Anxiety Hack: Soften the Gaze (Anxiety Skills #9) Panic Attacks and Tunnel vision

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Do you have PTSD, Anxiety, Stress, or Panic Attacks? In this Anxiety management skill, I teach you how to decrease stress and anxiety by using a “bottom-up” approach-using your body to calm your mind. I basically teach you how to hack your nervous system and use your peripheral vision to trigger the calming parasympathetic response. This is a technique from polyvagal theory. Many of us have experienced tunnel vision when undergoing extreme stress or fear, and that’s a natural, physiological response to danger. When our Sympathetic nervous system is turned on during the fight, flight or freeze-tunnel vision is a natural reaction. However most people don’t know that we have a degree of control over our tunnel vision, our field of view, by actively softening our gaze, turning on our peripheral vision we can trigger our nervous system to calm down. This tool can be used as a coping skill for anxiety, a resource for PTSD, a grounding exercise, or a way to manage chronic stress.

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Therapy in a Nutshell, and the information provided by Emma McAdam, is solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.

If you are in crisis please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or your local emergency services.
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