Brindle dog looking out the window
Breast Cancer,  Life After Cancer

Anxiety and Two Exercises to Overcome it

Harley, a brindle mix trained service dog for anxiety and mental health, looking out a window.It started two months before my diagnosis anniversary date. The anxiety, the panic attacks, the desire to hide up in my living room and never leave. It took me a few weeks to figure out what was going on, but I eventually did.

Life now consists of therapy once a week, a dog who won’t let me wallow and hide, and a daily reminder that I need to get up and move because if I don’t I’ll succumb to the pressure of going nowhere.

Learning to live life

The good thing is I’m doing things I’ve thought about doing for years but haven’t:  I’m tying to remind myself that capturing life is a privilege and should not be taken for granted; I’m learning that there really is no reason to put things aside; and I’m learning to live life.

I guess not all things that come from breast cancer are bad. Sure isn’t easy to see that though.

Breathe. If you're dealing with anxiety, be gentle with yourself. It takes strength to pull yourself out of an anxiety attack. If you've done that today (or any day) be proud of yourself. (c)
(For more quotes regarding anxiety – click here.)

Anxiety Exercises

How about you?  Do you suffer from anxiety or PTSD or panic attacks?  How do you cope?  I really like the grounding exercise, which if you haven’t seen that is a countdown you focus on, rather than the panic or anxiety itself.  It goes like this:

Look around you.  Find 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; and 1 thing you can taste.

Our mind likes to play tricks on us.  Especially when our anxiety is at a high point.  It is easy to believe when we are having an attack, it will never end; and  it is the end of the world.  The reality is that’s just not true.  The only way anxiety can control us, is to make us believe there is no end in sight.  By acknowledging an end will come, we can take away its power.

Moving beyond panic attacks

Calming yourself down and moving on, is not an easy thing to do while in the midst of an anxiety attack.  However, making yourself aware of how you feel when an attack starts (claustrophobic, shortness of breath, chest pain, irritability, etc.), and learning an exercise that helps ground you, are key in overcoming anxiety attacks faster.

Something else to try is talking to someone and telling them how you are currently feeling.  Or what you are going through.  Finding someone who understands and listens to what is happening is another way to take away the power of the anxiety.  (For another post I wrote regarding how I cope – click here.)

Whether you talk with someone, do breathing or grounding exercises, remember you are not alone.  And if you ever feel alone, know that I am here.  Send me a message! I’m more than happy to sit on the virtual bench next to you, reminding you it shall pass.

Until next time, capture life kreatively!




At 50 years old I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I am currently NED (no evidence of disease), and trying to spend every day reviewing the world through the new lens I wear as a breast cancer survivor.


    • Myra

      It is amazing how often once you acknowledge you have anxiety, others around you will respond affirmatively. Makes me quite sad actually to realize how many people are hiding anxiety, which all that does is increase it.

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