There's nothing worse than getting anxiety about the fact that you're having anxiety. This acute awareness only propels you down the rabbit hole of sweaty palms, shallow breathing, and racing thoughts even faster. Rather than allowing anxiety to overwhelm your mind and body, Trish Barillas, life coach and author of A Face of Anxiety, recommends equipping yourself with strategies to tackle anxiety from the get-go.
"I believe you can take precautionary steps to avoid panic attacks from occurring if you know your triggers well enough," she tells The Everygirl. "Once you have done the work on yourself to understand your own anxiety, there are many treatment options to make you most comfortable in those situations." As a person who has suffered from anxiety herself, Barillas suggests doing the following three things the second you feel anxiety coming on:
1. Have a playlist that you normally listen to for peace and serenity. Music can be used as an anchor because hearing something familiar puts your mind in a calmer state.
2. Sweat it out. If you can get your heart rate up and release serotonin, this will help break the cycle of your anxious thoughts.
3. If you find yourself thinking what if, start changing the story you're telling yourself. Stick to the facts at hand and to your current reality— not in the past or future that your anxiety is trying to trick you into thinking. Make a list of what you're feeling versus what's happening so you can decipher the difference.
I'd personally add deep breathing, journaling, and talking to a friend or loved one to this list, but as Barillas reiterates, it's all about knowing yourself and tailoring your strategies to your experience. "Living with anxiety is different for everyone," she adds. "I strongly believe in strengthening the mind and body in order to live a balanced life."