Let me start by saying that I’m not a medical professional and these tips are not a substitute for medication or professional help. I fully believe that medication and therapy have their place. Anxiety and panic attacks are very serious; please talk with your physician or a medical professional!
I recently posted a story on Instagram asking if anyone had tips for anxiety. The truth is, I was in the middle of a panic attack. I haven’t officially been diagnosed with anxiety, but have had it for a long time – even before I could put a name to it. I specifically asked for tips other than medication and essential oils (both of which I am well versed on, so I was looking for alternatives). I have tried essential oils, but haven’t found them to do much for me personally.
I was overwhelmed (in the best way!) with the response to my little story. People that I don’t even know personally offered to lend an ear anytime I need. It was one of the kindest, most touching things I’ve experienced. The truth is, we don’t always have someone to talk to or maybe we find it hard to fully express ourselves. The following is a list of the tips I received. I had never heard of many of these and found them to be very helpful. My hope is that they help someone else too!
- If you’re home and have pets (or if there’s a cuddly pup around), it’s always helpful to pet and snuggle your dog or cat!
- Leave where you are. More specifically, go outside. Take a walk or go for a run. Breathe in the fresh air.
- Drink a big glass of water.
- Listen to your favorite music. I find that the wrong music can contribute to my anxiety. If you have Spotify, find a “chill mood” type station.
- Count to 100 and back to 1.
- Take a hot bath or shower (if you’re like me and don’t like baths!). One tip was to put some Vick’s vapor rub on the wall of the shower – I’m definitely trying this soon!
- Practice meditation and breathing techniques. There are some great meditation apps (Headspace is one I know of); I tried one once and it made me anxious… go figure. But it helps a lot of people!
- Do yoga. This helps with the breathing too. If you aren’t into yoga, do whatever exercise you enjoy.
- Weighted blanket or a tight hug from a loved one. The blanket is a great idea, one that I want to look into..
- This one I loved and for sure will be trying next time. It’s a grounding technique: slowly and deliberately acknowledge 5 things you can see, then 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste.
- Similarly to that one, look around the room and name things you an see (for example, I see a yellow wall, a clean sink, the oven is on).
- Play a game on your phone like Candy Crush (or Two Dots – it’s pretty entertaining and mindless). Something that distracts you and causes you to focus on something else.
- Start a gratitude journal. I have one within my bullet journal and need to start it up again. Name 3 things each day you’re thankful for. Say them out loud or write them down.
- Lie down on the floor on your back and close your eyes. Breathe deep. This helps calm your fight or flight defense by grounding you and making you feel safe.
- Find a mantra you like. Memorize it, then concentrate on and repeat it.
- Knit! Duh! Most of these tips were from knitters. But if you have another hobby, do that. Keep your hands busy.
- Someone suggested organizing and I think that’s a great idea! Organizing or even cleaning always calms me.
- Obviously, eating well and getting enough sleep is never a bad idea!
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol during stressful times. I find that I have to limit caffeine anyway, as I’m very sensitive to it.
That’s all the ones that were recommended to me! I’m quoting some verbatim, because I liked the way it was said, but I’m not giving credit to protect the privacy of my friends. If you contributed a tip and/or messaged me, thank you from the bottom of my heart! It means so much.
If you have any other things that have helped you with anxiety, please feel free to leave them in a comment! And please, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance. There is no shame in helping yourself, ever! And lastly, know that you’re never alone.