For any who has dealt with anxiety, you know it is a complicated beast that can manifest in a variety of ways. Taming it can be a challenge, especially when it comes on strong and unexpected. It can be inconvenient and quite frankly a pain in the rear to deal with. Most days I carry at least some level of anxiety. I actually get anxiety when I don't feel anxious because I have become so accustomed to that being my “normal”. So I have put together a list of my top 4 go-to’s when it comes to calming those anxious feelings.
Sensory deprivation. This may sound strange but I have found that when my anxiety is really peaking, being in a dark, quiet room can do wonders. At home, I retreat to my bedroom, shut my blackout curtains, lay down on my bed and cover my eyes with a small blanket. Doing so helps me block out whatever is over stimulating me in that moment. This is by far the easiest to do at home but the same idea can be applied if you are out and about as well. If you are at a party or large gathering that becomes overwhelming, which is often the case for me, take a moment to excuse yourself and find a restroom where you can hide out for a couple of minutes. I have 100% been the girl that has sat in a dark bathroom at a party. There is no shame in it! If you can’t find a quiet space, another option is going and sitting in my car for a bit. The key is removing yourself temporarily from the environment you're in to allow your mind and body to regroup. The anxiety might not go away completely but hopefully it will feel a little less intense.
Mints. Peppermint, Spearmint, you name it. When I first started working in a corporate setting I was concerned about having fresh breath. After all, I didn’t want to be the new girl with bad breath, right? I was warned not to chew gum in the workplace because it can look tacky when you're smacking your gum in a meeting with your boss, so I quickly took to keeping a stash of mints in my desk. For me personally my go-to mint are the Lifesavers Wint O Green. Oddly enough those were the mints that were at my therapists office so there may be a correlation as to why I find them calming. Needless to say, I began noticing myself grabbing a mint before going into a meeting or when I was feeling particularly anxious at my desk. I am not sure if there is actually a calming property to mints but something about them works for me.
Taking a shower. Obviously this is not always an option but when it is, it can be so helpful. When my anxiety is really bad I tend to freeze. I struggle to do much of anything. Sometimes I even find myself just sitting on my bed unable to do the most basic tasks. However, if I can manage to get myself into the shower it's like I can press the reset button on my brain. By no means does my anxiety magically disappear in that moment but the physical sensation of the water helps to snap me out of the head space that I was stuck in.
Acknowledging I am anxious. The simple act of acknowledging I am anxious can take my anxiety from a 10 to a 6. It sounds crazy but just being able to say “I am feeling extremely anxious right now” whether it is to myself or the person I am with, helps reduce the intensity for me. When I put it out there without judgement and just call it what it is, the anxiety loses its power. Often I think we suffer in silence allowing anxiety to build and spiral out of control. But if you can say the words out loud, you can step back and almost observe your anxiety rather than feel overcome by it.
These are just a few of the things I turn to when my anxiety is bad. They aren’t a cure but can be helpful to take the edge off in the moment. I invite you to take what you like and leave what you don’t. Please feel free to comment below if you have any other go-to tips for calming anxiety, I would love to know what works for you.
Disclaimer: Please note, all information on The Cheeky Life is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. The intention of this blog is to connect with the community and share my personal experiences with mental health, eating disorders, and life in general.