How many times have you heard “just breathe” or “it will all be ok” when you are experiencing a panic attack or elevated level of anxiety? While it is nice to hear these ideas, it can also be frustrating because we know this. We know we should just breathe or tell ourselves it will all be ok, but that is not the problem.

The problem is not that we don’t know this, the problem is in how our brain processes the current situation. In these moments we may be feeling out of control or unsafe. So, we tend to move into fight or flight mode and our anxiety continues to increase.

Also, in these moments our brain and body are typically not in alignment with one another. So, how to we help our brain process what we are experiencing as it is and keep our brain and body aligned? Through coping skills, such as grounding.

As mentioned in previous blogs, anxiety is all about control. The ides behind grounding is it can help us stay present in the moment and be in control of our current situation. Also, what is great about grounding is you can use it anywhere! If you are in public, people won’t even notice what you are doing.

Grounding involves using the five senses. The next time you begin to feel out of control and your anxiety increase, try this:

  1. Stop wherever you are (If you are driving, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road)
  2. Look around
  3. Silently or aloud name five things you can see
  4. Name four things you can touch
  5. Name three things you can hear
  6. Name two things you can smell
  7. Name one thing you can taste

Again, the idea is to keep you present and in the moment. I do like to add deep breathing while completing the grounding technique. To do this, you will take a deep breathe in through your nose, hold for a short-time, and breathe out through your mouth while going through the five senses.

If you would like to learn more about grounding or other coping skills for anxiety, please contact me. I can help you find the techniques that best work for you.

Do you ever feel your anxiety increase during the holidays? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. While the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, for many it brings higher levels of anxiety.

Why is this you might ask? Anxiety is all about control. When we feel out of control, anxiety begins to increase. Where will I spend the holidays? What should I wear to the party? Will people like me? Where will I be sleeping? Will our family get along this year? Will people like the gifts I get them? What if I can’t leave when I want to? Do any of these thoughts or type of thoughts sound familiar?

It is normal to worry much of the time when living with anxiety. We worry because we do not have control over the outcome of such events. Most of the time our perceived outcome of an event is very much out of proportion with what will actually happen. So how do I stop my constant worry from always reaching worst-case scenario?

Well, the first step is to acknowledge what is happening. You might be wondering if this is how everyone thinks? The answer to that is no. People without anxiety don’t get caught up in the never-ending loop of worry. The reason for this is because their brains process these thoughts naturally. While those who live with anxiety have to do this process “manually”. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your brain. It is just different, and you will just have to learn how to move these thoughts through a process.

First is to acknowledge it. Second, ask yourself “what do I have control over right now?” The answer to this question is you only have control over you. Instead of trying to control the outcome of an event, the goal is to be able to control the anxiety so you are able to handle the event. Finally, learn what coping skills work for you. For example, deep breathing is something you can do wherever you are. Take a breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold for a count of four, and breathe out through your mouth for a count of four. Do this for a minimum of ten times. Find a positive affirmation that works for you, such as “I can handle this”, to repeat to yourself while you breathe.

You may be saying to yourself, “this sounds really nice, but it’s just not that easy.” You are right, it’s not easy, it takes work. There is no cure for anxiety, but you can learn how to manage your anxiety and live a happy and fulfilling life through anxiety treatment at Counseling Services of Parker. You can learn how to control your anxiety instead of allowing your anxiety control you.

I can help you understand where your anxiety comes from, learn what your triggers are, and how to manage your anxiety. To set up a time please fill out the form on my website or call me @ 720-507-1907.

The-Benefits-of-Coloring-Books-for-Adults The Benefits of Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring is traditionally thought of as something that children do to pass time, but the therapeutic benefits for adults have recently become more and more obvious. Over the last few years, adults have started using coloring as a method of stress relief. Coloring offers a creative way to be mindful, and research shows that coloring affects the brain the same way meditation does. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to unwind at the end of a long day, or are looking for a therapeutic tool to help you, coloring books are a great option. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from adult coloring books.

Fights Stress

Believe it or not, the benefits of coloring for adults has been studied for decades, starting with Carl Jung, one of the founders of modern psychology. In the early 20th century, Jung studied the effects of coloring Mandalas on his patients. He found that this was a good calming tool that reduced their stress, and used coloring regularly in his practice.

Activates the Whole Cerebral Hemisphere

We hear a lot about the right and left brains, and how an activity uses one of the other. Coloring actually uses both sides of the brain, meaning it involves both logic and creativity skills. Picking a certain color for a pattern or shape involves your right, or analytical, side of the brain. In addition, mixing and matching colors engage the left, or creative, side of the brain. When you color, you are engaging your entire mind.

Brings You Back to Childhood

Coloring is also therapeutic for adults because it brings them back to a simpler time in their lives. As a child, you (hopefully) faced less stress and had fewer concerns, so being beckoned back by performing an activity you did often in your youth can make you feel more relaxed and happy. It may even help you feel more enthusiastic and optimistic for the future.

Acts like Meditation

As stated above, coloring activates the same parts of the brain as meditation. Meditation is an effective stress relief tool because it keeps you in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future or reflecting on regrets of the past, you are completely and fully present. However, many people find it difficult to meditate, as you are essentially just sitting and doing nothing. Coloring provides a happy alternative because you can reach the same meditative state while still doing something. The act of coloring in patterns and shapes is simply relaxing, and gives you something to do while you “zone out.”

Helps with Anxiety

Anxiety is an umbrella term for a type of mental health disorder that is extremely common. Anxiety disorders can cause a variety of troubling symptoms, including excessive worry, body pain, obsessive thoughts, and insomnia. People with anxiety often rely on a variety of tools to help soothe themselves, and coloring offers a relaxing and simple one. Both the meditative and creative properties of coloring help patients and works in conjunction with therapies already in place. Research shows that coloring before conventional therapy appointments can help people with a variety of mental disorders, including anxiety, to benefit more from their treatment.

Aids Self-Discovery

As adults, we often lose the curiosity about ourselves we had in our youth. We are so busy managing our professional and personal lives, we rarely stop to reflect on ourselves and listen to what our thoughts have to say about who we are. It’s easy for our identity to get lost in our modern world full of distraction. Fortunately, you don’t have to go on an epic international journey or quit your job and start over as a street performer to learn more about yourself. Something as simple as coloring at the end of the day gives you some time to be with your thoughts and reflect on yourself. Many people who start coloring find that they are able to discover more about themselves than they anticipated.

Helps Your Physical Health, Too

The mental benefits of coloring are obvious, but even people with physical health issues can benefit from coloring. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that people with epilepsy can use coloring to help with stress relief, reducing their chances of seizures. Stress can have a major impact on a variety of health concerns, from epilepsy to heart disease to Lupus. The stress-reduction properties of coloring can be beneficial for your health in many different ways.

At Counseling Services of Parker, we have coloring books on hand to help our patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for anxiety treatment in Parker.