After over five years of dealing with anxiety (more specifically panic disorder) I have learned some helpful tips to managing anxiety also known as kicking its ass. Comment below if you have any helpful tips that I didn’t mention! Each individual will find different things work best for them.
- Name it
This sounds super simple, but anxiety is a tricky villain that prefers disguises so you never see it coming. Do not assume that your symptoms and triggers will always remain the same over time. When you feel the overwhelming intrusive thoughts, the physical tension, the twitchiness, and the sense of doom stop yourself and name what’s happening. I often treat anxiety like a supervillain, but personify the feeling however you like.
2. Breathing exercises
Inhale through your nose to the count of four and then exhale through your mouth again to the count of four. If you can inhale and exhale longer then do so. But the important thing is to keep a rhythm of breath. This action brings oxygen to the brain and starts to signal your brain to calm down.
3. Try a mantra
Repeat to yourself a positive or funny phrase over and over again to block out the intrusive thoughts. I commonly find myself saying “you are okay this will pass”. This phrase doesn’t have to be about yourself it could be something like “Bryan Dechart is a wonderful actor.”
4. Or sing a song
Maybe you’re not the mantra type of person or maybe you can’t think of anything in the moment of anxiety. Try playing one of your favorite songs and singing along to the lyrics. This like the mantra helps block out intrusive thoughts. Plus singing forces you to take deep breaths which bring more oxygen to your brain.
5. Eat a mint
Something sweet or flavorful can help ground you in the present moment. Also if you are like me anxiety can upset your stomach and make you feel nauseous. Mints or chewing a piece of gum can help both things at the same time.
I know I hate it too, but exercise actually reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in your body. You don’t have to work out or go to a gym. Just going for a walk can help. I also find that when I’m feeling restless or twitch going for a walk gives my body something to do and can help re-center me.
7. Deep pressure
Now light touches can set off anxiety, but deep pressure like a really tight bear hug can help reduce anxiety levels. I often give myself a tight squeeze to help reduce the feeling of restlessness or the feeling of disconnecting from my body.
8.Talk it out
Either to a friend, family member, someone online, a counselor, or by calling a free helpline talk about what you are feeling. Let them remind you that someone cares about you and that you are a valued individual. Let them remind you of your strengths and successes.
9. If all else fails endure,
Sometimes a panic attack has already set in and you can’t stop it. Now that sucks believe me. But always remember that there is hope for a brighter dawn. There is always hope to experience wonderful new things, and love, and true friendships, and new knowledge. Anxiety is temporary. Today may not be good. And honestly tomorrow may not be good either. But always keep fighting for yourself and your dreams.
I hope these tips can be useful to someone out there.
One positive change at a time- Cat