As someone with diagnosed anxiety who has been told their whole life to just “be more positive” and that it’s “all in your head”, I get it. While words of affirmation do help in some situations, they can feel useless in the midst of an oncoming anxiety attack. Here are some easy-to-remember ways that have helped me soothe my anxiety in the past.
This one may seem obvious, but there have been times where I find myself almost hyperventilating because I completely forget to breathe. Taking deep breaths is a good way to help your heart rate steady itself and to help your mind slow itself down. The science behind this says that deep breathing will allow more oxygen into your brain to stimulate the part that brings a state of calmness.
Lightly Scratching Your Forearms
This may sound a little weird at first and it sure isn’t a tip you will find on medical websites, but the undersides of your forearms are extremely sensitive to touch. In my experience, it brings a lightness to my mind and lets me breathe normally again when I practice this method. Sometimes, I’ll even ask my mom to do it when I need to vent and let out what is on my mind, which brings me to number 3.
Bottling up your emotions, especially when you are experiencing anxiety, can lead to bitterness, which nobody purposely brings upon themselves. This is why you should try and find a partner who you are able to openly talk to about your feelings. There’s nothing better than another person who can understand and help you in your battle against these negative emotions. I recommend talking to a parent, a friend, or even a therapist. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you need a little extra help in your journey to peace of mind. Too many are too prideful and only send themselves down a deeper hole by not expressing their thoughts.
Writing it Down
If you are for any reason unable to talk to someone else about your anxiety, writing your feelings down is the next best thing. Some of you might not be ready to be vulnerable with another person, and that’s okay, which is why writing can be very helpful. A lot of times, you can forget what’s happening and blackout when having an attack, so if you’re able to write down, go back, analyze, and identify these thoughts, you can soothe your mental state easier when you start to feel those emotions again. And, if you do ever decide to go to a therapist, the writings can help them to understand the best route to take with your anxiety.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Method
This method is more mainstream and many people have heard of it, but for those who haven’t, the 5-4-3-2-1 method is one where you name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This practice has saved me many a time. It helps by taking your mind off of what is causing you anxiety and lets you think rationally again. It truly is one of the best coping mechanisms and there’s a reason it is so popular to use.
I hope these methods that I use are able to help some of you who are struggling right now. Just remember, so many people have overcome this, and you can too if you put your mind to it. Do what’s best for you and don’t let anyone or anything hinder the process.