- Morgan Carpenter
Simple Tips to ease Anxiety Quickly
Anxiety can be one of the most disruptive forces in your daily life, and when it strikes it can be helpful to know exactly which tools work for you. In addition to long term treatments and lifestyle adjustments, there are quite a few helpful tips that can restore your calm and bring you fast relief from your anxiety symptoms.
Try a distraction
One simple way to trick your brain into peace and quiet is to give it a mindless distraction. Think television, a simple game on your phone, or a book that you are already sucked into or familiar with. Even calling a friend to hear about their day can work for milder panic. Anything that gets your mind off of whatever loop it’s stuck in is a good choice.
Help your body Chill Out
When you’re anxious, your body and brain are responding to a perceived threat (even when none is there.) Your body is latched onto fight or flight mode, like an old car getting stuck in the wrong gear. In order to shake off this feeling and restore your body’s natural homeostasis, it can help to reset some of the physical processes that cause most of the unpleasant symptoms.
Try taking an ice pack and placing it on the insides of your wrists, or the back of your neck for extra comfort. This serves the dual purpose of cooling your body temperature (which can spike when you’re anxious and leave you with that much too warm uncomfortable feeling,) and it can actually work to slow down your heart rate by pulling blood flow to your extremities and away from your core. If you can, take some deep breaths to help this process along.
Shock your senses
Similarly to the ice-pack method, shocking your body’s senses with a safe but surprising flavor or feeling can actually help to reset your body and ease you out of fight or flight mode. It also serves as an effective mental distraction, and will more often than not pull you out of a thought spiral long enough to calm down a bit. These are known as grounding techniques, which have been well documented as a way to reduce panic. They include anything that ‘grounds’ you and all of your senses to the present moment and helps you to feel more like your normal self again.
A popular option is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. This involves using all 5 of your senses to identify things in your environment.
Some less traditional suggestions include biting into something very sour, like a lemon. Or, placing something frozen such as an ice cube in your mouth and holding it there as it melts. Both of these sensations are sharp and distinctive enough to distract both brain and body. Imagine biting into a slice of lemon now, and how it totally occupies all of your senses because of how potent that sour flavor is. Anything like that, which is safe and doesn’t put you in any danger, is an ideal option for brain-body distraction.
For a more accessible option on the go, try carrying very sour candy or hot sauce packets with you as an emergency reset button that you can take anywhere. It may sound silly, but it works for a lot of people and is worth a try!
Give these anxiety busting tips a try, and see the difference that simple ideas can make in your daily life.