Your body feels hot, your breathing gets short and you can’t seem to get out of your own mind. You are having an anxiety attack and it feels like it will never stop.
Anxiety is not your friend, but it doesn’t have to be your enemy. There are ways you can learn to control it and to come back to reality when it starts to spiral out of control. You can do these things without drugs and therapy. You can do them all on your own, whenever you need them. All you need is the how.
If you suffer from anxiety or are even just prone to feeling a little anxious now and then, these coping mechanisms can help calm you down. Add them to your arsenal of anti-anxiety tools and allow them to work their magic for you.
Relax All of Your Muscles
This process is longer than it sounds but it is easy to do. Start with your feet. Tighten and release them. Once they are released you will be able to tell whether or not you were unconsciously clenching them beforehand. Once they are relaxed, work your way up the body. Make sure you are not tensing your shoulders or jaw as this can cause significant physical pain. Keep tensing and relaxing certain parts of your body that you feel clenching up again.
Tell Yourself That it Is Going to End
Perhaps one of the worst things about an anxiety attack is the fear that it will never end. It will either go on forever or you will die. But, neither of those are true and deep down you know this. The bad feeling is going to pass eventually; you just need to ride this out. It can be hard in the heat of the moment to remind yourself of these things but you need to. If it helps, write it down somewhere and then read it back to yourself when you are anxious.
Focus on Positive Things
Again, this can be challenging in the heat of the moment, but there are always positive things to think about. It can be something you have achieved in the past or something you are looking forward to. If that doesn’t work, simply think about your breathing and consider how lucky you are to be alive and healthy. Think about people you love and things that you love to do. Even something as simple as a particularly good snack you’ve eaten recently can help bring you back from the precipice.
Take Your Mind Off It
A lot of people prescribe colouring for when you are feeling anxious. There is certainly something very soothing about creating something and colouring is simple and stress-free. If you don’t have any colouring materials or you don’t enjoy colouring, grab your laptop and watch your favourite comedian or TV series. Anything that will take your mind away from your anxiety will help calm you down. As soon as you start laughing or become absorbed in whatever you are creating, you anxiety will start to ease up.