Anxiety can often feel scary and overwhelming, and it is a feeling that most people will experience at least once in their lifetime. For those living with an anxiety disorder, the intense emotion can be debilitating and affect every aspect of their daily lives. Many coping techniques can be employed both short-term and long-term. However, if you’re looking for immediate relief, there are some simple steps that you can take to achieve this.
1) Ground yourself
Upon the onset of an anxiety attack, use grounding techniques to be more aware of your surroundings than your body. Some recommended tried-and-tested techniques are testing the senses, making lists, or looking for items of a specific color. The senses test involves looking for 5 things, touching 4 things, hearing 3 things, smelling 2 things, and tasting 1 thing. Making lists can either be of unseen things such as listing animals beginning with ‘c’ or things that are around you like bedroom furniture.
2) Use hot/cold sensations
A good way to lessen anxiety almost straightaway is to hold ice or run cold water over your wrist or the back of your neck. The shock of the cold tends to override the emotion and helps it go away. Alternatively, warm items such as a hot water bottle, a weighted blanket, or a cup of tea also help anxiety dissipate as the warmth is soothing and another focus away from the fear. Just be careful to not hurt yourself with these sensations, as that is not the aim of the exercise. Take the ice away once it starts to hurt and don’t accidentally burn yourself.
3) Breathing techniques
As soon as you notice yourself having physical reactions to the anxiety, use breathing techniques to readjust and focus your body on the task. There are many versions of breathing techniques out there, so you should pick the one that is most suitable for you. The main point is to breathe in for less time than you breathe out, so you can expel the tension that you’re holding inside. This also stops you from hyperventilating and feeling dizzy or faint, which can worsen anxiety symptoms.
We hope you have found these steps useful, and that they are effective in calming you down. Please let us know in the comments what you think!