Anxiety is a common feeling that most of us experience throughout life. However, for some, anxiety can be more pervasive and debilitating. As someone with an anxiety disorder, I have learned and practiced many tools to help me relax and reduce my anxiety. Here are just a few that I use on a daily basis:
1. Count your breaths
If you’re feeling anxious, a simple but very effective way to calm anxiety and your nervous system down is to count your breaths. You can do this in a number of different ways, you can count your inhales until you reach 10, and then start over again. Or you can practice counting your breath in cycles of 4: Count to 4 on the inhale, hold for 4, exhale for 4, and then hold for 4, then repeat. Counting your breaths brings your focus to your breathing and off of the thoughts running through your mind that might be causing you to feel anxious.
2. Focus on your 5 senses
Another way to calm yourself down when feeling anxious is to focus on yours 5 senses. Focus on what you are seeing, what you could touch, what you are hearing and smelling, and what you are tasting in that moment. Bringing your attention to what you notice through your 5 senses helps you to not focus on the thoughts in your mind that might contributing to your anxiety.
3. Focus on facts NOT fears
If you know for a fact that it is the thoughts you are having that are causing the anxiety, a helpful tip is to write down the facts of the situation. Too often when we’re anxious, we are actually thinking about the future and worse case scenarios that probably won’t happen. Writing down the facts of the situation can bring your rational brain back on line and help challenge the anxious thoughts and fears you are having.
I hope these tools help you as much as they have helped me!