It seems like more and more people are opening up about their experiences with anxiety these days.
Perhaps the stigma around discussing mental health is finally fading away, or maybe we’re all a little on edge. After all, in our fast-paced society, sometimes it feels hard to find a moment to just breathe.
When those anxious thoughts spring up, it helps to know how to cope.
How can you calm down when your head is spinning, and your stomach is in knots? If you can develop a “toolbox” of skills you can rely on, dealing with anxiety will be that much easier.
Here are a few self-soothing strategies that can help you get rid of those anxious thoughts and feelings.
1. Slow Breathing
Taking slow, deliberate breaths can help calm your nervous system when your
anxiety starts revving up. Try counting backward from ten to get into a rhythm—breathe in for five seconds, and then breathe out.
This helps you turn your focus to the present and release some of the tension you’re probably holding in your body. Sometimes, it just takes a few minutes of slow breathing to get into a better mindset.
2. Simple Yoga Pose
Sometimes, striking a pose can do wonders for soothing anxiety—a yoga pose, that is!
Sure, this method is better if you’re alone, but even if you’re in a crowd, some basic stretching can really help you shake off all that pent up energy. For example, try rolling your shoulders forward and backward or rolling out your neck, and syncing up your breath with those movements.
At home with room to move? Get into a flow for five minutes and see how much better you feel afterward.
By incorporating a consistent meditation practice into your daily routine, you will probably start to feel less anxious overall.
Meditating regularly will help you stay calm in the midst of chaos, and you’ll be able to keep a cool head while everyone else is stressing out. You can also turn to this skill in the moment your anxiety kicks in.
Find a quiet place to yourself for a few minutes, and give yourself a little time to close your eyes and breathe. You can also focus on a mantra that brings you back to the present, like “I am safe.”
4. Get Grounded
Anxious thoughts running wild even when you know that you have nothing to worry about? Look at your surroundings and focus on concrete proof that you are okay. Think of five things to ground and comfort yourself. It can be as basic as, “I am breathing” or “I am in a familiar place.”
By anchoring yourself in the moment and sending the message to your brain and body that, yes, everything really is fine, you can clear your head. You can repeat these messages to yourself as many times as you need.
5. Positive Self-Talk
Whether you are alone or surrounded by people, engaging in a little positive self-talk can help you kick those anxious thoughts. If you’re in a crowded room, you may not want to talk to yourself out loud. But if you have the chance to excuse yourself and get a little privacy, give it a try.
Talk to yourself in a compassionate yet authoritative tone, like a parent talking to a child. Let yourself know that it’s all going to be okay and that this, too, shall pass. You may not believe these affirmations at first, but keep at it for a few minutes and watch how your mood changes.
If you can’t seem to shake those anxious thoughts despite trying self-soothing techniques, you may want to consider seeking the help of a trained and caring professional. Therapy is a proven way to address anxious thoughts and feelings at the core. Contact me today to see how we can work together to manage your anxiety.