Anxiety and stress are hard enough to control in private, but even harder when you feel you’re in a place where you need to remain composed. My anxiety often comes out of nowhere, and I can feel it coming, most of the time—my mind starts to spiral, I forget to breathe, and I become nauseous. Instead of letting myself spiral into a full-blown panic attack as I would have been wont to do at one point, I’ve come up with a few ways to help myself calm down. Hopefully, these tips help you too, whether you have anxiety or are just going through a stressful time :)
A lot of the time, I realise that I’m not breathing when I get panicky. If you’re like me, you have to remember to breathe in these moments. So, slowly count your breaths. In four seconds, hold for 5-6, release for as long as you can. If you don’t think you can do this, just count your inhales and exhales. You’ll be surprised at how much slow breathing can calm you down.
I’ve found that mint really calms me down. I always have Altoids with me. They’re really strong, not too sweet, and work to either wake me up or calm me and my anxious stomach down when needed.
I swear by this stuff. It has saved me on multiple occasions. It’s simply a magnesium supplement you put in your water. Magnesium is a calming mineral that helps prevent anxiety and nervousness. It can also help with muscle cramps, migraines, and depression.
Movie scores/calming music
If you’re in a position/place where you can, put in a pair of headphones. Movie scores really calm me down. They transport me to a different world and give me something else to focus on than my spiraling thoughts. Listen to something that you know will bring you peace and that will take your mind off what it is you’re going through.
Again, put headphones on if you can.Laughing helps show your body that it’s not in danger and your stress will slowly melt away. Parks & Recreation and Friends always have the ability to make me smile to myself and laugh out loud. We have a private resource room that I’ll go to during the day to do some work. I’ll bring my phone, find some Youtube clips of the shows, and hopefully, laugh my heart out.
Write it out
Much like I’m doing here, if your mind is running a mile a minute, write out what it’s telling you, even if it’s not coherent or making any sense. You’ll be surprised at how much it helps.
If you can’t take a long break, take a trip to the bathroom. If you have a little more time, walk around your room or even go outside. Just getting up from where you’re will help.
Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
Caffeine will only increase your stress levels. I can’t have that much of it because it makes me too anxious on a normal day. Stick to water and herbal tea instead. Alcohol is a depressant and will generally increase feelings of anxiety and stress. I don’t tend to drink very often, and when I do, I like to be in comfortable situations so I know that if I do drink, I’ll have fewer triggers to my anxiety. Finally, as much as I love sugar, it does increase my anxiety levels. Try to stick to foods high in protein and avoid the candy or pastry as much as you can. I struggle with this the most…
Talk with someone
If you have a trusted friend or family member, let them know how you’re feeling. Even if they just listen or provide a shoulder to cry on, talking with someone can really help calm you down. I’ve been there for a good deal of my friends, and they’ve been there for me. If, however, your feelings of stress and anxiety become too much to handle, speak to a health professional, whether a counselor or a doctor.
Cry it out
Sometimes you can’t calm yourself down and that’s ok. Get your feelings out. Everyone has bad days. Tomorrow will be better.