When the psychiatrist wanted to evaluate Dad's mental acuity, he asked Dad to count down from 100 by sevens. Dad can't drive, walk, be polite, or tell left from right, but he can count backward by sevens. Not bad at eighty-seven.
When I was suffering extreme anxiety attacks in the mid-1990s, I learned to count and to breathe. Counting backward from 200 one breath at a time was a very effective panic-fighter.
Thank heaven I don't suffer from panic disorder now, but having major dental work still curls my toes. It's taken all my relaxation techniques to get through the many dental appointments this year. Okay, all the methods except that huffing-puffing Lamaze railroad breathing I learned so many years ago. Gotta say, the most effective technique was counting backward by sevens. Dad's psychiatrist would likely say I am in early-stage dementia, as this is a very challenging concentration exercise.
© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder