Cross Your Arms Rock Deep Breathing
Those who experience anxiety or PTSD may feel fractured, chaotic, split, scattered, broken or blown apart. In this state, it can be hard to define your edges and stay in your body. When triggered by something that intensely activates the nervous system, you can use this technique. Crossing your arms helps to give you a sense of being contained and rocking mimics the feeling of being a fetus nestled in the womb . Pair this with slow and deep breathing and you have a powerful form of self-soothing.
Describe Your Surroundings In Your Head
If you feel sudden panic strike, try to observe your surroundings and start describing thingsin your headin increasing detail. For example: Theres a chair.It has four legs.The legs are wooden.The cushion is embroidered.The embroidery is blue and white.It has white stitching. Whether its a chair or a book cover or a cute puppy, the idea is that the more you focus on describing something, the less you focus on freaking out. The more of your brain youre using to think of words to describe a golden retriever, the less of your brain youre using to think about any negative thoughts swirling around your head.
Try Mindfulness And Relaxation Techniques
“When we practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques, we learn how to calm down feelings of anxiety or not let them get in the way of our lives,” says Alisa Kamis-Brinda, a psychotherapist at Serenity Solutions.
In fact, a 2019 scientific review of 10 studies found that mindfulness-based interventions were more effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy for reducing distress associated with anxiety.
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Try The File It Mind Exercise
The File It technique works particularly well if youre lying awake at night thinking of all the things you have to do or havent done, or if youre rehashing something that happened during the day.
These are the steps for performing this exercise:
The idea with this exercise is that youre taking a moment to name your triggers, examine them, and then consciously put them aside with a deadline to tackle them later. In other words, youre validating your own feelings and making a plan to deal with them, one by one, when its a better time.
Bad Self Soothing Techniques
As mentioned above, learning how to seek relief from stressful situations is crucial to diminishing anxieties. However, when unaware and uninformed about building healthy and appropriate self-soothing methods, bad habits and techniques can form. When poor habits are created in an effort to be used as a form of self-soothing, they can be especially hard to break. Unhealthy and negative forms of coping might include:
- Alcohol use and abuse
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How To Prevent A Severe Anxiety Attack
Not all anxiety is just general nervousness. Some people experience severe anxiety attacks. Also known as panic attacks, these are bouts of what can feel like uncontrollable, severe anxiety that are usually followed by other physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, chest pain, lightheadedness, and more.
Anxiety attacks often peak after about 10 minutes and then there is a slow but clear decline in the anxiety symptoms, usually followed by a feeling of being drained or stressed. Many people wonder how to stop panic attacks from getting out of control. It’s difficult to stop the attack itself, but there are some fast ways to prevent the attack from being as severe. These include:
These won’t stop the panic attack altogether – for that you need panic attack treatments – but they will reduce the severity of the panic attack, and an anxiety attack that is less severe is generally easier to cope with.
Controlling Anxiety Takes Time
Theres no quick fix for anxiety, and it may often feel like an uphill struggle. But by gaining awareness of what causes your symptoms, and getting help from your doctor, you can manage your symptoms.
You may find some of these hacks work for you straight away and others may have no effect at all, but the important thing is to keep trying.
Giving in to feelings of anxiety by retreating from the world only served to make my life more difficult in the long run. Continuing to search for solutions that work for me has been key to my recovery. Practice makes perfect, so dont stop trying to find ways that work for you.
Fiona Thomas is a lifestyle and mental health writer who lives with depression and anxiety. Visit her website or connect with her on .
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Sleepless Nights Try Stress Relief Techniques
In a recent national survey, 44 percent of adults said stress had causedsleepless nights at least once in the previous month. All that tossing,turning and staring at the ceiling can leave you feeling tired andmore stressed the next day. If youre caught in this vicious cycle ofanxiety and insomnia, theres good news: Simple stress relief techniquescan help you sleep better and feel calmer.
