Calming anxiety can be tricky, especially if you are in the middle of feeling pretty anxious and you’re not sure how to get out of it. I’d like to share with you some helpful tools that really can center the mind. Of course these things would be great to go to in the middle of an anxious episode but they are even better utilized on a day to day basis regardless of how you are feeling, in order to condition the mind and prevent anxiety from coming up in the first place.
As you will see these all engage with the senses
- Sound. You can listen to music or sounds that stimulate alpha wave, theta wave, or delta waves in the brain. These are the resonate brain waves we pass through on the journey from relaxation into sleep mode. There will be a lot of resources on music players such as spotify, soundcloud, and youtube. Here are a couple for your reference:
-Look up Dr. Jeffrey Thompson as another place to start for such music composition.
2. Smell. Relaxing essential oils will also be useful to change your brain through the olfactory sense door and can be great at bedtime or used in a diffuser in your work or home environment. Try scents such as lavender, clary sage or bergamot for calming anxiety.
3. Pause and Breathe. In the moment, wherever you are, do some deep abdominal belly breathing. You can do this standing in place in the middle of your work day or while sitting or laying down during a moment of rest. Put your hands on your belly while you do this, so you can feel your breath rise and fall in your own body. Also putting your hand on your heart is a trigger to release oxytocin, a happy hormone that reminds of the felt sense of love. I also suggest smiling while you do this.
4. Touch. Drop in some place for a massage or acupuncture. This can also get you out of your head, and in your body. Trigger general relaxation. Baths with epsom salts and lavender can help to sooth muscle tension and thereby lessening anxiety.
5. Listen to some guided meditations and talks. You can find many resources such as a day to day 21 day guided experience with Deepak Chopra. Dharma seed is a wonderful app for 1000's of dharma talks coming from Buddhist philosophies; however, if that does not interest you, not to worry, there are many guided meditations that will apply to staying present in your body and breathe, which is really one of the best remedies to getting out of your anxious head and into a relaxed state of being. If you happen to like some of the talks on there you could check out these instructors: Tara Brach, Guy Armstrong, Mark Coleman, Jack Kornfield, Howie Cohn. Everyone has a different flavor. Here is the website http://dharmaseed.org/, but is easier to navigate as an app
6. Diet. Believe it or not, what you eat can have a great effect on your mood. Eating a lot of sugar or carb rich things can hype us up for a little while, even with anxiety, and then is followed by a crash of fatigue and for some irritability. Eating more protein and healthy fats as those found in salmon and walnuts, can bring balance to your mood, clear your head and prevent fatigue.
No matter what, remember, there is no quick fix to sooth anxiety permanently. It is a state of mind that comes and goes in varying degrees. The more you practice some of the tips mentioned here, over time, the severity of the emotion lessens more and more.