When clients come into my office struggling with anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks, I ask them what they do to manage them. Many say they don't know what they do; they simply suffer through the discomfort of the physical and emotional symptoms. Before we begin to explore the reasons behind anxiety, I want to teach clients to use available resources and coping skills, even while we are discovering the roots of these symptoms.
These include breathing exercises for calming, grounding techniques, exercise, and mindfulness techniques. Here's a grounding exercise you can do to distract yourself from the unpleasant feelings of anxiety quickly: How to do it using your five senses?
Look: look around the room and see five things and say them out loud. You might say, "I see a TV, a plant, a bowl, a photo, and a lamp. Feel: Pay attention to your body, then think of four things to feel and say them out loud. For example, you might say, I feel a rug under my feet, I feel the wall's texture, I feel the smoothness of a table, I feel the softness of a pillow. Listen: Listen for three sounds. Maybe you hear a fan blowing, a car horn outside, a bird chirping in a tree. Smell: Say out loud two things you smell. You might move around the room, and notice coffee brewing, or grass being mowed outside a window. If you can't move around, just say two of your favorite smells. Taste: Find one thing that you can taste. Maybe it's the orange juice you poured for breakfast. If you can't taste something, say your favorite thing to taste.
I get asked all the time why I chose to name my counseling company after a car. I think Scion is a strange word but it means “a grafted plant”, so in my view, Scion means something new growing from something old. This is a metaphor for counseling because so many people come into counseling for help making real changes in their lives. However, sometimes people want to throw out many of the qualities that I believe are their strengths. Research shows that 30% of success in counseling comes from the relationship you have with your counselor. 40% of the success in counseling comes from the strengths you brought with you and only 15% of your success in counseling comes from the theories and techniques used by your counselor. So, you may not know it but you bring your future success in treatment with you as your strengths.