5 Coping Strategies for Anxiety
I have personally struggled with anxiety for almost my whole life. I have been in and out of the hospital and behavioral health centers searching for help. Here are some coping strategies that I use on a day to day basis that actually work:
1. Stress Balls/ Squishies - During an axiety or panic attack, it can be hard to use mental coping strategies. I find it more comforting to hold something that I can grasp and focus on. Walmart has very good and inexpensive squishies (memory foam toys). Also in this category, there is putty or play dough that can also help with attacks. Try to focus on this and ground yourself with it.
2. Self-Soothe - This strategy can be done by yourself which is great in a time of need. This is a DBT skill that is useful for grounding youself back to the present and distract from the thoughts. Using your senses you are to name 5 things that you can smell, taste, hear, see, and feel. This can be useful if the panic attack has or has not progressed to a certain state.
3. Essential Oil - Using essential oils can have many benefits. They can relieve stress or preduce energy and more! Odors can activate part of the brain and the nueropsychology of the human. Orange or most citrus can give energy and eucalytus can preduce relaxation. There are diffusers that you can use to diffuse these oils. You can also apply 2 drops to your wrist or the back of your hand to sniff throughout the day. When doing this, take 3 big inhales at a time.
4. Art/ Music Therapy - Perhaps maybe there is art therapy groups near you or a music class you can take. There is also many art therapy teniques and exercises that can be done at home with little supplies. As for music, take out some earbuds and listen to your favorite tunes. You can also make some of your own instruments at home (pencil drumsticks, glass bottle, etc.). Listen or play music that makes you feel good, not makes you go deeper into your feelings. Sad music can sometimes help people when they are down, but for others it can be very triggering. Know and respect your boundaries.
5. Self Care - Caring for youself when your body is stressing is one of the most beneficial things a person can do. Take a bath or a shower, do your hair or makeup, take a walk, take a break from work, eat your favorite meal, etc. Treat yourself and make your self feel comfortable. If you have self esteem issues (many people with anxiety have troubling loving or even liking themselves) this can severly benefit you.
These skills are only a few of many strategies that can be used to cope with anxiety. Find what works for you and stick with that (if it works). Don't be upset if one of these doesn't work for you, being that everyone is different. Be patient. Stay strong! You can get through this!
"You can not heal a lifetime of pain overnight"