Today was snowy here in Suburbia, I had a medical appointment I didn’t want to miss which would normally take me 20 minutes to drive with good weather. Of course as I looked out our window and saw the snow wafting down consistently over the course of the day I was concerned.
Since my car accident in Feb/2010 I have issues with driving, I often avoid driving due to weather or time of day and have been known to have panic attacks even as a passenger. This was one time I couldn’t avoid driving in the snowy conditions. I left the house early after visualizing my route and rest points. When I drive I always identify areas where I can pull over and rest if my anxiety becomes too much and a panic attack threatens.
It’s sad to say that I am this fearful after driving around Ontario daily through all kinds of weather all of my life, but it’s my current situation and I have to get past it.
As I drove out of our small town onto the country roads I quickly realized I was in over my head! There were snowdrifts across the road and white-outs ever 50 feet. I could feel anxiety over-taking me as I white-knuckled the steering wheel and breathed deeply to fight an oncoming panic attack.
I know the people in the vehicles lined up behind me must have been very impressed as I navigated my way down the road going 30km/h in a 60km/h zone but I was doing my best not to lose my mind.
In the end I managed to turn around and was just pulling into my driveway when my doctor texted me telling me we should reschedule due to low visibility and unsafe driving conditions…..oh I seriously love this doctor!
Learning understand anxiety and reduce the chances of having a panic attack isn’t easy but I have some tricks which I use each day that I will share with you all.
5 Strategies I use to reduce my anxiety:
Yawning – helps ease anxiety and can reduce situational anxiety. It can also induce a sense of calm into an intense circumstance and a heightened state of alertness, according to the pros who study these things.
Deep Breathing– When people are anxious we tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest. Shallow breathing causes an imbalance in the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body resulting in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical sensations. By taking deep, even breaths you begin to regulate the oxygen levels in your blood.
Muscle Relaxation – By alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles in my neck, shoulders, arms and face for 20 seconds each we become aware of the physical feeling. Because of the feelings of warmth and heaviness we feel in the relaxed muscle after it is tensed, we often feel mentally more relaxed.
Scent – Find a scent which you find pleasant, for me it’s lavender. Lavender brings back fond child hood memories and I keep a vial in my purse or with me at all times. By waving the vial under my nose with my eyes closed I picture happy, a stress free thoughts and quiet my mind. This often stops my anxiety from increasing.
Stop the thought – Acknowledge the thought that is causing the anxiety and stop it. Replace the thought with something else, perhaps a vacation you’re planning with your family or home renovation. Focus upon that replacement thought and explore it, lose yourself in the visualization and take your mind from the worrying thoughts.
These tips I’ve listed are the ones I use while in the face of a panic attack, exercise, healthy eating, vitamins and good sleep patterns are essential for people who suffer with anxiety.
How about yourselves, do you deal with anxiety issues?
Do you have any tips to share?