06 June 2013

8 Unconventional Ways to Fight Anxiety

Panic attacks can easily paralyse a person. It only takes a small trigger to incite a big reaction. Living with anxiety isn’t a walk in a park and sometimes you need to do something to calm down in the middle of the day

1. Reading a Soothing Book

When you predict a panic attack coming on, reaching out for a book may be the best way to settle down. Reading can distract your mind from the anxious events happening at the moment. It’s also a way to relax and let go. Try reading an affirming book or one with uplifting quotations. If the fears are still present, take a stab at reading out loud and seeing if that helps.

2. Stop and Replace

Another way of soothing the anxious feelings is by replacing them with better ones. Swap out the fear of going in front of people for a presentation with the nice dinner you’ll be having that night. Stop thinking about the frightening test the next day; instead, begin focusing on the reward you’ll be giving yourself once you pass.

3. Detach

Look at your life from the outside. Detaching yourself from your anxieties can give you a new perspective about your fears. Turn it into a show and imagine something silly or entertaining. Make yourself into the calm
observer, peacefully watching a movie.

4. Repeat until you're Bored

It might sound counter-intuitive but repeating what worries you the most can actually undo the anxiety it causes. Doing what you most fear over and over again can dull the impact it has on you. 

5. Warm your Hands

Nursing a warm cup can actually force your mind to think that everything is OK. When you’re in the verge of a panic attack, the body directs blood to the major muscle groups and leaves your hands cold. Warming them can send a signal that the threat has passed and that you can revert to your normal state.

6. Clean Up

Another solution could be to do some general cleaning. Grab a broom and start sweeping or begin organising family photos. This physical activity will not only divert your attention to mundane things but also expend all the adrenaline building up in your body. Whenever you start to feel anxious, the body produces adrenaline due to its fight or flight response. Using this up can aid you to quiet down and relax.

7. List of Good Things

Sometimes, you are in a good place, but anxiety makes you feel like you aren’t. Counting your blessings is a good way to calm anxiety and remind yourself of how pleasant life is. Stay away from thinking about all the negative events in your life and focus on the small victories. 

8. Mental Puzzles

While the thought of mental puzzles might intimidate you, attempting one can help ease anxiety. Doing a word search, answering a crossword puzzle or even simply counting backwards can distract your mind from the triggers that set off panic attacks. The whole point is to think about something other than your fears and worries.

These 8 exercises can aid you in pacifying your fears and continue living. If you find that your anxiety is getting in the way of a normal life, you need to take necessary steps to manage it. Doing one or more of these activities can take your mind off of what is triggering your attack.

Credit: Ryan Rivera, publisher & founder of Calm Clinic.

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