Those who suffer with anxiety, or bouts of extreme stress often feel like when they are about to explode, there isn’t much that will calm them down. Using the word ‘guaranteed’ in the title might have been a tad ambitious here. The truth is, before trying some of these strategies, you may have to let the storm pass a little.
I am not saying that these techniques will solve all your problems or stop a panic attack in its tracks, but they will most likely have some sort of calming effect on you, even if it is minimal. If you want them to work, you have to try them on a regular basis, and put 100% effort into them. Doing them when you are not feeling stressed or anxious can also beneficial.
I find, that if I don’t do some of these things when I am starting to feel the anxiety build, then I will just spiral out of control. The negative thoughts and terrifying feelings will just eat away at me until I end up crumpled on the floor. It doesn’t have to be this way, anxiety doesn’t have to beat you every time it strikes.
If you try some of these techniques and manage to calm yourself down just once, then you have made a breakthrough. After years of anxiety, I have a nifty collection of coping techniques that help to return the calm after the storm. I am not saying I am an expert, I have just used my own experiences as a learning curve, and I want to share what I have learned with others.
Have a go at some of these and let me know how you get on. I would be interested to discover which ones other people find most useful. I have ranked them in order, starting with the strategies that help me the most. Here goes…
I know this sounds a little bit of an obvious one but please hear me out. When I am at my absolute worst, this is the one thing that can sometimes help me. I have only had a few instances where it has failed.
Usually when I am having a bout of anxiety for some odd reason I avoid helping myself (or at least I used to), and more often than not it’s my lovely boyfriend who forces me to listen to this. The app is called I Can Hypnosis, and currently it can only be used on Apple devices. If you don’t have an iPhone fear not, there are very similar apps available on Android.
This app won’t completely hypnotise you and program your mind to work properly again. It might however get you relax, and even fall asleep (don’t worry, it gently wakes you at the end). Most times I listen to it I eventually drift off to sleep, Donald’s voice is just so soothing.
It’s literally the only thing that can truly calm me down when I feel like the world is going to end. This app is a godsend.
Give it a go, or Google anxiety or stress relief apps.
I have always refused to try Yoga, despite knowing deep down how good it would be for me. I have always enjoyed very physical, high energy exercise, and thought that Yoga would be a massive snoozefest. Well I was obviously wrong. It’s amazeballs.
Since I have been doing it I have a general sense of calm and I am almost certain it has improved my overall wellbeing. I start most days off with a half hour session of Yoga, which is the perfect way to get me ready for the day. It clears my mind and stretches out my very stiff and quite inflexible body. I find it also helps counteract the fact that I sit at a computer all day, and helps with some aches and pains that working on a laptop causes.
You can also use Yoga if you start to feel anxious. It can be incredibly soothing and calming, and if you choose the relaxation class you may even drift off briefly.
As soon as you feel anxiety creeping up on you, get out your yoga mat, light a few candles and switch off with a Yoga sesh.
I haven’t been to a class yet (but I intend to), I just use a nifty app called Yoga Studio. It has three ability levels to choose from, beginner, intermediate and advanced and you can choose from 15 minute, 30 minute or 60 minute classes. I also adore the calming music that this app plays, it definitely helps to soothe the mind.
I am a bit of a medication newbie. I haven’t done it a huge amount, but when I do, afterwards I feel like I can conquer the world.
In this day and age, it helps to have a much needed break from all the noise. We have so much to think about and so many distractions that taking some time out is essential.
I personally find meditation quite hard because it’s often focused around your breathing (depending on which type you do). I have problems with breathing, whenever I think about my breathing, for some reason I get more anxious. So when I meditate I think about how each part of my body feels, or focus on sounds instead.
Start off by trying to do two or three minutes of mediation at a time, and work your way up to doing longer. Find a quiet space in your home and sit comfortably. Play some calming music or simply sit there in silence.
The technique I use is going through each of my body parts and consciously relaxing them one by one, and also listening to the different sounds around me.
Listen out for sounds that you don’t normally even notice, such as birds singing, planes passing in the sky or a clock ticking. Whenever a negative or distracting thought comes into your head, notice it, and then refocus your mind on the task at hand.
Going to your ‘calm’ place
When someone first gave me the advice to go to my happy place when I felt worried or anxious, I wanted to laugh in their face. Sure, imagining a relaxing place will magically eliminate the intense feelings of anxiety from within me…not.
However, I have come around to this idea gradually. It doesn’t work for me when I am really hyped up. It’s better when I feel the anxiety building in my chest, or when I am trying to drift peacefully off to sleep at night. I has the potential to stop a bout of anxiety happening in the first place.
All you have to do is imagine a place where you feel completely safe and happy. It can be an imaginary place or a place you have been to, or even somewhere that you regularly visit.
Close your eyes and picture yourself in this place. What does it look like? Who is with you (FYI you may be alone)? What are you doing? What sounds can you hear? What does this place smell/feel like? The more you can immerse yourself in this peaceful scenario, they easier it will be to calm down.
I have a few different places I use, most of which are by the sea. Here’s some of them.
These four techniques seem to work for me, and I hope they can give you some comfort too. You can choose the right one depending on your mood and what you feel most open to. Let me know how you get on!
The Content Wolf xxx