4 Things to Do When Your Anxiety Feels Too Big

Anxiety is something we all feel from time to time. Whether that’s the feeling of anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, we can all benefit from having some new coping mechanisms on hand. So today, we’ve put together a list of 4 at-home methods you can try when your anxiety feels too big. two stacks of ice cubes against a blue backdrop

1. Put an ice cube on your tongue or in your hand

When your anxiety is the only thing you are feeling, this trick may be able to help ground you back to reality. Take an ice cube and either 1) just hold it in your mouth–don’t chew it; or 2) put it on the palm of your hand (put a paper towel under it to reduce the cold). While before your mind was likely stuck in a thought spiral, holding the ice cube in your mouth or in your hand will force your mind to focus on the discomfort of holding the ice cube, rather than the anxious spiral of thoughts. 

2. Take a cold shower 

There is still research that needs to be done to say conclusively whether or not this helps with anxiety, but there is lots of conversation happening right now over the idea that a cold shower can help with in the moment anxiety relief! The reasoning is that taking  cold showers can: 

  • Improve your blood circulation (lower your blood pressure) 
  • Increase endorphins
  • Decrease cortisol (the stress inducing hormone) 

It could also be similar to the ice cube trick–instead of your mind focusing on the thought spiral it would be preoccupied with the discomfort of standing in cold water. 

woman seen from the back with arms above her head dancing in a living room

3. Get up and wiggle (yes, really!) 

This is known as  therapeutic or neurogenic tremoring. It can be as simple as standing up and shaking your body. Hold your arms out and wiggle those, and then your legs, and then do the whole body! You can shimmy, dance, any form of fast constant movement like shaking can help. This movement is wonderfulbecause it can feel like literally shaking the anxiety out of your body. (What you’re actually doing is releasing muscle tension, burning excess adrenaline, and calming down your nervous system, which helps to lower that feeling of stress, anxiety, or panic.)

4. Engaging your senses

Engaging the senses is a huge form of in the moment anxiety relief because it forces your mind away from your anxious thoughts and directs them to focus completely on one thing. You can try this with: 

  • Aromatherapy: Using candles, incense, diffusing oils, etc. Pick a soothing scent like lavender and focus on breathing it in. Don’t smell it in short quick bursts, but use it as an opportunity to focus not only on the smell, but on deep breathing as well. 
  • Playing with playdough: Or silly putty, or anything textured that your hands like to touch. You can use it as something to preoccupy your hands to get out that anxious energy. 
  • Listen to soothing sounds: there are playlists all over youtube and spotify filled with soothing music. You can even find ones with ambient sounds played at specific frequencies that are intended to be used as anxiety relief

Need more help with anxiety managementGrief Recovery Center in Houston, TX can help. You can reach us at (832) 413-2410 or by filling out the form on our website. Take the time to speak with one of our licensed Houston counselors today.

Asma Rehman
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