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Some Self Soothing Anxiety Tips

Dealing with anxiety is one of the most draining things to go through. It can be so difficult to manage and can make us feel so out of control. This past year has only made it so much worse thanks to the pandemic that felt never ending. We totally get it and we feel that it’s important to help one another get through hard times and work on our mental wellbeing. 

Whether you struggle with anxiety on a daily basis or just want to ease some occasional tension, these tips are really helpful grounding tools that we believe will make a huge difference in your life. 

Breathing Exercises & Meditation

When we are at the peak of our anxiety, it can be really frustrating to hear someone say “Just breathe” as it isn’t always that simple. However, doing a breathing exercise can really help the body calm down and prevent you from going into full panic mode. It may take time to get into the habit of using these exercises daily, but it does make all the difference. 

Simply start by closing your eyes and very slowly breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Repeat this until you feel yourself calming down. You can also add to this by counting as you do it. For example, count to 4 as you breathe in and count to 5 as you breath out. You could also hold your breath for a couple seconds after you’ve counted to 4, then breathe out, then hold again for another couple seconds. 

You can also try downloading a breathing exercise app if you want to try different ones. They help guide you through it and will play soothing background sounds to calm you. Most of them are free for basic features and also have premium versions available. Some of the ones we’ve tried are Calm, iBreath, and Breathwrk. 

If you want to take this a step further, you can do some guided meditation which can really help with relaxation and mindfulness. Over time, it can really improve your focus, mood, and mental health as a whole. Apps like Headspace and Wim Hof Method are great to guide you through meditation and deep breathing. Wim Hof also has a YouTube channel with breathing exercise videos and they are available in multiple languages. 

Body Scan 

If you’re someone who holds lots of tension in their body, this is a great tool to release it and ease some of that anxiety. You essentially scan your body from head to toe for any tension and then release it little by little. Start with your head and focus on where you’re holding tension, then release it. Then focus on your neck, then your shoulders, then your chest, etc. Work all the way down and release all the tension as you go.  Sometimes we don’t even realize how much tension we have until we focus on it. You can also do some deep breathing while you scan to really relax the body and the mind. 

Grounding Techniques 

If you feel yourself losing control of your anxiety, grounding techniques are the best for keeping you in the present and regaining some of that control. A grounding technique usually requires the use of your senses to calm you down. For example, try holding something that feels comforting and focus on how it looks, how it smells, or what it feels like in your hands. 

Another technique is to observe your surroundings. What are 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you smell or would like to, and 1 thing you would like to taste? These grounding techniques take your mind away from all those racing thoughts and feelings of anxiety and instead helps you focus on yourself in the present. 

Self Care 

Everybody should participate in at least one self care activity a day. It is so important to take the time to relax and do something for yourself. If you don’t currently do self care, then we want you to start from now on. It can be something so simple like putting on a nourishing face mask or drinking a soothing herbal tea. 

If you have a little more time to spare then we recommend going all out for yourself! Light some candles, pour some wine, grab a book or magazine, and sit in a warm, relaxing bath for at least 20 minutes. You could also watch your favorite movie, eat some comfort food, draw a picture, listen to music, bake some cookies, or whatever it is that you think would ease your mind and add joy to your day. 

The great thing about self care is that it can be whatever you want it to be because it’s about taking care of you! If there is an activity you have been meaning to do, but keep pushing it off, we want you to take even just 10 minutes out of your day to do it. We promise it’ll be worth it! 

Journaling 

Many people regulate their feelings and anxiety by writing it all down in a journal. This can be done right when you wake up, right before bed, or even both. There isn’t one way to journal and you can write whatever it is you want. Some people write about their day listing the negatives and the positives, while others write about their goals and aspirations. You could write daily affirmations or you could make it a creative journal and create cute aesthetic pages out of clippings and drawings. It truly is up to you and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Taking the time to focus your energy into writing or creativity allows you to relax your mind especially before you begin your day or go to bed. 

Exercise  

Another way to get your anxiety down is to do some very low intensity exercises. Exercises like yoga, pilates, barre, and even some light walking will relieve tension in the body, lift your mood, and will help keep your mind in the present. High intensity workouts will only elevate your heart rate drastically, which we don’t want while anxious. Physical activity is such an amazing way to improve both our physical and mental wellbeing. Over time, your mood will increase and your anxiety will decrease. You can find classes at your local fitness centers or there are really good workout videos on YouTube for free!

Just a reminder that this is not a replacement for professional treatment. If your anxiety is interfering with daily life and is causing you excessive amounts of distress, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.

Author: Taylor .S

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