more naturally control anxious reactivity.

Limited Thinking Pattern Identification and Change.  Some patterns of thought trigger and maintain anxiety.  For example, when one concludes a valued person is upset, critical or rejecting, it elicits feelings of hurt and shame, or anger and blame. Asking oneself, Is that an assumption based on fact or is it prompted because sensitivity has been exposed?  Is there evidence?  Is there any other possible way to view the experience?  Is the conclusion true or is it the result of mind reading or personalization? Echoes of past, painful experience, perhaps?  Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is useful in learning to distinguish between an objective perspective and a limited thinking pattern.  Making that distinction permits one to pause and consider a more balanced perspective in lieu of impulsively reacting.

Insight-Oriented Therapy focuses on understanding.   Understanding the origins of burdensome patterns can bring clarity that allows separation of the past from the present, and truth from distortion.  For example, self-awareness and insight can open one up to consider that perhaps it is not necessary to be perfect to be wonderful, that shame does not have to be a constant companion, that all of us are intrinsically valuable and worthy of love and belonging.  Walking through life with undercurrents of unresolved conflict lends itself to complicated relationships, a lack of personal confidence, and acute anxiety.

We do not decide “if” stress will enter our lives, but we do decide how we will respond to it.  Just as a pearl is the oyster’s response to pain, something beautiful can emerge through the transformation of our anxious challenges.