Talk To Someone Who Gets It
If your feelings of anxiety are making it hard to function, you should speak to a health professional. But talking to friends can also help. I have friends who have an anxiety disorder too. When Im feeling really bad, I send them a message telling them how Im feeling.
They might have a new hack I can try, or they can point out something that might have acted as a trigger. But sometimes its just nice to vent to someone who knows how it feels to be in my shoes.
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Consider Quitting Smoking Cigarettes
Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Yet, like drinking alcohol, taking a drag on a cigarette when youre stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time.
has shown that the earlier you start smoking in life, the higher your risk of developing an anxiety disorder later. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.
If youre looking to quit, there are lots of different ways you can get started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends finding a safe substitute for cigarettes, like toothpicks.
You can also take up habits that may distract you in order to create an environment that works for your smoke-free life. Additionally, you can make a plan with a support system who can provide everything from encouragement to distractions.
How Much Worrying Is Too Much
Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. Its natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But normal worry becomes excessive when its persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about what ifs and worst-case scenarios, you cant get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.
Constant worrying, negative thinking, and always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can sap your emotional strength, leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. You may take your negative feelings out on the people closest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder , a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life.
If youre plagued by exaggerated worry and tension, there are steps you can take to turn off anxious thoughts. Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.
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Visualize Your Favorite Place
Think of your favorite place, whether its the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.
Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?
How Can I Treat Anxiety
Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. One common treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy , which helps provide people with tools to cope with anxiety when it occurs.
There are also certain medications, like antidepressants and sedatives, that work to balance brain chemistry and prevent episodes of anxiety. They may even ward off the most severe symptoms.If youre looking to go a more natural route, though, there are little and big ways you can help combat anxiety.
You can make adjustments to habits, like exercise, sleep, and diet. You can also try something totally new, like aromatherapy or meditation. No matter what your lifestyle demands, theres a natural way to help reduce anxiety for everyone.
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Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Anxiety can make it difficult to sleep, and not being well-rested can contribute to more anxiety.
Overall, trying to get near the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night can help keep anxiety at bay. “Inadequate sleep increases the production of stress hormones that can exacerbate anxiety,” Jonas says.
Cheap Natural And Quick Anxiety Remedies
When anxiety strikes, you need fast relief. Here are six ways to tame your anxiety, without medication or a doctor’s office visit.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the U.S., affecting about one out of five people at any given time, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
While medications to treat these anxiety conditions are often an important component in the management of anxiety, there is also many natural, do-it-yourself techniques that can help calm you down, either in place of medications or as a supplement to them.
Next time you’re too tense to cope, consider trying one of these natural options for relief.
1. Laugh it off. Cultivate a good sense of humor and laugh, says Karen Lynn Cassiday, PhD, president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and a clinical psychologist in Chicago. “Even if you do a fake laugh, you get an instant hit of dopamine,” says Dr. Cassiday. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls feelings of reward and pleasure.
If you’re too tense to laugh on your own, try using technology, she suggests. For example, find a laugh track phone app. Just google phone apps for laughing.
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Pay Attention To Sleep
Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.
Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.
On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.
Invest In A Weighted Blanket
This self-soothing technique can be a bit pricey, but its worth it in my opinion. If you struggle with poor sleep , consider investing in your own weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets work on the basis of applying deep touch pressure stimulation evenly across your body which releases happy chemicals in your brain that are responsible for relaxation.
The weighted blanket I own is from an Australian company called Neptune Blankets and I use them for sleep. You can choose the right blanket based on your body weight generally, the best blanket for you is based on 10% of your body weight. There are other brands out there which you can find. Two great brands are:
Another interesting self-soothing tool is the deep pressure vest. Deep pressure vests are used by those who have sensory processing disorder or autism but they can also be used by those who struggle with anxiety. Basically, a deep pressure vest is a vest you put on that tightly compresses your body similar to a hug. If you would like a lighter option, you can always opt to try out a compression vest used by athletes, such as this one for women or this one for men.