If you are feeling anxious, it's likely that your breathing has become shallow and you may be feeling restless or uneasy. Try some of these calming strategies - different tools will work for different people.
If you are trained in Mental Health First Aid these are also strategies you can use to support someone who is experiencing anxiety.
1. Breathing Techniques
Slowing down your breathing is really important if you are feeling anxious. Short quick breaths reinforce your body's "fight or flight" response. There are many ways to breathe.
One simple technique is to breathe in through the nose for a count of 5, and then out through the mouth for a count of 10. You really want the emphasis to be on a long, slow EXHALE.
You can also try this 4-7-8 technique - watch as I demonstrate this below.
2. Grounding Exercises
Grounding exercises are things that help keep you focused on the present moment. A commonly used grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Focus on five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
You can also focus on something that keeps you in the present moment - like counting ceiling tiles.
Many people find movement helpful when they feel anxious. Whether it be a walk outside, a gentle yoga class or whatever movement feels helpful to you.
4. Listen To Music
Music may be soothing to you. Find or create a playlist of music that you find calming. Listen to your playlist when you find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
5. Support Your Senses
Use essential oils (lavender essential oil can be very calming), make a warm cup of herbal tea, get cozy under a blanket (a weighted blanket is also an option), take a warm (or cold) shower.
Hi, I'm Alison and welcome to the blog. Here I share tips, ideas and stories of mental and physical well being.
I have been a speaker and trainer for 16 years. I offer Mental Health First Aid in Canada and work with corporate and community groups to deliver training on mental well being, stress management, self-care and more!