Finding Focus Amidst Anxiety

Anxiety can be a very debilitating experience. Whether a person is suffering from a mental disorder or is experiencing anxiety as a result of addiction, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. Anxiety can complicate many aspects of a person’s daily life — from one’s ability to move through their own daily responsibilities or even try new experiences. The overwhelming nature of anxiety can sap motivation from almost any situation, and experiencing anxiety on a consistent basis can compromise one’s faith that they have the ability to lead a safe and happy life at all. While anxiety may create feelings of hopelessness and fear, there can be a lot of power in finding just a single thing to focus on through the anxiety or panic. Even amongst anxiety, is possible to rebuild one’s world from the ground up. 

What Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety can take hold of an individual’s perception of the world around them, shifting common environmental stimuli into feeling like dangerous entities. Those suffering from anxiety may become overloaded with these different stimuli, unable to focus on each one long enough to identify the source as a safe element in their environment. While many people have a filter over much of the white noise they may hear throughout the day, anxiety can force a person to focus on every detail possible in order to ensure that it is safe and that nothing bad is going to happen. It is this persistent fear of the unknown that gives anxiety its overwhelming properties. 

Anxiety also introduces a lot of doubt and possibility into one’s mind. If a person is unsure of what the outcome of a certain situation might be, or the source of a particular stimulus, their minds may jump to all of the most horrific, extreme scenarios that it could produce — and then their brain can become convinced that these are definitely the things that are going to happen. It can make an individual feel powerless in their own environment, or make the entire world feel threatening and stressful from all angles. To a person suffering from anxiety, there may be an innumerable amount of stressors as their minds continue to warp their own senses, creating an atmosphere of powerlessness and fear. This is why those suffering from anxiety or panic may benefit from a support who takes things slow and can help them resituate themselves into a shared sense of reality with those around them. 

Recreating a Shared Sense of Reality

With a warped perception, it can be difficult to even begin rebuilding one’s world with a shared sense of reality and safety. However, rebuilding this sense of reality doesn’t all have to happen at once. Rather, it begins with finding one certain aspect of the environment and actually being able to focus on it, identify it, and use it to continue to build outward. While anxiety and panic can feel overwhelming, finding this single aspect can help a person ground themselves and begin to move through other coping strategies. 

For example, those suffering from anxiety while at the grocery store may focus on just a single bag of chips in the shopping cart. Reading the label as best one can, taking in the logo and colors, and knowing that that bag of chips is, in fact, a single bag of chips. While this exercise may seem juvenile, it can provide several different advantages for dealing with anxiety. First, it allows a person to focus their energy just a bit more, shrinking their world and helping to drown out many of the stimuli that may be overwhelming them. This sense of focus can allow a person to then regain a sense of time and awareness that may have felt out of reach before. The second advantage is that this single bag of chips can be used as proof of one’s agency, which can help them regain control of their reality. Having successfully identified even a single bag of chips for what it is, they can use that as a stable point of reference to begin contextualizing other aspects of their environment. This technique slows down one’s thought processes and provides a single point, giving an individual time to then employ breathing techniques and other coping strategies. 

Practicing the Skill

While this seems simple, it is also a strategy that requires practice. During times when you aren’t feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or panic, taking a moment to practice focusing on aspects of your environment can prepare the mind to always be looking for ways to ground itself into tangible parts of one’s world. Identifying stop signs while driving, or focusing on a picture hung on the wall in one’s house, can all begin to program the brain to find ways to refocus and rebuild a shared sense of reality with those around them. For those suffering from addiction, this approach can also keep one’s focus off of stimuli that may cause urges, and can further one’s sense of control over their environment, and thus their actions in how they address their anxiety on a daily basis. 


Finding focus amidst anxiety can feel difficult. However, the professionals at Brighton Recovery Center are ready to help you better understand your anxiety and can help develop a plan that is right for you. We utilize a number of different approaches in each program, ensuring that your time with us is as individualized as possible so we can help you address your unique experiences with anxiety. Together, we can formulate a plan to address your needs and goals through the recovery process. Our expansive campus provides beautiful scenery for you to explore, alongside a number of facilities curated to help you address your needs. Our recreation center, complete with a coffee shop, yoga studio, gym, thrift store, and much more is available to all of our clients and ensures that there are always new approaches to help you through even the most difficult of times. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to talk to a caring, trained staff member about your unique circumstance, call us today at (844) 479-7035.

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