Oh no! Out of no where it hits. That wave of anxiety crashes over you. You feel it enter every inch of your body, from your toes to your hair follicles. You need relief – and FAST. Now, right now, before this gets out of control and you think you’re going to die. You need to stop this panic in it’s tracks. You’re looking for powerful anxiety busters to get you through.
Oh my goodness, do I know this feeling. For 20 years it’s been a part of my life. The rush of adrenaline, when it shouldn’t be there is intense, and scary. But over the years, I’ve found a number of things that can ward off the anxiety, before it becomes an all out panic attack. Distractions and refocusing can do wonders.
Today I share with you some of the best tricks to stop anxiety in it’s tracks.
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What is Anxiety?
Moments of anxiety or fear are a normal human emotion, and one that played a part in our survival. However, when this anxiety and fear do not go away, or get worse over time, it could be a disorder. Anxiety Disorder is defined as excessive, frequent and/or intense bouts of fear that interferes with your daily life.
Panic Disorder is anxiety that includes sudden intense fear that peak within minutes before eventually subsiding.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The general symptoms include: nervousness, restlessness, sense of impending doom, increased heart rate, fast breathing, unable to concentrate, trouble sleeping, GI problems and situational avoidance.
In reality, the physical symptoms you could feel are across the board. Check out this extensive list from Anxiety Centre to see what I mean. I found this page years ago and helpful to see how many different ways anxiety is capable of manifesting. And I swear I’ve felt every one of these at one time or another over my anxiety journey.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, phsychologist or health professional of any kind. These are only my opinions and suggestions. Please consult with your doctor.
I’m going to break these into two categories – Calming and Distracting.
In my experience, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Over the years and even day to day, my methods would change. So it’s good to have a number of go-to busters available when the need arises.
1. Child’s Pose
Once settled in, this beginner yoga pose is the ultimate in relaxation. Stay here for three to five minutes, or until you feel settled.
A calm and controlled breath is a powerful antidote to anxiety. Learn more here.
3. Get up and move
Step away. Remove yourself from the situation. If you can take yourself outside, great. But if a walk around the office is all you can manage, how about a trip to the bathroom or break room? For and ice cold glass of water, maybe?
Music is powerful. And humans respond to music. Not all the same music, but music just the same. Find what speaks to you.
Essential oils are another powerful antidote to anxiety. Just as music soothes with sound, oils soothe with smell. Smell is powerful, and memorable. Learn more about essential oils that combat anxiety here.
Writing can be very cathartic in dealing with anxious thoughts. And it just might be possible that through this journaling that you learn more about triggers and reliefs.
1. Ice Cold Water
Are your teeth sensitive? Fill that cup with ice, and take a big swig. Nothing like the pain of cold on your teeth to distract your thoughts.
2. Brain games
Find an app or puzzle that requires so much thought and focus that you forget those anxious thoughts. I’m a fan of word games like Garden of Words or a crossword puzzle.
3. Anti-Panic app
The free app Stop Panic & Anxiety has calmed me down so many times. It offers a fantastic Panic Assistance audio for when you’re in the midst of high anxiety or an all-out panic attack. It talks you through what you are feeling and reminds you that everything will be ok. Included are a number of relaxation and mediation audios as well as tools and education materials.
4. Cold shower
Just like an ice cold glass of water, a cold shower will wake you up and bring you back to the here and now.
5. Fidget device
This could be anything from a store bought fidget device to a random rock you keep in your pocket. My go to was a spare hair tie that I kept on my wrist. I could twist and twirl it, even snap it if I really needed a distraction!
6. Count backwards
This is as simple as it sounds. Count backwards from 100. It take a bit more focus that you might think.
7. 5×5 Method
For each of your five senses, note 5 things you see, smell, taste, feel and hear right now.
Pick your Favorites
Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just one of these. Feel free to use two or more methods together – say, oils and child’s pose. And controlled breathing is the perfect complement to any of these.
Are you thinking about going on a prescription medication for your anxiety and panic? I go in depth about my experience taking sertraline over here.
Pin this and come back when you need need to kick that anxiety in the butt.