Last week while contemplating my ongoing anxiety and the various tools I’ve learned to help manage it, I wondered if I could conjure up a mnemonic to cover all the steps I follow when feeling panicky. It’s easy to lose myself in these moments so anything to keep me moving in a forward direction is a very good thing.
Thankfully, my brain obliged and this is what I’ve come up with.
STOP and reflect on what’s happening. Consider actual facts, like what you can see, hear, feel, smell. Step outside of the panic and look in from a different angle.
EXPRESS your feelings. Don’t try to push the worries down or repress your emotions. If necessary find a safe, private and comfortable place to do this. It’s ok to cry and ok to feel totally shitty and hopeless.
ADAPT. Adapt to the situation. If something has triggered the anxiety, consider whether you can do something differently that will make it easier. If work is triggering panic, book some time off, or reduce your hours, or go to bed earlier. Have a think about practical steps you could take that will lift the weight from you.
CARRY ON. This one is important. Remember that life will continue. This moment will pass, and normal service will resume. Prepare and expect to move on from this.
Be THANKFUL. Reflect on what’s good. What you’ve overcome, what makes you happy.
Ladies and gents, when leaning into a panic or feeling anxious, remember to perform a SEX ACT.
Even thinking about the mnemonic itself makes me smile, so that’s got to count for something!