As many of us living in Massachusetts know, we have been dumped with a humungous pile of snow that has created issues on the road that has made us feel anxious while getting to places late. It also makes us think about what a waste of time this is to be sitting in traffic watching people not know how to navigate the road when we do this every single year. (This year worst than others in my objective opinion!)  Some of us do not do well being stuck in a confined space for too long and it raises our anger and anxiety. As angry and anxious as we feel, can we take this opportunity to do some self-care and practice staying calm. You have nowhere to go anyway, the triggering stimulus is there, perfect opportunity for in vivo exposure.

Here are some ideas:
STOP - Slow down or stop the angry thought, stop the hand from honking that horn (oh it is so tempting). Take a breath - feel the cool air enter your nose, feel it travel all the way down to your belly, feel your belly inflate. Hold for 2 seconds. Slowly breathe and feel the warm air leave your belly, up your lungs and out of your nose. Observe - the license plate number in front of you, the dirt on the car, the music playing on your radio, the warm air blowing, or the cold air from outside. Proceed - with Care, move the hand away from the honk, release the tense muscle on your right leg, move your shoulder blades down your back and widen your chest.

Count1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi.... 10 Mississippi. And backwards again. Or 1 Tall Snow Bank, 2 Tall Snow Bank, 3 Tall Snow Bank... 10 Tall Snow Bank. Those snow banks are so high up there!!! The key is to keep going, and back.

Using tactile sensory to take you away from the angry and anxious feelings and thoughts. Pay attention to how the steering wheel feels in your hand. How tight are your fingers wrapped around the wheel? Squeeze it tight and then let go. Repeat that 5 times or so, rub your thumbs on the wheels, do it deliberately so you observe the sensation.

Be creative with these ideas. The trick is practicing. Remember those days when your parents prompt you to practice your piano, swimming, tennis, etc. Think about when you obsessed over a computer game and you just kept playing it until you were really, really good at it. As time went on, you did get better at the activity. It’s the same concept here. JUST KEEP PRACTICING.

Interested in having me guide you and practice this with you, or learn more about this concept, please contact me at aileen@insightnewton.com

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