Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, impacting 40 million adults aged 18 and over each year. Most people begin experiencing anxiety symptoms before the age of 21.
Something sets you off, and before you know it, you’re trapped in a never-ending loop of unpleasant thoughts, contemplating everything that could possibly go wrong. Your body tenses, your pulse quickens, and your heartbeat becomes audible. If your anxiety kicks in like this, it’s time to learn the art of calming down your anxiety.
The first step is awareness and knowledge. You should know what the signs of anxiety are and what you should do right after you experience them. While each type of anxiety disorder has distinctive symptoms, the base symptoms include:
- Frequent sleep troubles
- Unusual fatigue
- Feeling edgy
- Uncontrolled worry
Whether you’re feeling anxious about doing something, meeting someone, or have a generalized anxiety disorder, here are five coping strategies that can help you manage and calm down your anxiety like a pro. Some of these might feel difficult to try at first, but they can become a quick relief for you with some practice.
When you feel your heart beating fast, inhale and exhale slowly. Take shallow breaths, and it’ll trick the brain into creating a positive reaction loop emphasizing your fight-or-flight response. Take a break, slowly count to 10 and keep repeating until you feel better and calm.
Practice various breathing techniques and understand what helps you the most when you’re anxious. One of the most effective breathing techniques is three-part breathing that requires you to take one deep breath in and exhale it fully while paying attention to your body: the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. Learn more about this technique from Yoga with Najah.
- Follow The 3-3-3 Rule
Distract yourself. Try anything that can redirect your attention away from unpleasant thoughts. The 3-3-3 rule is to look around and name three things you can see, hear, and feel. It might sound silly, but it really works. Look around yourself and recognize the first three things you see, hear your surrounding noises, name them, and then move three parts of your body. This mental trick can help bring your mind to the center and make you feel fully present in the moment.
- Close Your Eyes and Visualize
Closing your eyes can provide your brain with a much-needed break. Put your breathing methods into practice for this tip. Close your eyes and envision yourself calm after taking a few deep breaths. Imagine your body is relaxed while you work through your anxiety and stress. Once you create this mental image of what it looks like to be calm, you can turn back to it when you feel anxious and worried about something.
- Pen Down Your Stress
Journaling is not only fun, but it can also make you feel calm and help you reach solutions that you had never thought of before. If you’re feeling stressed, write down your problems in a journal, type them on your computer, or even on the note app on your phone. Try to be honest about your feelings to gain the benefits. Whether it’s stress about school, weight, relationships, or anything of that sort, journaling can help you manage anxiety and deal with stress.
- Sing or Listen to Music
Listening to soothing music can lower down your heart rate and blood pressure. Make sure you have music accessible so you can listen to your favorite tunes or nature sounds. Compile playlists and listen to them to get relief from your symptoms instantly. Singing also causes the body to release oxytocin, which reduces anxiety. You don’t even have to be good at it. So, just sing your stress away.
Contact The Professionals!
Need someone to talk with, or are you looking for professional treatments? Contact Houston OCD Counseling. We’re here to help you understand and deal with your anxiety. For more information, please get in touch with us and make an appointment with a counselor.