Applying the Brakes
Here are some specific steps to “apply the brakes” and remain in the present when you feel anxiety is overwhelming you.
- State out loud or to yourself what you are aware of in the moment. For example: my heart is racing, my chest is tight, or my hands are getting wet. Also be aware of the words you keep saying to yourself (self-talk).
- In this moment be aware of whether you are in the past or in the present? Are you responding as if you are in the past vs. the present? State the awareness out loud or to yourself.
- If you are in the past, make a mental distinction between the past and present. Start by stating the most obvious, I am in my living room., etc. Is my mind and body responding as if I am in the past? Am I in the trauma of the past? How is this present moment similar to the past trauma? How is this present moment different from the past? What can you say to yourself to give yourself a message of self-soothing in this moment?
Journalling your feelings and experiences can be a very helpful practice. Stay tuned for some healing journal activities....