Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. My purpose is to provide resources and information. I cannot be held responsible for the use of any information provided. If you deal with any mental health condition, I advise you to please talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. Any tips shared here have helped me with my own mental health and in my own personal experience, but they are not a substitute for professional advice.
Anxiety isn’t easy to live with, but it can be managed. Here are 6 tips I use to keep me grounded and in the present when I feel my anxiety taking over.
Oh, anxiety–the ever-present bug on your shoulder telling you to be more and live in constant fear. It’s not fun, and if you deal with it too, I’m sorry.
I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was a kid, so I’ve accepted that it’s just a part of who I am. But it ebbs and flows (there are periods where it’s more intense and periods where it’s way more manageable), and there are a few things I’ve found that help when it feels like the anxiety is going to completely take over.
1. Take a bath.
I used to hate baths, but now I love them! I add some bath salts, or epsom salt and lavender, or maybe a bath bomb, then just sit and relax. It’s luxurious, helps me calm down, and allows me to sit and breathe for a little bit. I work baths into my weekly schedule (Sunday nights) to try to manage my anxiety. And then on days when my anxiety is on overdrive, I sneak in an extra bath!
2. Get active.
When my anxiety gets to be too much, it helps to be active or get moving. This is sometimes hard because I often feel paralyzed by my anxiety, but it’s good to get my body moving and release those endorphins. Sometimes I do a full workout, but usually I do something more manageable in those moments of intensity like go for a brisk walk, clean my kitchen, or organize a room. This is also a great time to have a dance party. The combination of upbeat music and moving the body does wonders for the mind!
3. Use essential oils.
I use DoTerra oils, and I love balance, peace, or lavender. Or if my anxiety is keeping me awake at night, I’ll use Serenity. Use whatever oils you feel help you, personally. I like to diffuse them, or use a roller bottle and put them on my temples, behind my ears, on my wrists, or on the bottoms of my feet.
Before I ever used essential oils, I thought they were weird and wouldn’t help. But one night when I was dealing with some bad stomach pain, I caved and tried them and it took away the pain almost immediately. I was sold and haven’t looked back since. They almost always help!
4. Focus on your breathing.
I know when I’m anxious, my breathing goes all out of whack. And when we aren’t getting adequate breath, our bodies don’t function as well. So pause, take a few deep breaths, and count it out.
I have an app, MetroTimer, that I turn on that keeps beat with a beep. I find a quiet spot away from the chaos (this might mean locking yourself in your room for a couple minutes). I set the timer for 5 minutes (sometimes longer), then I close my eyes and breath.
I like to picture a rectangle as I do this. As I breathe in, I picture myself drawing the first line up the rectangle and count to three. Then I hold it in and draw a line across the rectangle for 4 beats, then let out my breath and draw down for 3 beats, and finally hold and finish the shape for 4 beats. Then I repeat. It’s soothing and grounds me back in reality. Afterward, I feel a calmer and ready to finish my day.
5. Repeat some short affirmations.
I say, out loud, whatever I need to hear to remind myself that I’ll get through this:
- It’s okay.
- I am strong.
- I can do hard things.
- I am loved.
- I am enough.
- I will get through this.
- Things will work out.
- I’m okay.
- I am here.
Repeating a few short phrases, out loud to myself, reminds me that I am stronger than my anxiety and gives me the boost I need to overcome it in the moment.
6. Ground yourself in your surroundings.
When I’m having an actual panic attack, or I can tell I’m headed there fast, I ground myself in my surroundings by focusing on my senses.
- What are 5 things I see?
- What are 4 things I feel?
- What are 3 things I hear?
- What are 2 things I smell?
- What is 1 thing I taste?
This slows me down, makes me focus on something other than the anxiety, and grounds me in my setting. It’s definitely stopped more than one panic attack for me and is SUPER helpful!
What do you do to manage your anxiety when it gets overwhelming?
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