Anxiety, for many people a scary word in it self, especially for those who have experienced its grip at it's worst. Anxiety can easily paralyse you and make you incapable at responding to any situation.

Anxiety, the allied
From nature, anxiety is our friend. It's there to get us out of critical, maybe life threatening situations by alerting our senses in a rather extreme way. It's there to make us react and respond, to save ourselves so to speak. It is when this alerting of our senses happen in an ordinary social setting, without an apparent cause, that this becomes a problem for us.

Anxiety, the enemy
Social situations, like talking in front of an audience, present reports at a meeting or simply talking in front of others, is, for those troubled with anxiety, like experiencing a living hell. It can eg. surface when we need to perform in front of others who judge our performance, or so we think they do. Symptoms like increased heartbeat, shortening of the breath, sweating and the urge to run out of the situation is normal for this kind of experience.

The reactions to this is highly individual, and in my case I often experience that my upper body muscles grow completely limb and powerless, and I am unable to move my arms. These situations used to gett so stressing to me that I almost always left the situation I was in. I'm not kidding when I say that this has caused me at least one corporate job. Because of this I needed to get professional help to deal with the anxiety.

During that time I learned many techniques that I use when I feel the anxiety taking control of me, and I wish to share a couple of them here with you in the hope that it may be of help. Note that I do not guarantee that it will help, all I can say is that it helps me.

My most used technique
This is an breathing exercise wich can be used in situations where you are short on time or when you already are among people, like in a meeting etc. It is invisible to others, and have worked for me countless times, that's why it is my favorite technique. Use it in your chair, when you drive your car, actually you can use it everywhere:
  • Start by taking a deep breath
  • Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds(or for how log that you feel comfortable with)
  • Let out your breath slowly
  • When the out breath is almost complete, you say/think to yourself "relax".
  • Repeat this until you feel that your heartbeat slows down and you can start to take control of the situation again.

Some other tips and techniques
Here are some other tips and techniques you can use when the "shit hits the fan" so to speak.
  • I sometimes use distractions to get my attention away from myself, like counting cars if I'm driving my car, or try to remember the words in a song. I don't use this often as get away strategy, because it does not really solve the anxiety problem, but sometimes it is an effective way to get your attention elsewhere and calm down.
  • Do like the professional athletes do. If your'e going into a preplanned situation, then try to plan the whole thing trough, and keep to your plan. Close your eyes and think about every step, and how you will act in a given situations, what you will say etc.
  • Sometimes, when having an anxiety attack, I try to take control over the situation by giving my body orders to move an arm, or taking a couple of steps back or forwards Making movement this way helps me keep the attack at bay, so I can use my breathing technique to calm down even further.

I hope these small tips can be of some help to some of you, and last but not least, I encourage you to seek help if you have this kind of anxiety and have not been seeking help before. It helped me, and I'm sure it will help you too.