If you're suffering from anxiety today, I want you to know you're not alone. I am, too. No, I don't think it will make you feel better to know I'm being affected in this way -- but sometimes it helps to know that even people who we consider to be "strong" also can be anxious. Whether you know the cause of your anxiety or panic symptoms or not, there are things you can do to reduce your suffering now.
I find it really important to notice and cope with anxiety rather than let it spiral out of control or to try to suppress it (which only ends up making it more intense). What can you do to help reduce your anxiety today?
Here are some ideas that work for me:
1. I notice my breath. Sometimes this can be even more anxiety provoking initially. Our breath is usually shallow and "scary" when we are anxious. Slowing it down can help substantially. I like to lie down on my back on a soft surface or on the floor or on my yoga mat. I put one hand on my chest and the other on my stomach. I slow my breathing down by inhaling through my nose for a count of 4, then hold for 4, then exhale through pursed lips for 4, then hold for 4. Then I repeat. I do this until I feel a bit calmer.
Calm Your Nervous System
2. While still lying down or sitting in a comfortable position, I put on one of my favorite relaxation CDs. Here are my top choices:
- and this one, Lucinda Bassett's Relaxation Tape, which you can listen to right away on YouTube. (Just an FYI, the echo they added can initially sound creepy, but then if you can let that go, it's a very helpful relaxation session.)
These tend to help me SIGNIFICANTLY. They work on relaxing the nervous system and helping us to convince our minds that there is no emergency -- that just because we have a thought doesn't mean that thought is true.
3. I use yoga balls to relax my nervous system through the sensation of touch. I wrote this post on how it works. It's quite amazing, and it never ceases to amaze me how something so seemingly simple can help calm me down.
Move it, move it
4. If possible, I go for a walk. This can help work off a lot of nervous energy and adrenaline.
5. I get out of the house. Even going to the library or a café or walking around a shopping center can help quell my anxiety. I realize that for some, crowds and public places can increase anxiety, so you'll have to determine if this idea would be effective for you or if you'd be better off going to the shoreline, a park, or something more low key with less traffic.
I've already done number 1 & 2, am seeing improvement, and plan on doing the rest shortly.
What safe, non-harmful ways do you help reduce your anxiety and soothe your nervous system when feeling anxious?
I hope this post helped you in some way today.
Thanks for reading.