How To Calm Down: 4 Things To Do When You Are Anxious
Anxiety happens to almost everyone at some point in their life, whether or not there is a trigger that sets it off. For others, anxiety comes more frequently, leaving them feeling helpless and out of control. Panic can make you feel like you’re possessed, but you don’t have to let it continue to happen unchecked.
PYM has a few ways that you can help calm yourself down, both body and mind, to help reduce feelings of anxiousness.
Each can be effective in their own way, and they give you the tools so that you can help yourself and learn how to calm down during a time when you probably feel the most helpless.
#1) Focus on Your Breathing
One of the most powerful tools that you have to combat anxiety is something you always have with you and that doesn’t cost a thing… your breath. In fact, learning how to use your breathing to help return your mind and body to a sense of calm is one of the kindest things that you can do for yourself.
When you are able to focus on your breathing and slow it down, you’re actually calming down one specific area of your brain. The brain’s parasympathetic nervous system helps to regulate the body when it is at rest, and returns it to a neutral state (known as homeostasis).
So much of the experience of anxiety is centered in the body’s physical responses -- your heart beats faster, your muscles may tense up or shake, you may feel dizzy or break out into cold sweats. When you’re able to help your body relax, it also helps your mind relax. Learning how to calm down benefits every part of you.
To do that, you’ll use a technique known as diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is the dominant muscle that is used in helping the body to breathe both effectively and efficiently. It helps to practice a few times a week, during times when you’re not feeling anxious. That way, when anxiety strikes, you’ll be able to do it naturally.
Just breathe deeply in through your nose, slowly filling up your lungs. Once they’re full, exhale slowly out, again through your nose. Some people find it helpful to put one hand on their chest and the other on their abdomen, so that they can feel the rise and fall. This also gives you something to focus on, which can take your focus off your anxiety.
#2) Remind Yourself That It’s Temporary
Even though feelings of anxiousness may make you feel like you’ll be living in it forever, it is always only temporary. When you’re experiencing these moments of anxiety, trying to fight against them can often only make them worse.
Think about it. If you’ve been living with anxiety for a while, or perhaps even your entire life, you’ve made it through plenty of panic attacks. In fact, you have a 100% track record! Remind yourself of that when you’re in the midst of those feelings, and learn to ride the wave until it starts to ebb again.
Another useful technique to remind yourself what is real and what isn’t is to use the physical objects around you as a grounding device. Pay attention to where you’re sitting. As you touch it and feel it under you, remind yourself that it is real. Do the same with a few other objects near you, touching them and feeling them in your hands. Then, think of your anxiousness and remind yourself that it isn’t real, that you can’t touch or feel it. It can help bring you back into reality, and give you a little perspective in the process.
#3) Don’t Sit Still
Feelings anxious can make us frozen with fear. That’s part of where the term fight, flight, or freeze comes from. It’s part of our nature as humans to respond to things that may harm us with one of those three responses and, unfortunately, it’s often the latter.
To counteract that, when you’re starting to feel those feelings creep up, don’t just sit there… get up!
Exercise of any kind, like taking a long walk or run, can help you reduce that restlessness and also give you something else to focus your attention on. Exercise itself can also release positive chemicals and endorphins into the body, which act as a natural antidote to the stress chemicals released by anxiety.
If you continue to work out at least a few times a week, even when you’re not going through stress or anxiety, the mood and mental health benefits can often keep you from experiencing as many acute panic related issues. Not only can it help you with how to calm down, it’s also great for your body.
#4) Cut Yourself Some Slack
Anxiety is a liar. It often tells you that you’re worthless, that you’ve done something wrong to deserve feeling this way, that something terrible is about to happen. Not only do those thoughts not make the anxiety go away, they can also have a major impact on how you feel about yourself.
While anxiety may be a small part of who you are, it has nothing to do with your value as a human. Unfortunately, it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the middle of it.
That’s where learning to deal with feelings of anxiety has to involve learning to separate it from anything you’ve done wrong. Mindfulness is helpful in this regard, as it can help you to be able to see the fact from the fiction and keep your feet firmly rooted in reality. That separation is essential for getting back to more solid ground.
Anxiety and stress are a normal part of life for some. That feeling of panic that creeps up without warning can really ruin your whole day, and make happy events into things filled with dread.
With an arsenal of ways that you can help calm yourself down, and PYM Mood Chews to help calm your mind in your day to day, you can get back to living your life with the knowledge that you can, and will, handle anything that gets thrown your way.