It’s often easier said than done trying to relieve anxiety. When you are suffering from the numerous symptoms and your head is full of other stuff (at times I feel like my head is full of very loud bees), it almost seems impossible to help yourself. But there are a few tips to relieve anxiety, that are simple and easy to do. A good idea is to write these tips down on a post-it note and stick it somewhere you see and go often.
We do this on automatic without even noticing. But you would be surprised at how many times you stop breathing when you are suffering from anxiety. So practice breathing in and out of your mouth. This may be rapid at the start, but as you concentrate on it you can start to breathe in a more natural way. A great tip is to count while you are breathing, so count one ‘breathe in through your mouth’ count two ‘hold’ and then count three ‘breathe out’.
Concentrate on your breath moving in and out of your body, this will help to focus your mind away from the anxiety.
Many people use the paper bag technique, which helps some but rarely helped with my anxiety. If you wish, you can try breathing in a paper bag and apply the counting technique. Just remember to breathe!
Find some relaxing music or sounds CDs. Don’t use any music or sounds with singing or talking, this can make your anxiety even worse. Also, make sure you use relaxing music and sounds, not heavy rock. I have personally found relaxing sounds the best for me personally, especially sea lapping on the shore.
So keep these CD’s or your MP3 player next to your bed. When you start to feel anxiety building, go to your room. Shut the door and curtains. Put headphones on (headphones are best as it stops other noises getting in) then just lay back, close your eyes and concentrate on the sounds or music.
Do this for as long as you need. And don’t be surprised if you fall asleep. If you live with others in your household, tell them not to disturb you if your room door is closed.
A lot of people underestimate the power of meditation, and you will find I write a lot about it on this site. It is something I often use and can really help.
A breathing meditation can really help to relieve anxiety, which is very similar to the breathe tips I gave earlier.
Again you need the safe space that only you will be in. For meditation, I recommend sounds, no talking of singing. The main difference in the breathing meditation is to sit instead of laying down. So sit in a comfortable position and lay your hands on your knees or lap.
Half close your eyes. But instead, focus on something in front of you. This can be anything, a mark on the floor, a stone or some other item.
Now as with the breathing exercise, try to take notice of your breathing coming into your body, feeling it filling you. Start counting one – breathe in and feel the breath, two – hold, three – breathe out and feel the breath leaving your body. And repeat. Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander, just start counting again, and feel the breath filling your body then emptying out.
You can also focus on the feelings of air passing over your lips as it goes in and out, feel how it fills your body and then empties out. I will go into much more depth about meditation in future posts.
This will not suit too many people, but it can be a very effective way to relieve anxiety. The important things to consider, is who are you going to talk to? It needs to be someone you trust and of course, they need to be available. A cup of tea and a chat can work wonders.
You also need your safe space. A room that is quiet and will only be used by you and the person you wish to talk too.
If you have no one to talk to, I would consider searching online for the Samaritans, and putting their number on your phone or keeping the number stuck to your fridge. They are always there and will always listen to you.
Tell them that you feel anxious, and try to explain your feelings. Explain your symptoms, are you feeling sick? Dizzy or having racing thoughts? I have written more on the symptoms of anxiety in one of my earlier posts which you can see here.
Don’t be afraid to show your emotions. It is not a sign of weakness but is in fact, a sign of your anxiety trying to get out.
If you feel no longer in control, and your anxiety is not stopping you can dial the emergency services, they will know how to help you. If you are very ill you may be taken to the hospital and given prescription drugs. This will help for severe anxiety in the short term, and they will help you if you have feelings that you want to harm yourself.
As I mentioned earlier talking may not suit you, but you can send texts to some charities, especially the Samaritans.
This is not an exhaustive list. We are all unique in how we can deal with things. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, or find something else that suits you better. Some people like to use stress balls, fidget spinners or even screaming as loud as you can (your neighbors may not be too happy but hey if it works).
Please let me know by commenting on what helps you.
As always it is not a good idea to try to self-medicate to ‘cure’ your anxiety symptoms. Taking alcohol or recreational drugs are very likely to make it even worse, and it may even start to develop other symptoms.
I would be interested to hear your experiences of using the tips to relieve anxiety that I have mentioned above, did they work for you? If you have any questions, please leave them below and I will get back to you.