How To Calm Anxiety: Beware The News
Washing my hands and disinfecting my door handles are smart and productive reactions to the threat of the day. But obsessing over the news, reading endless articles, and watching non-stop television reports is harmful to my mental health. The only news stories I watch or articles I read are those that help me take better care of my family and myself.
Absorbing too much news and information, Ive found, causes subconscious negative thoughts that reappear when you least expect them. The connection isnt always obvious. The 6 pm news might not bother you at 6:30 pm, but it might be the reason youre staring at the ceiling at 3 am. Limit your news consumption to once in the morning and none at night.
Take A Noticing Nature Walk
Take a five-minute walk outside without your phone.
During this walk, look around and notice the tiniest leaf, the smallest insect, the subtlest cloud in the sky. Tuning into nature in a deep and all-encompassing way will naturally relax your body and give that churning mind a much-needed break, Trueblood states.
How To Calm Anxiety: Stop Fooling Yourself
At times, pretending to be fine is healthy behavior. An emotional breakdown in front of your children isnt a healthy way to express your fears. But when youre with your spouse, partner, or friends, its appropriate to share your frightening thoughts.
Growing up with ADHD, many of us developed coping mechanisms that worked for years but dont do any good now. Namely, we often pretend were fine when were not. Everyone needs a trustworthy, supportive person to whom they can unload their darkest fears.
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Make Sleep A Priority
How much sleep do you usually get? Getting enough sleep is crucial for physical and mental health.
Like most people, youre probably not getting enough sleep, says Greenwald. Start slowly going to bed earlier, little by little. First maybe ten minutes earlier than you normally do. Then twenty. Then half an hour. Then 45 minutes. Keep going until you find the time that gets you to bed early enough that youre fully rested by the time you get up.
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
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Redirect Your Attention To The World Around You And Envision Yourself Feeling Good
When were anxious, we tend to get tunnel vision and hyper-focus on a scary thought, image, or physical sensation. Use your senses to redirect your attention back to the world around you. Take it a step further and use your mind to imagine yourself feeling good in a place you like to be.
Easy grounding exercises to redirect your attention:
- Choose your favorite color and count how many places you see it in your surroundings.
- Listen out as far as you can. Count as many sounds as you can identify.
- Alternate between rubbing your hands together and clenching and releasing your fists. The process of stimulating the nerves in your palms and tensing and releasing your muscles can give you a sensation of relief.
- Pat your legs and arms, give yourself a light hug.
- Count how many people around you are wearing a hat.
- Chew a piece of gum and focus on all the sensations involved.
- Look out to the horizon or as far as your environment allows. Let your eyes settle there and try to engage your peripheral vision. Experiment with how much you can see without moving your head.
- Practice 5-4-3-2-1: name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste.
- If available, wash your hands and splash cold water on your face.
- Talk to someone about a funny movie or a nice place to visit.
- Name all the things you know for sure, such as the date, your location, your name, address, family members names, etc.
If After Reading My Blog Posts Or Booklet You Feel Ready To Start Working On Reducing Your Anxiety But Need Support I Can Help You Overcome Worrying In One
In a supportive environment with a therapist who has over 20 years experience you can learn how to reduce worrying by:
- Learning a variety of relaxation and breathing strategies which can help you reduce your overall levels of stress and help you face anxiety-provoking situations.
- Learning how to distinguish between worries that require your attention and worries that are unnecessary.
- Learning skills to manage anxious thoughts and to tackle fears that may have been holding you back.While all your worries wont disappear, you will be given strategies to manage them better and tools to reduce the impact they have on your life.
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Write Down Three Things Youre Grateful For
Gratitude is a fantastic way to reduce anxiety levels.
Anxiety is a deeply internal process, mentally and emotionally. Purposefully take a moment to say aloud or write down three things you feel deeply grateful for and you will shift your focus from fear to happiness. The key here is to describe it in so much detail that you actually FEEL the gratitude as you do it, says Trueblood.
Plan Your Life 12 Hours At A Time
Ive started to retrain myself to plan only for the day that lies ahead, explains Rachel Bowie, PureWows director of special projects. Compartmentalizing my life into 12-hour chunks makes all the worry for the future feel a bit less daunting. It may not be true, but I like thinking, OK, today? That I can control! Its also a great retraining on living in the moment. Pre-COVID-19, I spent so much time strategizing my next move. The restriction to focus only on the present has made me breathe a bit deeper, inhale fresh air from an open window a bit longer and cherish moments with my familyas long as my 2-year-old isnt melting down.
