Almost everyone experiences anxiety or panic at some point in life. For the lucky ones, it’s temporary and scarce, but for some, anxiety is a daily battle. Symptoms of anxiety can be both physical and mental. Headaches, nausea and tingling, as well as excessive worry, overall panic and weird and irrational fears, are just a few of the wide range of symptoms associated with constant anxiety. Whether or not you choose to take medication to help control anxiety, tricks for calming yourself when there’s a flair up or panic attack are essential. Here are a few tips to ease your anxiety.
1. Five senses
If you’re in the midst of a panic attack, try the “five senses” trick. This will ground you and allow you to be better aware of your surroundings any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’ve lost control of a situation. Write it down on a sticky note and keep in in your wallet, at your desk or in the car… wherever you think it would be helpful.
5: Find five things around you that you can see, like a phone, a pen, a cup, a lamp and a window.
4: Find four things you can touch around you, like a couch, computer mouse, burger pillow and TV remote.
3: Find three things you can hear, like a phone ringing, wind chimes outside and the TV.
2: Find two things you can smell, like candle and a freshly washed blanket.
1: Fine one thing you can taste, like coffee.
Remember to breathe. One of the most important things that people often forget when having a panic or anxiety attack is normal breathing. Skip the deep breaths. Instead, regulate your breathing as normal as possible. Otherwise, you could get dizzy and pass out.
3. Counting with friends
Another trick I learned recently is a number trick. The purpose is to trick your brain to focus on the numbers instead of your panic attack. Grab a friend and ask them to name off random numbers in no particular order and repeat them one at a time. Keep doing this until the panic subsides.
Sometimes doing everyday things can be tricky when living with anxiety. Making phone calls can be an intimidating task, so focus on another task while making the call. It can ease anxiety when you focus on doing something like playing Mario Kart, coloring, doodling or cleaning. People with anxiety are ballin’ multitaskers.
5. Call a friend
One of the most beneficial things for someone having a panic attack is to have a reliable friend to contact. Although your friends love you, the last thing someone having a panic attack wants to hear is a friend, even with good intentions, saying “just calm down” over and over again. No one understands anxiety better than another person with anxiety, so find a support group or friends that understand your struggles with anxiety.
These tricks can help when you’re in a pinch, but there’s no substitute for proper medication and therapy if that’s the route of treatment you choose. Anxiety is scary. Those suffering from it deserve to know that the way they’re feeling is real and valid. Your wellbeing is important.