Name What Youre Feeling
When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.
Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.
Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.
In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.
Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.
Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.
Tip : Distinguish Between Solvable And Unsolvable Worries
Research shows that while youre worrying, you temporarily feel less anxious. Running over the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like youre getting something accomplished. But worrying and problem solving are two very different things.
Problem solving involves evaluating a situation, coming up with concrete steps for dealing with it, and then putting the plan into action. Worrying, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on worst-case scenarios, youre no more prepared to deal with them should they actually happen.
Collect Distractions To Calm Your Anxiety
There are so many distraction you can use. Distractions to cope with anxiety exist in every culture. Worry beads, rosaries to pray, worry stones to hold in your hand, prayer beads have been calming anxiety and worry since the beginning of time. Sometimes its hard to read a book or knit or paint a picture or do the things that bring joy. Maybe youre stuck some place where pleasure is not possible. Use the old techniques. If you cant watch a movie, or your favorite TV show, and you cant get to the beach or the mountains, or even listen to music, you can always squeeze a stress ball, or play with a fidget spinner. This could help you bring your thoughts back to the present. We love puzzles, too.
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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.
Limit Your Alcohol And Caffeine Intake
While caffeine can be a mood booster, too much of it can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, from heart palpitations to gastrointestinal problems to nausea and clamminess.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can be harmful in the hands of someone with an anxiety disorder. Many people suffering from chronic anxiety turn to drugs and alcohol for their sedative effect. Drinking alcohol isnt necessarily a bad thing, but it can be dangerous when a person takes it specifically to experience anxiety relief, as they may develop a dependency.
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Why It’s Good To Step Back And Observe To Calm Anxiety
Anxiety has a way of sucking us in. Anxiety pulls us close to worry- and fear-provoking situations because the closer we are to a troublesome situation, the stronger our anxiety becomes.
For example, someone might fear failure in a relationship or at work. Once that anxiety begins, it works its way deep inside, making his thoughts race with worry. The more his thoughts are consumed with anxiety, the stronger his negative emotions become, creating feelings like anger, jealousy, self-hatred, despair, and more . His behaviors could very well change because of this anxiety and fear of failure perhaps he becomes paralyzed by his fears, unable to start projects at work or initiate activities with his partner. Or he might be able to take action, but fear and anxiety make him question himself, miss deadlines, apologize too much, and more.
His anxiety continues to skyrocket, and because he’s immersed in his situation, his thoughts continue to race, his emotions spiral out of control, he struggles with anxiety’s physical symptoms, and he just can’t calm his anxiety. He needs to step back and observe.
When we’re in the middle of struggling against anxiety, staying with the anxiety by thinking about it, feeling it, and cursing it can only serve to worsen it because what we pay attention to grows. Therefore, it’s important to step back from anxiety and be a distant observer.
How To Calm Anxiety: Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now
I dont quite recollect when anxiety became a part of my life. But what I comprehended was that it was there to stay. What seemed normal to get nervous about an important event or a presentation, slowly drifted to intense worrying over things that were beyond my control.
Today, uncountable people live with anxiety disorders. How to calm anxiety is a question that is often googled. With a million options that they throw up, you know what works best for you. Anxiety disorders can range from a generalized anxiety disorder , which is intense worrying that you cant control, to panic disorder that is an onset of sudden episodes of fear, restlessness, heart palpitations, trembling or sweating. I have faced this all.
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Think About Something Funny
Visualize your favorite humorous moments, says Sultanoff. One where you laughed so hard you fell down and peed your pants. These can be real situations, or they can be situations you saw on sitcoms, in stories, jokes, or cartoons.
If its difficult for you to come up with something in the moment, try picking a couple of memories ahead of time, so you can go to them as soon as you start experiencing anxiety.
Like most mindfulness training, humor visualization takes you out of worrying about things that might happen in the future and focuses you back in your present circumstances, in the now.
It does a few other things too. You experience mirth, which is the uplifting reaction to humor, explains Sultanoff. You feel emotions such as joy, pleasure, or delight all powerful emotions that can help you reduce anxiety quickly.
And if youre able to make yourself laugh by remembering that funny moment, he says, humor visualization is even more effective.
When you laugh, you contract and expand muscles, which reduces physical anxiety, stress, and tension, he says.
