How I Unfreeze When I’m Anxious

May 23, 2024 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

Do you work to unfreeze because of anxiety? When we experience a stressful situation, we experience a stress response, also known as the fight-flight-or-freeze response. How we respond depends on several factors, but I've found that I often freeze in stressful situations. Because of this, I've had to learn ways to unfreeze during anxiety to help me move forward.

Why I Need to Unfreeze Because of Anxiety

When I am anxious and freeze, I notice that it is related to me feeling overwhelmed. I feel like I am in a situation that I simply cannot handle. Unfortunately, as I've learned with my anxiety, I often feel that way in unexpected, stressful situations. So, I react with immediate panic. Or, if it is related to life circumstances, I find myself reacting with inaction.

I find that I feel immobilized, as though I cannot move. I feel helpless and powerless, as though I don't have control over the situation I am in. I feel like I can't make a decision, let alone process the situation. Physically, I feel like I just can't seem to move. If, at the moment, freezing is related to my life circumstances, instead of taking action, I find myself completely shutting down and avoiding anything having to do with real life. I need to unfreeze when I'm that anxious.

Steps I Take to Unfreeze When I'm Anxious

When I need to unfreeze because of anxiety, I know it's important to bring myself back to reality without allowing myself to dissociate. The problem is, I've been accustomed to numbing and detaching from real life for quite some time. So, this is honestly an area that I find myself continuing to work on despite all that I have learned over the years about how to manage my anxiety. 

The first step that is always important is self-awareness. I have to be aware of what triggers this response. The more self-aware I am, the more effective I can be at intervening before my body is fully in a freeze state that is more difficult to pull out of.

Deep breathing is the next step that I take, which helps to calm my nervous system and also helps me feel grounded. Additionally, paying attention to what each of my senses is taking in helps to ground me in my environment and brings me back to the present instead of feeling numb and detached. It helps me unfreeze in the face of anxiety.

Lastly, I force myself to move. Movement helps me to get unstuck. Sometimes, even the smallest movement helps, but what I will usually do is force myself to walk into another room. Not only does this help me unfreeze during anxiety, but it also grounds me and helps me to feel more in control, which lessens my anxiety.

Take a look at the video below as I talk about what I do to unfreeze.

Do you freeze in response to anxiety? What do you do to help you get unstuck? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2024, May 23). How I Unfreeze When I’m Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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