An Anxiety Anchor is a way of helping to manage feelings of anxiety. They work by bringing in a feeling of safety when you are feeling unsafe.
An Anxiety Anchor works best when you are having anxious thoughts.
It works just like the one on a boat, helping to prevent you drifting away on a sea of anxious feelings.
An Anxiety Anchor is a safe place, person, or activity.
It's helpful if this is a real place, person, or activity, rather than an imaginary one, because it often makes a stronger anchor. To begin creating one, it is usually better to start when you are only feeling mildly anxious. Start by describing your safe place, person, or activity, and then,
Ask yourself a series of questions, about your safe place, person or activity involving all your senses,
Notice if there is any change in your anxiety. Check if some elements of your anchor work better than others, so you can focus on these elements when you need it.
Looking after your anchor
Just like a real anchor, your Anxiety Anchor will need maintenance to keep it in good working order.
Practice using one regularly, even when you don't need one. Create some spares, so if one stops working, you have one in reserve.
Spending time with the real place, person, or activity, helps to keep your anchor strong and in good repair.
Strengthen your anchor
You can also strengthen your anchor, by using tokens.
A token is an object which reminds you of your anchor.
It can be things like,
Whenever you need it, take your token with you in a pocket, handbag, purse or wallet, or wear it, if it's a piece of jewellery or item of clothing.
When you need to use your Anxiety Anchor, hold, look at, or even smell your token.
Photographs often make good tokens, because they can be stored on a phone, and as our phones normally follow us where ever we go, you have a ready made token to look at when you need to.
An Anxiety Anchor won't normally completely quiet the feeling of anxiety, rather just like a real anchor, you will still bob up and down. It's purpose is to help stop you getting washed away.
I would like to finish with a gentle reminder. Sometimes you might find that unsafe elements intrude on your anchor. It's your anchor, you are free to use it how you want. You can choose what to include, and what to leave out, and you can always change it for another one if you want.
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