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  • Writer's pictureDr. Randi Gray

Anxiety – Blame – Boundaries - Need Stating

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Anxiety and the Body - When we feel anxious, our body is triggered into the Fight – Flight –

Woman feeling stressed
Anxiety and the Body

Freeze Response in order to keep us safe. When this happens, our bodies secrete two chemicals into the body called Adrenaline and Cortisol. Adrenaline and Cortisol cause our blood to rush to our arms and legs, preparing us for fight or flight. Since the brain requires over 50% of our blood’s oxygen supply, the thinking part of the brain, the frontal cortex, turns off.

For example: When you sit down to take a test, and you get a feeling of anxiety, and your mind goes blank. When the thinking brain turns off, we cannot think straight or use our executive reasoning and logic.

To counter-act Fight – Flight – Freeze, we need to Breathe – Talk – Move.

Breathe – Cookie Breathing: Take a deep breath in through your nose, like smelling cookies from the oven, filling up your lungs. Exhale slowly through your mouth, like blowing off the cookies to cool them off. Repeat three times.

Talk – When we speak, it helps the thinking part of the brain click back on. If you have someone to talk to, that is great; if not, you can talk quietly to yourself, speaking self-affirmations such as: “It is okay, I am safe, I’ve got this, This will pass.”

Move – Our body wants to move away from the threat, so we need to get up and move. If we sit still in our anxiety, it will grow. Get up and take a few steps if you can. If you are sitting, you can tap your feet on the floor as if you are walking.

*These three tools will decrease your symptoms of anxiety and bring you back to feeling neutral and in a better position to identify how to take care of yourself.

Self-Blame – We can only control ourselves. We cannot make other people do what we want. We can only ask them, and they get to choose. Therefore, we are only responsible for our own behavior. We are not responsible for how others treat us, nor how they respond or react to us.

Healthy Boundaries – Boundaries are mental lines that we create to identify the words and behaviors that we will accept from others. We teach others how to treat us by what we will tolerate from them. A good way to measure if your boundary has been crossed is to ask yourself, “Is this something that I would say or do to someone else?” If not, your boundary has been crossed. When you make choices based on fear of how the other person will react, you are crossing your own boundary.

Need Stating – Expressing our needs to others is important in order to learn how to trust ourselves. We feel more at peace when we know that we can, and we will take care of our own needs. If we feel we need to say something but do not, we betray ourselves, which promotes anxiety and depression. We can learn to express our needs by using I feel statements. This allows others to know what we are feeling and what we need. It offers the other person an idea of what we are experiencing and a request for help. How someone responds or reacts to your need statement is not your responsibility.

I feel ______________________________________________________________

when you __________________________________________________________.

It would help me if you would _______________________________________ or

I need _____________________________________________________________.

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