Stress is inevitable and unavoidable. Anxiety is not. But what if you find yourself having a harder and harder time trying to calm your anxiety?
You know the symptoms:
- Heart racing
- Dry throat
- Tense muscles and more
You can choose to "just live with it" or you can create patterns that help manage that anxiety. Needless to say, you, and those in your life, will be much happier if you take active steps to help yourself.
7 Ways You Can Calm Your Anxiety at Home
1. Start early
By "early," we mean first thing in the morning. Your alarm goes off, your eyes open, and now what? How you begin each day can play a major role in how much anxiety you'll face later on.
Create a morning ritual that's calming. For example
- Taking a long shower
- Handwriting a to-do list
- Hanging out with your kids or pets (or both)
- Not immediately turning on your phone, TV, and/or computer.
Each day is yours. Honor is right from the beginning and you'll be repaid with less stress and more smiles.
2. Name it
You know the feeling. Some unexpected stressor arises and son, you sense your anxiety looming. "Here it comes again," you think.
Instead of "it," why not give your anxiety a name? Like, say, Frank. You may find things are a lot more manageable when you ponder, "There goes Frank again, up to his old tricks." Get to know Frank better and you may find ways to keep him from visiting so often.
3. Talk to someone
Since anxiety can make interactions tricky, a conversation doesn't have to be face-to-face or even a voice exchange on the telephone. If emailing, texting, chatting online, or video chatting is a calmer option for you, then go for it. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to seek out someone you know very well! Chatting with the mail person or neighbor is an excellent way to calm your anxiety.
4. Write things down
As we just discussed, instant messaging or texting with someone are great choices. Another idea is to keep a journal and write things down for yourself. Keep track of how you feel and why. Record what day and time the stress became too much. What is it you did or didn't do to deal with it? Re-reading this journal will serve as a useful guide to understanding your own behavioral patterns and habits. Such a guide is invaluable when confronting someone like "Donald." Also, you can bring this journal with you to share during your therapy sessions.
No, this does not mean you should literally relocate to another state. It means move your body to help change your state of mind, e.g.
- Do housework
Research shows that movement reduces tension, releases nervous energy, and increases cognitive ability. Simply shifting your gaze from downward to upward has the power to lift your spirits.
6. Water yourself
Splash it on your face or drink it--or both! The mere act of splashing water on yourself triggers something called the "mammalian diving reflex" (seriously). This reflex automatically slows the heart rate, which in turn, helps calm your anxiety. Drinking water (without caffeine, so no coffee or tea) is also an excellent way to re-hydrate and bring on a sense of calm and well-being.
7. Remember what you learned in therapy
One-on-one counseling can be a massive relief in the moment. However, its value continues throughout all aspects of your life--especially when stress strikes.
Your therapist will help you create strategies you can call on when "Frank's" knocking at your door.