The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise for Panic, Anxiety and Emotions

The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique is a great coping exercise to calm panic attacks, anxiety, stress, or if we’re feeling overwhelmed. In the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise, we reconnect with the world around us by engaging our senses and looking at five things, touching four things, listening to three things, smelling two things, and tasting one thing.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise: Coping with Panic, Anxiety & Emotions

 
 

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Managing Panic Attacks With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

panic attackPanic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, are sudden and intense waves of anxiety that can leave you worried you’re having a heart attack, about to pass out, going crazy, or with any number of other fears that something is seriously wrong with your health. Panic attacks are terrifying in isolation, and panic disorder occurs when panic attacks arise on a regular basis.

The most effective treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. In the videos below, learn how anxiety escalates into a panic attack, and how you can use CBT to defuse a panic attack and make it less likely you have panic attacks in the future.

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Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

upward spiralIn a previous post, we looked at the vicious cycle of anxiety, in which an anxiety-provoking events triggers an anxiety-related thought, feeling, behaviour or physiological symptom, which generates additional anxious thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physiological symptoms.
 
One of the keys to overcoming anxiety is break this cycle before it begins to gain momentum. We often don’t have control of our initial response to an anxiety-provoking situation, but once we become aware that something has triggered an anxiety-related thought, feeling, behaviour or physiological symptom, then we can choose how we react. Mindfulness, and congitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or cognitive therapy, are effective ways to help you stop these cycles before they can build.

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The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

downward spiralAccording to the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach to anxiety, one of the reasons that overcoming anxiety can be so difficult is that anxiety generates vicious cycles involving your physiological, cognitive, behavioural, and emotional domains. We looked at these four components of anxiety in a previous post. Now we’ll look at how they act together to form vicious cycles that create and maintain anxiety.
 
In the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of anxiety, the vicious cycle begins with an anxiety-provoking situation. This situation can be something external such as a work commitment, a trip, a social engagement, or any other event happening in the future that you’re worried about. Anxiety can also be provoked by something internal such as a physiological sensation, a thought about something you’re dreading, or an unpleasant emotion.

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Following Your Breath Mindfully

man meditating

Free Clip Art (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia Commons

In a previous post about our breath we looked at the difference between abdominal breathing and breathing from your chest, and how abdominal breathing can help alleviate stress and calm your body, mind and emotions.

It’s as simple as bringing your attention to your breathing for a few minutes, or even just a few breaths. This is easier said than done, however, as our minds tend to wander a lot at the best of times, and when we’re in distress, it’s even more difficult to stay focused on our breath.

In the next few posts we’re going to practice some exercises to help keep your mind focused on your breathing, starting with Following Your Breathing By Counting Your Breaths.

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The Four Components of Anxiety

anxietyCognitive behvioural therapy (CBT), sometimes called cogntive therapy, is a type of thereapy that focuses on how various factors within us and our environment interact with each other to to produce and maintain many issues that people struggle with such as anxiety and depression.

In CBT/cognitive therapy, we recgonize that, in addition to your environment, there are generally four components that act together to create and maintain anxiety: the physiological, the cognitive, the behavioural, and the emotional. These are described below.

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