It’s not news that at some point in life, everyone struggles with anxiety. That being said, anxiety can hurt some of us more than others.
If you suffer from anxiety on a regular basis or have suffered from it before and you need some effective ways to tune it down on your own, then this article is for you.
However, before we get into the good part, we just need to say that these methods might not be enough if you’re axiety turns into a full-blown panic attack. If you have panic attacks on the regular then you probably need to seek professional help so you don’t end up in a dangerous situation.
Now, let me first explain what counts as anxiety.
What Exactly is Anxiety?
If you ask professionals like Healthline, they’d say that anxiety is when you feel fear as a response to a social situation or a thinking marathon. It is usually accompanied with a fast heart rate, being restless, stomachache, and sometimes uncomfortable breathing.
In a strictly medical sense, nobody really knows a definitive root of why anxiety happens. But, some psychologists believe the following:
Anxiety stems from trying to control a situation.
Some Situations that Trigger Anxiety
We feel anxious when we’re either waiting for something to happen, and we’re worried about an unwanted outcome. For example, when you’re waiting for an interview or medical test results. In these situations, we keep going through scenarios where the outcome we don’t want happens, and we wish we could control the outcome. So we start to feel anxious.
On another note, we may feel anxious in social situations when we might be judged. So, if you’re waiting for a blind date and you’re scared they might see you from the window and leave (Ross Geller will never know), you might start feeling anxious.
A third case when one might feel anxious is when you’re hanging out alone, at home, at your office or wherever, and your mind starts replaying memories of you in a stressful situation or starts to list out reasons why nobody likes you.
In all three cases, there is a way to not let anxiety ruin your day.
How to Tone Anxiety Down
If you want to ease your anxiety or start healing it. You need to both understand why it happens and some techniques to help calm your nerves when you feel it taking over.
1. Acknowledge That Anxiety Is on Your Side, Not Against You.
Your feelings don’t happen randomly. Your emotions are the way your body communicates with you to tell you that something isn’t right and you might be ignoring it.
In that sense, if you experience anxiety a lot, you need to understand that it’s more likely than not because of a certain aspect of your life where you need to heal. So, ask yourself if everything is going well at work, with your parents, and/or with your relationships. It could even be your environment that’s causing you stress and making you anxious. For example, if your living space is a complete mess, that’s a sure fire way to almost guarentee an anxiety attack in the times you least expect it.
If any of those topics are unpleasant for you, then you’ve hit your jackpot.
We sometimes get busy and forget to audit our lives in a way that makes us happy. If you do that, you don’t need to judge yourself. We all do it too. We’re all just trying to be more mindful!
When we’re feeling anxious, we tend to breathe rapidly from our chest. This way, we start to feel dizzy and we feel more anxious because of the dizziness.
So, here’s the correct way to breathe when you’re anxious:
- Breathe through your nose into your abdomen (yes, not the chest). You should feel your stomach rise and go back when you’re doing this.
- Relax your shoulders, your jaw, and any muscles that you’re holding tension in.
- Then exhale while relaxing your jaw, it might sound like: “uuushhhh”. Don’t worry, that means it’s working (Any sound will do really.)
Now, if you’re new to abdominal breathing, it might feel a bit hard and weird at first. So, if you think it will cause you discomfort, pause and try again the next day.
Once you learn this, it will all be worth it!
Alternatively, try this third technique to relieve anxiety.
3. The 54321 Grounding Method
This method is very effective when you’re anxious, and in some cases, when you’re having an anxiety attack. Other people call it the see, feel, hear, smell, thing technique.
Here’s how to do it,
While you’re doing this exercise, try to breathe slower, and say the things you name out loud!
- Point out 5 things that you see in the room. (Say them)
- Point out 4 things that you can feel. (Your feet touching the floor or the airbrushing off your ears)
- Point out 3 things that you can hear. (The sound of TV static, maybe someone’s vacuuming in the building)
- Point out 2 things that you can smell. (Or a smell that you like)
- Point out 1 one thing you can taste right now. Or you can say 1 good thing about yourself, or one thing that you like in general.
By the end of these steps, you will have forgotten all about that anxiety!
This method works great when you’re feeling anxious, and also when you’re trying to fight a craving (like quitting smoking). You can also do this exercise when you’re trying to relax.
To sum up, these methods are great for understanding anxiety better, relieving it, and even healing from it in the long term. However, these methods can’t replace medical assistance. So, don’t stop seeing your doctor, please.
Some of the most basic ways to ease anxiety when it’s taking over are to breathe mindfully and to ground yourself using the methods we mentioned above. If you try any of these methods, don’t you tell us which one and how has it helped your experience with it?
Send this to someone you know has suffered from anxiety attacks or could benefit from using one of these methods in any stressful situations they may face.