Fall is my favorite season! I’m such a sucker for sweater weather, apple picking, football, delicious fall treats, and hiking.
This past weekend, me, Adam, Amelia, and my mother-in-law went to a local farm. We saw and fed animals, went on a hayride, picked a pumpkin, and watched Amelia play on some cute tractor-related toys. It was so fun!
But! There was a moment on that darn hayride… If you’re anything like me, going on a hayride can be so much more than just going on a hayride.
The woman that was driving the tractor came around to close the door on the back of the wagon and I thought to myself... What if I have to go to the bathroom? Then that thought led to, what if I need to get off of the wagon but we’re far from the farm?
Although I haven’t experienced a panic attack in years, I still have moments of anxiety. I am human, and anxiety is a part of life! The difference now is that I know that I am in control and capable of working through an anxious moment, and I don't allow it to turn into something more. Getting to this place took practice and dedication to the tools that I learned along my journey, which are all of the tools that I teach now!
So what did I do?
First, I acknowledged how I was feeling by telling myself how I felt. It went something like this… “I feel anxious. I’m worried about what I’ll do if I have to go to the bathroom, and I’m worried about being far from the farm.”
Then, I did a quick breathing exercise to help get me back into the moment.
Then, I reminded myself of my realities.
If I had to go to the bathroom, I would find a way. After all, we were in the great outdoors!
I wasn’t stuck. I could get off of the wagon if I wanted to. And let’s be real, a wagon goes all of 5 mph and isn’t going to travel too far.
It didn’t make a difference if I was at the farm or on the tractor, I had always worked through every anxious and panicky moment no matter where I was.
And that’s just it… It doesn’t matter where you are, who you are with, or what you’re doing. You’re never stuck, or trapped, or not in control.
YOU have always successfully worked through every anxious and panicky moment, regardless of where you were or who you were with.
Say the below sentence out loud if you can! I’m serious!
I have always successfully worked through every anxious moment and panic attack, regardless of where I was or who I was with.
Then, I gave myself some productive and positive messages.
"I choose to be present in this moment. I am going to enjoy this time with my family and have fun. I am in control. I am safe. I am capable. Shannon, you did a great job of working through an anxious moment!"
And yes, I actually talk to myself alllll the time.
Did you notice what I didn’t do?
I didn’t ignore how I was feeling. I acknowledged that I felt anxious.
I didn’t allow the thoughts to continue. I stopped them by doing a mindfulness practice (a simple breathing technique), and by challenging my thoughts.
I didn’t beat myself up for experiencing anxiety.
I didn’t allow an anxious moment to stop me from experiencing joy.
Doing the above things will cause and heighten anxiety and panic.
The next time you’re experiencing anxiety, maybe on a hayride, give these steps a shot! I promise that they will help you.
You are in control and capable. Your brain just needs reminders of this often!