Anxiety and stress can be hard to ignore. APPLE can be a helpful method to give us some relief. We know our bodies are biologically wired to experience discomfort so we look after ourselves. Whilst getting to the root of our anxiety is the most effective way to manage and eventually erase it. Working out why we feel stressed or anxious is not always so easy. Some of us many need a therapeutic intervention or medication to cope with high levels or stress and anxiety. However, there are techniques we can use in the short term, combined with talking to others and a robust self-care routine which can bring some relief.
For A Guide to Understanding Our Stress Response read here.
What Does APPLE Stand for?
Acknowledge. When anxiety or stress strikes, however we experience it, it can be easy to allow it to overtake or absorb us. Likewise, it can be easy to panic or become more stressed when we start experiencing anxiety or stress signals. As hard as it may be, it’s helpful to take a moment to acknowledge and intentionally notice the uncertainty or situation you find yourself in.
Pause. It can be helpful to pause the moment that anxiety strikes. This can allow us to complete the acknowledgement that comes with the first step. The pause can also enable us to take a breath and plan our next step logically. Rather than acting impulsively that may not work in our favour.
Pull Back. Perhaps you can think of a situation where stress or anxiety made you jump in without thinking. Or get caught up in the action. So, give yourself a moment. Remind yourself that you don’t have to believe whatever you’re thinking. Thoughts are not fact; they’re opinion. Uncertainty is a normal part of life; but it doesn’t make it easier to manage. Sitting with uncertainty, however, can make it easier. Reliance on certainty is never a given after all.
For How to Practise Deep Breathing for Stress and Anxiety read here.
Let Go. Again, not as easy as it seems. As we all know. However, taking some space from the thoughts or experiences, can give us a much needed break. Help us to recoup our energy and be thoughtful about our approach. Remind yourself that you don’t have to respond, or even act, unless in the event of an emergency. Situations will pass and you can opt-out too. It may be helpful to think about clouds passing slowly along the horizon. Or cars travelling over a hill and out of sight.
Explore. Whilst we pass and work towards our response to this movement. Either considered action or a step away. Explore the present movement by being mindful. We can think about being present as “be where your feet are”. Many people find grounding exercises helpful to focus their attention elsewhere. Trying using all your senses. What can you smell, see, hear, touch and taste. This can also be an opportunity for deep breathing. Aim for longer exhales than inhales. Counting your breaths and focusing on expanding your lungs outwards as you breathe in and deflating like a balloon when you breath out can help maximize your oxygen intake.
What are your thoughts on APPLE? Have you tried it before? Did it work for you? When you’re stressed or anxious, what works?