By: Summer Stewart, M.A.
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed it was hard to breathe? Have you ever felt your chest tighten like a hug that was way too tight? If so, you may be experiencing anxiety. In those moments it may be hard to soothe yourself back into a calm state, but here are three tricks to help calm your body and your mind when anxiety strikes.
Use your senses, 5-4-3-2-1
5- Look around you, name five things you can see. Maybe there’s a window in front of you. Maybe there’s a bird flying by. Take a moment to notice the things around you.
4- Close your eyes, notice or name out loud three things you can hear. Is it a car driving by? Your favorite song on the radio? Focus on the many sounds that make up your world.
2-Take a deep breath, notice two things you can smell. Is It cookies baking in the oven? Is it fresh cut grass? Your nose is one of your strongest senses. Use it to its fullest.
1-Now think about one thing you can taste. Maybe it's a favorite drink you have in the fridge, or a piece of birthday cake. Whatever it is, think about the fond memories that taste may bring up for you.
Focusing on your five senses can help calm your body and make you more mindful of where you are in the present moment, thus easing the anxiety you may be experiencing.
2. Take a warm bath
It may sound like a cliché (#selfcare) but immersing your whole body in a warm environment can do wonders for your anxiety. The next time you feel overwhelmed with your day to day, try to end the day with a nice warm bath and allow some of the stress to disappear with the water.
3. Deep breathing
Take a deep breath in for five seconds and let it out for five seconds. Repeat these steps for a total of five cycles. A key part of this exercise is making an audible sound when exhaling. It may feel silly, but you are releasing tension. Focusing on your breath is a great way to ground yourself in the face of anxiety.
Having symptoms of anxiety is not an uncommon occurrence. With these techniques you can learn to self soothe in moments that may feel too overwhelming.