Anxiety happens to everyone in varying degrees and we are moving towards a point these days where we are actually talking about it-no longer suffering in silence and ‘sucking it up’. That’s not to say we shouldn’t sometimes just internally straighten up and get on with things-moving through a sticky patch will get you through it after all, but there will always be times that the fear gets you and you need a helping hand. And then there are times when it’s simply too much.
This is not meant to be medical advice - anxiety can be crippling and, in those cases, talking to a friend, your doctor or a mental health professional is the best thing you can do to get help, so please do it.
This well-known technique has helped me on several occasions and I therefore wanted to pass it on. It’s called the APPLE technique and it’s great for me especially as I create little mental images that work very well for how I process situations.
It goes like this:
A – Acknowledge
P - Pause
P - Pull Back
L - Let Go
E - Explore
Acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty as it comes into your mind. Notice it being there and how you are feeling.
Pause. Imagine pressing a button on a remote to just stop time, stop reacting and take a breath.
Pull back. I think about zooming out on a camera lense. Tell yourself this is just the anxiety speaking, this thought or feeling you have is just a thought or feeling - just because you are thinking something doesn’t make it true. Remind yourself of this.
Let go. Imagine the thought or feeling floating away from you like a balloon you have let go of and visualise it drifting up into the sky away from you.
Explore. Think about the here and now, what does the ground feel like under your feet? What can you smell? Think about your breathing. How many different sounds can you hear? How many people around you are wearing black shoes, or carrying blue handbags? Bring yourself back into the present, and then bring your attention back to what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry. And move on with it mindfully.
You might need to repeat this little exercise a few times for it to take effect, but I have found it really helps and keeps your head in the game and out of the worry filled danger zone. Let me know what you think!