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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Lowther

Here’s a T.I.P.P. an Acronym to Help When Your Anxiety or Anger is Tipping You Over the Edge

(T) Temperature: Think of being at a theme park in the dead heat of Summer…it’s hard not to be  agitated and you are not alone! When you check in with T.I.P.P. the first thing is to try changing your temperature from hot to cold. When we are activated in anxiety or anger our temperature tends to rise. What’s interesting is that conversely, when in a hot environment anxiety and agitation can rise within the body even if you were previously calm. When heated, a couple ideas are to: splash cold water on your face, run cold water over your hands and wrists, get in the shade or air conditioning, hold a cold drink, put extra ice in your drink or mouth, and put ice packs on your temples and pressure points. Chewing on gum or mints can also help by adding more saliva to your mouth and in turn allowing your body to feel safer. Think and get cold as well as hydrated. Adding in deep belly breaths and slow exhales are also helpful. Utilizing cold showers or baths to help the body can also help in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms, improves the immune system, circulation and many more advantages for the body. 

(I) Intense exercise: Get that body moving. We all know that movement and exercise are great for you and there’s ample evidence to prove it's helpful even in short increments. Increasing your ability to withstand intense workouts will also help you withstand heat, intense emotions and cycle through them more quickly. Shoot for 20 minutes a few times per week. If you're anxious or even tired try some jumping jacks or run in place. This will force your body to breathe more deeply and process through anything that’s stuck. If I’m feeling more anxiety or agitation I will sometimes bring up the emotion and then run off and on for a few minutes, walk for a few minutes and bring up the emotion and run again. Focusing on what upsets me and adding fast bilateral movement (running) often helps me process through the feelings and can give clarity. Obviously, make sure you are medically clear to do this but, if you are, get moving!

(P) Paced Breathing: Having your exhale be longer than your inhale signals to your body that it is safe. Deep breath also stimulates the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in the body, that brings calm and safety in the body. Start slowly by breathing in one second and breathing out two seconds from the diaphragm. Slowly increase the length of time to where it’s comfortable but also intentionally increase that time. I tend to put my hand on my stomach to bring consciousness to my diaphragm and to breathe. Otherwise, I can easily default to breathing from my chest. Another technique that I use is hand tracing as seen in this youtube video. Bringing your focus to your hand can allow you to get out of your head, increase your diaphragmatic breathing and bring your body to safety. 

(P) Paired Muscle Relaxation: This exercise turns your focus to the tension held in each part of the body, from head to toe or toe to head. Tense one muscle for a few seconds and then breathe out noticing that muscle relaxing. Tensing and releasing allows the body to learn how to release that tension and settle into calmness. Headspace has a popular video for guided muscle relaxation. 

Conclusion: To learn more about ways to help the body navigate the ups and downs of emotions, tension and sensations as well as understand why your body is reacting, it is helpful work with a licensed mental health counselor. To learn more and schedule, reach out to a licensed provider today. 

Lowther Counseling Services,, 2024

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