While anxiety is a natural part of life, it sometimes gets out of control, inflicting devastating harm on your life. Even when you gain relief from its grip, the threat of its return is always lurking. If you’ve had bouts of severe anxiety, then you may feel like you don’t have any control over it.
When anxiety strikes, it can consume you. It’s difficult to rationalize away, and people often don’t understand what’s going on with you. As the waves of anxiety threaten to overwhelm you, taking you down into their depths, don’t give up. There are ways to cope in the moment.
Although it takes time to see a change in yourself, using good coping strategies can help you alleviate some of the burden of your anxiety, allowing you to calm your mind. Everyone is different, but you can find something that works for you. To find relief, choose several coping strategies to use when anxiety strikes.
Take a moment to calm yourself.
While it sounds obvious, how often do you stop everything to address your anxiety? If you can just take ten minutes to quiet your mind, you’ll be on the path to calm when you’re finished.
Breathing exercises are an excellent first step to calming your anxiety. While there are several ways to breathe, focusing on slow breaths is the easiest option for anxious people. All you have to do is focus on breathing out slowly, and your body will naturally adjust your breaths so that you also breathe in slowly. This will help you slow your heart rate and reduce some of the tightening in your chest.
You could also try meditation while you practice breathing slowly. Sitting or walking meditation can be helpful. You could try a guided meditation, or you could just be in the moment. Shut off all external stimuli and focus on a chosen mantra or word. That word could simply be “peace.” When thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and let them pass.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
Engaging in light exercise is a great way to relieve anxiety because it helps you release some of the adrenaline and stress hormones that are flowing through your body. If these hormones stay in your system, then you’ll continue to feel anxious.
Going outside to get your activity can have added benefits because nature also has a positive effect on your mood. Even short periods of time in nature can give you a boost, so try taking a ten minute walk outside to get you started on the road to wellness.
Another great option is yoga, which combines breathing exercises and moving your body. Studies show that yoga can help you manage your stress and anxiety. In addition to calming your mind, it reduces your heart rate and slows your breathing so that your body can calm down. If you need help choosing simple yoga poses that you can do when you’re feeling anxious, here is a great guide: https://yogainternational.com/poses/.
- Go for a walk.
- Do light cardio.
- Perform a few yoga poses.
Hydrate your body.
Drinking plenty of water can actually help reduce your stress levels because it alleviates dehydration, which can worsen your body’s stress response. Also, when your body is experiencing stress or anxiety, it dehydrates itself faster because of your stress response, such as increased heart rate.
Be careful about what you choose, however, as caffeine can make your anxiety worse. It stresses your system and makes you feel jittery, which is the opposite of your goal. Even when it seems like you need caffeine the most because you’re up against a deadline or haven’t gotten much sleep, avoid it if you’re feeling anxious.
Calming tea can be a great hydration option, especially if you don’t like water. Choose a caffeine-free option, such as peppermint, chamomile, or a flavored blend.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Sip on a calming tea.
Be kind to yourself.
The last thing you need when you’re feeling anxious is a critical voice in your head. While it’s hard to turn off that part of your mind, you can replace it with positive statements. Make a gratitude list. You can list things in your mind, write them down, or look at photos that remind you of them, such as family pictures.
Give yourself some positive self-talk. Instead of telling yourself what you’ve done wrong or how you need to improve, tell yourself what’s going right or how hard you’re working. Tell yourself that things will be okay. You can use the suggestions below or create your own statements that are relevant to your life.
Use your access to the internet and social media to collect a few inspiring quotes that resonate with you. Collect them in a folder on your phone or computer so that you can remind yourself of them whenever you feel anxious. You could even print some out to post in your home.
- Count your blessings.
- Try some positive self-talk:
- “I’m doing all that I can and trust that it will be enough.”
- “Things are well with me because in this moment I am here.”
- “If I look for the silver lining, I always find it.”
- “I am the narrator of my own story, so I control the ending.”
- “In this moment there is no future or past. There is only stillness.”
- Find inspiring quotes that resonate with you.
When anxiety creeps into your mind, you do have options for finding relief. Each time may be different and everyone responds to things differently, but see what works for you. You deserve to have a calm mind and spirit.