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Anxiety Tools

So often in stories characters struggle with anxiety on their own, without the support of therapists, doctors, or psychiatrists. This makes me think that a lot of people in the real world are struggling on their own, without the kind of support that has made such a difference in my own life. Here I am sharing some of my personal tools for dealing with anxiety in the hope that people will understand the sorts of things that are possible with good quality medical care.

Everyone deserves access to quality mental health care. If you are struggling on your own and you have access to mental health care, I hope that you give it a try. And if the first person you work with isn’t helping, please keep searching until you find someone who can give you the support that you deserve.

For me these tools are also kinda like a diary. I’m writing them down to help myself in moments of struggle. In addition, I’m writing them down to help those people who are supporting me, so that they have tools that helps them know what to do when I’m really struggling.

Also, for those storytellers out there, I hope that these tools remind you of the importance of showing characters getting medical help for their mental health struggles. Having support doesn’t make the struggles go away, but it does make it easier by giving people more tools to work with. I’m also really hoping that folks will learn that there is more to mental health care than medication and talking about your feelings.

An orange tabby with their face down in their two front paws, which are pulled in tight.

 

 

Tool Sets

These are the tool sets that I have written or a am currently writing.

 

Orienting

The goal of this tool set is to help a person’s nervous system connect to the present moment. The way I understand it is that when people are upset, their mind is usually focusing on the past or the future. Helping the nervous system connect to the present helps it calm down. I find that these tools are helpful during stressful moments, but they can also can be used at other times to increase calm and relaxation. For example, I often use them to help myself get sleepy at bedtime. The podcast version of this tool set can be found here.

 

Working with Negative Self-judgement

Negative self-judgment is a harmful mental pattern where we judge ourselves and tell ourselves negative opinions as if they are facts. This negative self-judging can be blatant, or it can hide inside of other feelings, like insecurity. The following tools are designed to help our brains shift away from these harmful patterns into more self-affirming ones.

 

Calming Down After a Stressful Event

After something stressful occurs, it can feel like the fear gets trapped inside me and my mind gets stuck in a fearful place. Even though the stressful event is over, my brain and body aren’t calming down. When this happens, I use these tools to help myself shift to a better place, both physically and mentally.

 

Journaling Tools

I’m hoping to write an article about this set of tools sometime soon.

Writing things down in a journal can be a great way to get things out. I find that if I’m struggling with a lot of physical anxiety symptoms, asking myself what is going on and if there are any feelings that I’m not consciously feeling can be very powerful. In addition, journaling can be used to engage in self-talk that helps us shift our perspective on things.

 

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