Here are some tricks you can use to combat anxiety. I cannot guarantee any one item will work. Often it takes a combination of tricks in order to ward off the asshole that is anxiety.
Please use whatever you like from this list and comment if you have suggestions and I will add them to the list.
- Practice taking slow, deep breaths
- Triangle breathing: Inhale deeply and imagine drawing the left, upward slant of a triangle, hold that breath and imagine drawing the right downstroke slant of the triangle. Exhale and imagine drawing the bottom line of the triangle. Repeat as needed.
- Box breathing: Slowly inhale and imagine drawing the upstroke on the left side of a square. Hold your breath as you imagine drawing an equal line across the top of the square. As you exhale slowly imagine drawing the line down to the bottom of the square. Finally, hold your breath as you imagine finishing the bottom line of the square. Repeat as needed.
- Practice taking a deep breath in while counting to 5, for example, you decide your number. Next, make an effort to breathe out by 2 counts longer than you inhaled. Repeat as needed.
- Purchase something like a fidget spinner or other small handheld puzzle and take it out to fiddle with as a distraction. Be conscious that you’re using this device only when appropriate, ex. do not use while driving.
- Turn on your favorite music and dance or sing.
- Alphabet Game: Think of cities and towns starting with A, then B and so on until you’ve gone through the entire alphabet. ex. A – Atlanta, B- Banff, C- Cranbrook, and so on. You can switch it up and recite band names, clothing items, animals, whatever you like. You can also play this with a partner and go back and forth until somebody misses a letter. I find it comforting to play this way and sometimes ask my husband to play with me if I’m really wound up.
- Get out some pens and paper and draw anything you like, no judgment, just see where your imagination takes you.
- Grab a colouring book or sheet and work on colouring in whatever page you’re attracted to with markers, pencil crayons, or wax crayons.
- Find some household chore to focus on, like cleaning out a closet and reorganizing it as a distraction.
- Take a hot bath and listen to some soothing music.
- Take a cold shower to bring yourself back from that feeling of numbness or dissociation.
- Call a helpline. They are fantastic at offering suggestions, listening, and helping one to calm down. In Calgary and Southern Alberta, we have a wonderful charity called The Distress Centre 403-266-4357 or http://www.distresscentre.com I’ve called many times, even in the middle of the night as they offer 24-hour service, during panic attacks and they’re incredibly helpful. Do not be afraid your problem isn’t important enough to bother them with. How you feel is important and they will never judge what is causing you distress.
- Go for a walk and be mindful of your body moving or focus on the scenery outside and noticing how your environment specifically looks, smells, feels.
- If you like herbal tea brew yourself a soothing cup of your favourite blend, breathe the scent in deeply, think of other cozy comforts and hold onto the calm it brings.
Please help me out by sending suggestions of things that work for you when anxiety rears its ugly head.
I’d also love to list more crisis phone numbers from all over, please send me helpline info or alternate services for wherever you are.
Don’t forget to check back as I’ll continue to update this list on a regular basis.