Written By Elaine Chan-Scherer, LCSW
I had the opportunity this week to feel really stressed out. I call it an opportunity because it gives me something of current interest to share with you. Fortunately, I’ve been in enough therapy, done enough therapy, taken enough courses, read enough books...to have some idea of what to do about it. Of course, every body and every psyche responds differently, but I will share my tips with you.
If you feel panicked,
The reason this works is that when you are panicked, your brain is sending signals that you are in danger. Your adrenaline is running and your flight/fight/freeze response is kicked into gear. The blood leaves your limbs to get your heart pumping so you can run. That is why you may perspire, feel your heart pounding, and not be able to think clearly. You want to do things to let your brain know that you are not in immediate danger. Chances are some past trauma is being triggered in you. Trauma memories are different from regular memories – the mind thinks that you are in the midst of real danger again and responds appropriately for the past danger but not for the current situation. You can thank your body for trying to protect you and then give it signals that the danger was in the past and you are actually safe right now. The tapping helps with stimulating both sides of the brain. The hugging and swaddling help to calm down the nervous system. When our bodies are forming, the skin is formed at the same time as the nervous system, so the skin is very sensitive.
If you are feeling anxious,
This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope some of these tips may help you. The reason that psychotherapy is more helpful in reducing stress and anxiety than reading an article is because we are all different and have different things that may be causing the stress. When trying to identify the stressors and while working on specific solutions to address the stressors, it is often nurturing and helpful to have an objective guide.