Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “NPA —Neal’s Protocol for Anxiety — Part Three”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

NPA — NEAL’S PROTOCOL FOR ANXIETY

As you know by now, I have divided my anxiety protocol into three parts. The first deals with strategies which can help with both the physical and mental aspects of my anxiety. The second with mental, and the third with physical. Of course those divisions are academic only. The mental and physical ebb and flow into and through each other. I struggled with categorizing my strategies.

Per therapist Rubi’s instructions, these strategies should be done “intentionally.” For example, “I sit in this meditation practice with the intention that my current anxious experience will improve.”

Today’s post deals with the third and final section of my protocol.

III. FOR THE PHYSICAL PART

(How I can attend to the experience in my body.)

• Tai Chi, Qigong, Stretching, Walking, Exercising

I LOVE this category of strategies. They are just so body oriented and … immediate. Qigong especially helps me to slow down, breathe and stretch in all kinds of ways. (Google for a few YouTube videos.) Before the pandemic, Robert and I attended a Monday morning Qigong class. Hopefully we can get back to it soon. My takeaway from those classes: Slow movement. Slow movement.

But also simply WALKING can be so grounding. When anxiety arrives, and if I remember to do so, one of the most effective things I will do is to begin to slowly walk around our apartment, paying attention to the sensations of contact with my feet on the floor. Right foot down, left foot down. Right foot down, left foot down. Calming. Grounding. Earthing.

• Warm shower/cool shower

The sensation of warm (or cool) water droplets pummeling, massaging is right there, on your face, on your body. “I feel, therefore I am.”

I also like to put a shower vapor tab on the shower floor to let it release its aromatherapy. Vicks makes a good one.

• Essential oils/Aromatherapy

I love putting various essential oils in the diffuser in our study by my chair …

or in our bedroom …

… and letting the incredible aromas soothe me, calm me, ground me.

• Tapping

I’m just getting started with this strategy. Have you heard about it?

From the book: “Like acupuncture and acupressure, Tapping is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.”

So far, I like it. Update later.

• Medications

Sometimes I need this category. For me: Buspirone, my Albuterol inhaler (to help with breathing) and even chewable low dose Benadryl for quick help.

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So there you have it, my protocol for addressing my anxiety when it shows up. I know it’s very simplistic and incomplete, but it is a great help in my life. Let me know your thoughts or suggestions.

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And here’s a review of the entire protocol, in case you are interested.

NPA — NEAL’S PROTOCOL FOR ANXIETY

All strategies are done “intentionally.” For ex, “I sit in this meditation practice with the intention that my current anxious experience will improve.”

FOR BOTH THE MENTAL AND THE PHYSICAL PARTS

(How I can attend to the experience in my mind and my body.)

• Meditation — any of my saved meditations from 10% Happier, Buddify or meditation on my own without guidance.

• Slow Side-to-Side Head Movement — Noticing colors, shapes, loved items, etc.

• Inhaling and Exhaling — “Breathing in, I calm the mind. Breathing out, I calm the mind. Breathing in, I calm the body. Breathing out, I calm the body.” — In through the nose. Out through pursed lips (like through a straw). — In, cool. Out, warm.

• Hot soothing teas

FOR THE MENTAL PART

(How I can attend to the experience in my mind.)

• Recognize anxiety as a part of my experience right now. Maybe even speak to it. “Hello, anxiety.”

• Assign anxiety a number from 1 to 10.

• Verbal self messages/affirmations. “I have felt this way before, and I always make it through.” “My anxiety level is at a six, but it is not at a 10.“ “This anxiety is like the tides, ever changing. In and out.” “If I keep breathing, which I will, sooner or later, I will feel better.”

FOR THE PHYSICAL PART

(How I can attend to the experience in my body.)

• Tai Chi/Qigong, Stretching, Walking, Exercising

• Warm shower/cold shower

• Tapping

• Essential oils/Aromatherapy

• Medication, including Buspirone, my Albuterol inhaler and chewable Benadryl

Here’s to our mental health in these trying times and always.

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