Managing Anxiety in Strange Times with Heidi Koronkowski

Heidi Koronkowski completed her Behavioral Coach Training at Anxiety Treatment Services with Dr. Dufford, Clinical Psychologist and Mary Szeles, Behavioral Coach. She also draws on her personal experience in overcoming severe panic and agoraphobia. Her goal is to provide context-sensitive coaching aimed at helping people live symptom-free.

Heidi suffered with anxiety, panic and phobias for over 15 years. After finding limited success through talk therapy and medication, she had a severe relapse and realized she needed to find a different kind of help. Dr. Dufford’s Anxiety Treatment Services relies on cognitive-behavioral tools and techniques that change the thought processes that fuel the anxiety. As a result, she has truly found freedom from anxiety, panic and agoraphobia.


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Tips for reducing anxiety

Today, on the show, Heidi shared a list of what you can do to help lower your anxiety. Here are her tips:

Set limits on information.
Limit how much you watch or read about the virus. In fact, moderate your intake of news in general including politics, the economy and all the information being shared right now. Try to consume it no more than one or two times a day. By constantly feeding your brain information about these scary events that are generally not in our control, your reinforcing a fight or flight response. To stay mentally healthy, we need to normalize our lives as much as we can.

Engage in the here and now.
Meditation lowers anxiety – here’s a great app that has guided mediations at no cost. Going out into nature works like meditation. If you can’t leave the house open a window. Hear the sounds, smell the air. Use all five of your senses. Go barefoot and let your feet feel the ground. Smell the flowers. Touch the leaves.

Be grateful.
Hopefully you can shelter safely. Now appreciate that. In fact, consider how many times you’ve said you wish you had a day at home. Take time to do projects or nap or watch a movie. Spend time with family.

Get creative.
Knitting, crocheting, painting, writing, baking are all great for helping anxiety. The key is to do something that feels productive and is tactile – using your hands and your body to create something engages your brain in healthy ways.

Have sex.
Sex releases dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, which can boost your mood. There are six positions that are linked to relieving anxiety. Just remember, you have to decide if you want to end up with a baby in nine months – so be careful!

Tap your higher power.
Spirituality, however you define that, has been shown to reduce anxiety. It delivers hope, you’re taking positive action and you’re connecting to others energetically.

Finally, remember to connect with others. Check on your friends and family. Listen to them talk to make sure they’re doing okay.

Know that you are not alone. We are all in this together.

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