Laughter also combats the production of cortisol levels in the body, he adds.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety
People may experience a couple of symptoms and some people experience more. There are psychological symptoms and there are physical symptoms. These symptoms include:
- trembles or shaking
- stomach aches
If you experience any of these symptoms, please tell someone who you trust or even see your doctor. There can help you through your issues, help you find methods or treatment that can help you. Please do not suffer in silence, it only makes the issues worse.
There are some many reasons you might be anxious such as a job interview, driving or crowded places. Below are some a handful of tips that you should try when feeling anxious.
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Keep Your Phone Away From Your Bed
When it comes to managing anxiety, reducing screen time is essential.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, lots of jobs require us to be plugged in the majority of the time. But one place we can stop staring at screens is our beds! Make your bed a screen-free zone. Go back to a good old-fashioned alarm clock if you use your phone to wake you up, and force yourself to stop taking your screens into bed with you, Greenwald states.
Learn What Triggers Your Anxiety
Is someone constantly putting you down? Is something triggering your self-worth and self-esteem? Do you feel you are not capable enough? My biggest anxiety was that I wasnt a good mother! Every time you feel the anxiety trigger, note what caused it. See if there are patterns that play in a loop. Work towards getting out of the loop.
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Tone Your Inner Power Daily
Think of your inner power as a muscle just like any other muscle. The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you are able to accomplish. Every time you practice a healthy life strategy, you actually increase your ability to conquer your anxiety. What you couldnt do yesterday, you can do today. With practice, your new skills will become automatic. This is how you create lasting freedom from anxiety.
In the words of Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Remember: Feelings Are Not Facts
Remember that thoughts precede feelings and negative thoughts often lead to negative emotions, which can lead to negative behaviors. Yes, you may be feel as if you are going to pass out before a presentation, but remember what you are feeling is not realistic to the outcome and you are unlikely to hit the floor before starting. Start reminding yourself anxiety is simply an emotional reaction and accept and challenge it. For instance, you may identify that the anxious feelings feel uncomfortable, but recognize you can alleviate such worry by making positive coping statements.
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Sip Some Herbal Chamomile Or Green Tea
If youre feeling jittery, pour a cup of chamomile or green tea. Known as a sleep aid, chamomile contains a compound called Matricaria recutita, which binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. Chamomiles sedative effects may also come from the flavonoid apigenin. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for 8 weeks showed a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared with patients taking placebo.
Green tea, long used in Chinese medicine to treat depression, contains the amino acid L-theanine, which relieves stress, and reduces blood pressure and muscle tension. Nuts, whole grains, and broccoli are also rich in L-theanine.
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
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Focus On The Present To Calm Your Anxiety
This practice is also called mindfulness. Whats happening now? What can you enjoy or notice, or feel, thats positive? When you focus on what you can do right now, you ease the stress of worrying about the future and all the things you cant change. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to find peace while youre waiting. What you can do to cope is to focus on the present and enjoy every passing minute possible. Think about the things you are thankful for. Fill your thoughts with positivity and try to redirect your attention. Keep them away from things you cant control.
How To Calm Anxiety By Stepping Back And Observing
An important clarification is in order: stepping back isn’t the same thing as running away or avoiding. Avoidance doesn’t work to reduce anxiety no matter how much we ignore problems in our world, we can’t ignore them fully because they stay with us in our mind . Stepping back, therefore, involves not ignoring or running away but putting some metaphorical distance between yourself and the anxiety-provoking problem.
When caught up in anxiety, we often feel stressed, nervous, apprehensive, and worried. Our thoughts race with anxiety, and our minds are stuck in negative thought patterns, pelting us with “what-ifs,” “shoulds,” all-or-nothing thinking, and other thought traps. We’re so close to the situation that is causing anxiety that it’s hard to see the big picture. We can’t see the forest when we’re standing against a single tree staring at its trunk. To calm anxiety, we need to back up so we can see the whole picture.
You might want to try these simple steps to step back, observe, and calm anxiety:
To calm anxiety, step back and observe your situation neutrally. This doesn’t change the situation, but it does positively affect how you think and feel about it. It can calm anxiety and help you deal with what you need to address.
In the below video, I share an experience I had, one where I realized that stepping back and observing helps calm anxiety. I invite you to tune in.
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