I thought I’d share some valuable tips and tricks that I regularly use that help make living with anxiety a little more manageable.
Recognise your symptoms:
– Heart rate increasing,
– Tight chest & difficulty breathing,
– Sweaty and shaking palms,
– Constant worry/panic/uneasy feeling,
– ‘Butterflies’ in stomach,
– Feeling physically sick,
– Jumpy movements eg. Shaking leg, wringing hands, biting nails, obsessively fidgeting,
– Unable to move/see/hear/speak.
Take deep breaths
Close your eyes. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 and exhale for 8. Repeat until you feel as if you’re staring to slow down and recenter your mind
If standing or sitting, plant your feet firmly into the floor and direct your energy down through them into the floor. If laying down, press your back into the ground.
Relax your body
Drop your shoulders and unclench any sources of tension. Then start from your toes and slowly work your way upwards through your body, clenching and relaxing each individual muscle.
Look for three things in your environment that you can smell, see, hear, taste and feel. Write these down if you want, it may help to get any negative thoughts out of your head too.
Distract your mind
This is a step that some of us won’t be able to achieve easily— myself included— as some panic attacks tend to be too overwhelming to move or even think. However, if you can, try and stand up and walk to a different environment (whether that be another room in your house or outside). This interrupts your anxious thoughts and physically gives your brain a break from the environment that could be triggering the anxiety.
Listen to some calming music
Make yourself a playlist full of songs that gently calm yourself and get you in a better headspace. I find a good one is ‘Anxiety Relief’ by Chilled Mumoro, and ‘anti-anxiety’ by ohne on Spotify 😊
If you find that it would help, and isn’t too overwhelming, talk to someone, like a friend or family member. It doesn’t have to be about anxiety, just really about anything to distract your mind and get a different perspective.
These steps are all useful to combatting a panic attack or anxious feelings (I can tell you this from experience!) but please keep in mind that they don’t always work to automatically relive anxiety. It is hugely important to acknowledge the anxious thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing without trying to eradicate them or label them as negatives. It’s important, and definitely okay to just let them be – notice them as if from an omniscient point of view, without judgement. Acknowledge that they are there, and be kind to them.
— TheSafeBubble, Auckland
* This is a submitted post *