During moments of crisis, it may seem like there is not any room to breath. Often we have so many choices to make with no time to rationally think through them. There are techniques to combat this anxiety in the moment that anyone can use. These techniques may help you in a moment in crisis or just when you have a spike in your anxiety level.
1. Remember: Everything is Temporary
During times of pain or uneasiness, it is easy to forget this very simple concept. We often feel angst when we forget that any situation is not forever. Remembering this in a moment of crisis can give you the peace of mind that you need to breath and make correct choices that you won’t second guess later. Knowing that everything is temporary helps to not hold onto emotions or negative emotions towards others. I often do a negative emotions inventory to see where I can forgive and where I still have work to do. Unfortunately, this is a technique, not a magic wand. However, if you put in the work and this becomes a part of your everyday practice, you will start to notice that this thought kicks in anytime you are feeling trapped or stuck in a situation.
What is something. that is cheaper than therapy and we carry around with us all the time? Our breath. It is easy to forget that breathing controls our heart rate. During moments of tension and pain, our breath rate goes up our heart rate goes up as well. There is never a situation that you can’t take a moment to breath to gather your thoughts and control you bodies’ hormonal response to your emotions. When I am upset, I eat. I eat everything in sight. When I became present to this, I started breathing instead of eating. Taking as little as two minutes every time I start to feel anxiety has helped my confidence, my emotional intelligence and kept my blood pressure down. For example, you are in a fight with your child. You notice that you are just screaming at each other. There is nothing wrong with stopping that screaming match and taking a break to breathe. This goes with coworkers, friends and other family members. Never be ashamed for need to take space and time.
3. In That Moment, Think Positive Thoughts
We have all had that boss or coworker that will take us immediately to a negative place. While the responsibility of our emotions and the way we feel about people is ultimately up to us, we need to have the strength to take ourselves out of the situation and into a positive space. I find myself doing this when expats are complaining about the way Indians work, crowd grocery lines and their systems of work processing. I have to tune it out. It happens every time you get a group of expats together with a glass of wine. I start thinking about my trips to Sri Lanka or the time that I took the train to Paris for a day to go to the Louve and see the Mona Lisa. It helps me stay in a positive space while everyone else is spewing negativity. We can often become consumed in the negativity. Then, we start to take on those emotions. Staying present in body but protecting your positivity by thinking about things that make you happy will save your mind.
We have all had those moments where we are so close to losing our shit. These three things are simple on their face but extremely hard to practice in the moment. I have been practicing for about two years now and still run into situations that don’t go textbook perfect. There will always be someone or something that bothers us as none of us live high in the Himalayan Mountains with little to desire and an abundance of silence to reflect and meditate in. Until then, we have so much at our disposal to help in these situations. Using these things will spare your mental heath even if it for the moment.