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A Meditation To Calm Panicbob Stahl
3 Ways to Get Out of Panic Mode
How To Calm Anxiety: Name Your Fear
Denial is counterproductive.
The quickest way to find relief from fear, anxiety, or worry is to name what youre feeling label it, say it out loud, or write it down. Labeling is an incredibly effective way to manage what youre feeling. It sounds simple, but its not usually the first response, especially when you have ADHD. We are more likely to run away from the feelings of discomfort than we are to acknowledge them. Pretending that a threat or discomfort doesnt exist is a temporary and unhelpful fix squashed emotions appear unexpectedly and rip us up eventually.
Strength of character comes from naming your discomfort, rather than running from it. If you name it, you can manage it. Talk to a non-judgmental friend about your thoughts. If that doesnt work, write in a journal. Spill your guts. Labeling thoughts gets them out of your head.
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Set Small Achievable Goals
Anxiety sufferers tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. To counteract this tendency, set goals that you can easily accomplish. This builds your confidence and your sense of accomplishment.
When you are learning skills to handle stress and reduce your anxiety, small steps work best. For example, if your goal is to integrate deep breathing into your life, start by practicing for one-minute intervals three or four times a day instead of for an hour all at once.
Setting small, achievable goals will help will take you farther than you can imagine over time. It will help you reach your final destination: a happier, low-anxiety life.
Learn Strategies To Immediately Deal With Symptoms
Educate yourself by learning strategies to immediately deal with anxiety symptoms. The National Institute of Anxiety and Stress has just made available free information that can help you reduce anxiety symptoms quickly, easily, and effectively.
This free information contains audio and workbook exercises that show you:
- how to stop intense anxiety using a simple three-step formula
- how to deal with anxiety symptoms quickly
- what to do when youre having a panic attack
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Write A Quick Gratitude List
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology asked participants to jot down a few sentences each week, focusing on specific topics. One group wrote about the things that they were grateful for that week, a second group wrote about the things that had displeased them and a third group wrote about things that had happened . After ten weeks, researchers found that those who had written about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives than the other two groups. Not only that, but they had also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor. So grab a notebook and try to jot down a few things that youre thankful for each week. Hey, even no traffic on your daily commute is a win in our book.
A Simple Meditation To Overcome Anxiety
Zindel Segal says bringing awareness to the sensations that accompany difficult experiences offers the possibility of learning to relate differently to such experiences in each moment.
People often stumble over the concept of acceptance as an approach for dealing with difficult emotions and mind states. In MBCT groups that Ive led, this predictably comes up around the fourth or fifth session as participants say How can I accept this pain? or I want to feel fewer of these difficult emotions, not more! These reactions reflect an underlying calculation that even though trying to avoid or push away negative thoughts and feelings can be exhausting, the strategy has worked in the past, so why risk using a different and unfamiliar strategy?
In these moments, rather than answer this question directly, I find it helpful to remind myself of three simple points:
1. Allowing negative emotions to exist in our livesfor the momentdoes not mean that weve chosen not to take action. The concept of acceptance, as introduced in MBCT, is intended to describe the possibility of developing a different relationship to experience, one that is characterized by allowing an experience and letting it be. Allowing difficult feelings to be in awareness means registering their presence before making a choice about how to respond to them. It takes a real commitment and involves a deliberate movement of attention. Importantly, allowing is not the same as being resigned or passive or helpless.
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Accept What Is And Respond Accordingly
There are many situations in life you have no control over. Dont dwell on what you cant change.
Radically accept that maybe what you are worried about cannot be changed, but you can decide how you respond to it, says Kushnir. For example, Oh no, its raining, we were supposed to have the party outside! can become, Its raining. Okay, lets figure out a plan.
Reduce Anxiety With The Four
A final breathing exercise to try is the Four Square, which I learned years ago to reduce anxiety:
- Breathe in slowly to a count of four.
- Hold the breath for a count of four.
- Exhale slowly through pursed lips to a count of four.
- Rest for a count of four .
- Take two normal breaths.
- Start over again with number one.
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Make A Coping Skills Toolbox
A Coping Skills Toolbox is a kit that you create to help your child calm down when they are upset, anxious or worried. In order to get the most benefit from this, you should create this kit before an issue occurs. When your child experiences anxiety, then they can pick out an item from their Coping Skills Toolbox. This is one of my favorite ways to help kids learn to calm their anxiety.
Here are some other fantastic ideas for what to put in a coping skills toolbox/calm down kit from And Next Comes L