3 Quick Tricks to Calm

So many people don’t know what anxiety is. All they know is that they don’t feel good. Many people call it being stressed out. But really, anxiety is when our body shows that it is holding our stress. It’s a body response. Our nervous system responds to the ‘stress’ with symptoms that range from indigestion to shakes to confusion to just feeling agitated and irritable. Maybe you have a racing or pounding heart. Maybe you get aching muscle pains for no apparent reason. That’s anxiety!

So what can we do?

TIP 1.

Use cold water! We all have something called the mammalian dive reflex. When we immerse our face in cold water and hold our breath, our heart rate slows. You can splash your face with cold water, hold an ice cube, or place a cold pack on the back of your neck. Have a cold shower or bath. This calms the nervous system out of a highly anxious state. Want to learn more? Go here: The mammalian dive reflex, Anxiety hack: Reduce Stress and Anxiety or here Youtube – How to Reduce Anxiety with ICE.

TIP 2.

Ok so let’s say you hate the cold. Fair enough. Ever tried controlled breathing? My favorite is the 4-7-8 breathing technique where you inhale to a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale to a count of 8. Like this: 4-7-8 Breathing Demo. Controlled breathing has been shown to relax the nervous system. Many people like the box-breathing technique shown here.

Controlled breathing is very calming. Give all your attention to your breath.

TIP 3.

Counting to 10 or counting down from 10. This sounds too simple to work right. Not true. I use this the most when I’m driving and feeling frustrated or impatient. This technique is safe to use anywhere, anytime and it is a great example of how being present can calm you down. How to do it? The second you start to notice you are getting irritated, your muscles tense or you find yourself holding your breath and thinking very negative thoughts, start counting!
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 -4 – 3 -2 -1.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10.

Driving a car at night - pretty, young woman driving her modern car at night in a city (shallow DOF; color toned image)

Count to keep your cool behind the wheel or you are feeling under pressure.

One of the very best ways to really calm your nervous system is do try one of these with a friend.

If you need to talk about your anxiety and learn more ways to help you cope, consider reaching out for counselling. I’m here to help.

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