Everyone gets anxious and overwhelmed sometimes, but other people may experience it more often. The episodes can be mild or extreme, and you may not know how to handle them. I decided to write about things that help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
One thing I like to do when I’m anxious is sit in a space I feel most comfortable. I prefer to sit in my car because it’s very confined and compact. I think I like smaller spaces because I’m aware of all my surroundings. If you don’t like confined spaces, you could go for a walk outside.
Take a hot bath. I will usually throw in a bath bomb and some Epsom salt to make the bath even better. Hot water relaxes your body and can soothe the physical effects of an anxiety attack. When you’re anxious, your adrenaline starts pumping, and this triggers your fight or flight mode. A hot bath will help lessen the adrenaline.
Hot tea. (You’ll find that warmth plays a large role in reducing anxiety) Hot tea, or even hot chocolate, warms you up from the inside out. Sometimes anxiety can restrict your blood flow, so warming yourself up will allow it to normalize. There’s something really comforting about hot drinks to me; they’re like a hug in a cup. I would recommend staying away from caffeinated drinks because they can increase adrenaline and your heart rate.
Finding a distraction. Distracting yourself can be a good tactic when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You could start with naming five things you see, four things you can touch, three things you can taste, two things you hear, and one thing you smell. This technique helps you get grounded and bring you back to reality. Other ways you can ease your mind is reading a book or magazine, watching a funny video, talking to someone about their day, or even doodling. Distractions are good when you’re overwhelmed and trying to calm down, but you can’t distract yourself forever. If there is an actual problem, you can’t ignore it, and you will have to face it at some point.
Music. Music has such a crazy effect on our moods, and it can be really helpful. I’d recommend listening to instrumental music. I find that when I listen to lyrical music, I focus too much on the words and put songs on repeat. Instrumental music allows you to clear your mind and listen to the sounds. You could take note of each instrument you hear as another way to ground yourself.
Writing. I talk about how writing can benefit people a lot, but it’s true! When you’re anxious, writing down your feelings allows you to evaluate why you’re feeling this way. You can analyze your thoughts and talk yourself down. I have a journal that I just recently started writing in. What I like to do is make bullet points of exactly what I’m feeling. Anxiety is a mixture of emotions, so try to specify as much as you can. After I write down my emotions, I think about what made me feel this way. I do that for each bullet point, and then I try to make note of parts where I might be overthinking or trying to predict something. I overthink a lot of things, so my thoughts are usually what overwhelm me.
Those are some things that help me when I’m anxious, and I hope they help you, too! Remember to breathe, stay warm, and remind yourself that everything will be okay. Emotions come and emotions go. It’s just a wave that you have to swim through, and keep in mind that this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent, that includes the way you’re feeling.