I get it, I’ve been there too. You need something to reduce your anxiety right now because you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious and antsy. Here’s some tips and practices on how to calm down.
Not every practice will work for every one. Some of these work for me sometimes, and sometimes they don’t. That’s why I have so many to draw from and try when I need it. I hope this helps you.
What If I have Anxiety Right Now? Here's How to Calm Down
I’ve learned about a lot of techniques to help with anxiety or panic attacks in the moment. Here are some that have helped me the most.
1. Evaluate Your Worries
When I am in the midst of worry and I feel my body start to tingle and my heart start to race, I try to evaluate what exactly I’m getting anxiety over because half time I don’t exactly know!
Once I pinpoint the worry, I validate my feelings: “Yes, this is a big test. It is natural to feel some anxiety beforehand.”
Then I ground my worry and make sure it’s not unrealistic: “This is only a test. It’s a tiny point in my life.”
Then I do some deep breathing techniques. Breath in and count to 2, breath out and count to 4. While breathing I do some more thought validation. I breath until I feel my heart rate calm down.
If my #1 doesn’t do the trick, I try out some gratitude and feelings of self love. I start listing what I’m grateful for.
I am grateful for my husband who loves and supports me.
I am grateful for my family who love and support me.
I am grateful for the fresh air I breathe as I walk through the park.
I am grateful for birdsong, cricket sounds, and the owl’s hoot.
I am grateful for my journal ever there for me to fill with creativity and love.
Listing out what I’m grateful for fills me with appreciation, and gratitude which I feel are opposite from anxiety. I feel it melt away as I think about all the love in my life. Listing things also gets my attention off whatever is giving me anxiety.
Side Note: My favorite Anxiety Podcast
The video below is an episode from one of my favorite podcasts: Your Anxiety Toolkit by Kimberly Quinlan. She is such a help in equipping you with the tools you need to manage your anxiety. Every episode she comes out with is super helpful. The video I embedded below from this podcast could be useful to you as it was for me. She can teach you how to calm down too.
Next on my list is some form of distraction to get my mind away from the snowball of overthinking that tends to happen.
Distraction can be anything from, calling a friend, to cleaning the house, to doing a workout or reading a book. I find all of these to be a great way to help my anxiety go away. Once my mind is pulled out of the worrying thoughts and is focused on something else, I’m past the worst of it.
4. Reading or Journaling
I’m thinking this could be considered a form of distraction since I’m making myself focus on something other than my worries, but this deserves a category all of its own.
I find that reading is actually one of the best ways to help quell my racing thoughts. I focus my mind on my book and get wrapped up in the story I’m reading. I feel my racing mind slow and my body begins to relax.
This is a great option if you find yourself stationery and unable to move from a spot, like you’re sitting passenger seat in a car in traffic. Another thing you could do if you are the person who is driving, is listen to an audiobook in the car. Listening to a book in the car removes that urgency for me if I’m sitting in traffic on my way home from work.
Writing down all your racing thoughts could help as well. I know writing out everything I’m thinking always helps me clear my mind.
5. Deep Breathing
I usually will do this immediately upon feeling anxious and in combination with the other exercises. Deep breathing can really help you relax.
When I feel anxious, I will close my eyes and start breathing in while counting to 2. Then I hold it a second and count to 4 while releasing slowly. I’ll do this as many times as I need to until I feel myself start to calm down.
This is why I love doing Yoga as a preventative practice or even when I’m feeling anxious. The focus on concious breath is most definitely calming.
6. The Five Senses
This last one I’ve found online and a lot of people say it helps them. It’s last on the list because I actually use it the least. I find my other tools more helpful. This however can do the trick of calming your mind and distracting it from the worry at hand.
Here’s how you do it:
5- Acknowledge five things you can see around you.
4- Acknowledge four things you can touch around you.
3- Acknowledge three things you hear.
2- Acknowledge two things you smell.
1- Acknowledge one thing you can taste.
I see my desk, pen, water bottle, paper, and phone. I can touch my cardigan, soft chair, smooth desk and the ground under my feet. I can hear typing, sniffling, and chatter from people near by. I can smell my pencil shavings and clean smell of my face mask. I can taste a hint of tomato lingering from my lunch.
After you’ve successfully listed all the senses, you should feel yourself relaxing.
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