Consider this the James & Jax cheat sheet for getting rid of anxiety. That’s what I’m going to do! The reason I created this page is because I experience occasional days where I cannot shake the anxiety and need a reminder of the things that have worked for me in the past. I’ve had anxiety my entire life, so I’ve come up with a bunch of tactics for overcoming it. The problem is remembering those tactics when I’m in the throes of anxiety! Thus, this handy dandy blog page.
If you have any tactics that have worked for you, please leave a comment & I will add them to the list!
When you’re in the thick of it:
- Distract yourself. Here is a list of ways you can do this.
- Go get some exercise, even if it’s only a 10-minute walk.
- Get thee to a swing! Find a playground and squish your butt onto a swing. Put your head back and look up at the sky as you swing. It is impossible to feel anything other than joy in this.
- Spritz some Rescue Remedy (aka, “yoga in a bottle”) right into your mouth!
- Use some lavender oil (or hand lotion).
- Drink a cup of lemon tea (really, drink any herbal tea). My favorite is Yogi Calming tea. It really works.
- Take a bubble bath. Better yet, bring a book into the bubble bath. Still better, bring a few chunks of dark chocolate (to eat, silly).
- If the anxiety is really bad, it’s OK to use TV to zone out until it passes. Just beware of shows/movies that may make it worse (ahem, I’m talking to you A Baby Story).
- Meditate or try a body scan (see below). Don’t forget this mantra: “I can choose peace instead of this.”
- Look at pictures of your cute baby. Think of him singing “Twinkle, Twinkle.”
- Practice mindful breathing. Try the 4-7-8 breath.
- Do not use the words “always” and “never.” They aren’t true.
- Remember, this will pass. An anxiety attack is temporary. You can do anything for an hour!
- It’s OK to schedule a therapy appointment if needed.
- List in detail all the sounds you hear around you.
- Talk to your #PPDchat friends (or any supportive group or person).
- Say something really kind to yourself, as you would to someone else going through this.
- Do not catastrophize.
- Read this.
- Use distraction. Keep your brain busy.
- Doodle or color. If you prefer to doodle on your iPad, check out the Paper 53 app.
- Turn on music. Better yet, dance (even though you may not want to).
- Read the tips offered on the Anxiety Pyramid at http://www.conqueranxiety.com/Anxiety_Pyramid.pdf
These are tips contributed by Helen Crawford (one of my #PPDchat friends; her website is http://helenfergusoncrawford.com/home.html):
- Sit outside for 5 to 10 minutes and close your eyes and listen to your world.
- Find a poem or quote that empowers you and read it every morning until you do not need it any more.
- carry a small camera around and make an image diary to remind yourself of the beautiful things you see each day.
- Watch the sky. Watch the clouds move. Remember you are part of that.
- Take three things OFF your to do list everyday.
- Yoga corpse pose for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Feel what you feel without judging. (This takes work.) Like, I feel the physical symptoms of anxiety, and keep doing things.
- Doodle/diary. Coloring books. Great when you feel anxious. Diverts thoughts to your hand and an activity.
- Earplugs. People suffering from depression have a sensitivity to normal loud sound.
Things you should do all the time:
- Stick with decaf coffee. It’s OK to splurge once in a while on the good stuff, but try to stick with decaf when possible. Half caff is ok once in a while, too.
- Take 1000 mg of fish oil (omega 3) daily. Aim for a ratio of 7:1 (EPA:DHA) or close to it. (Warning: If you are taking antidepressants, please check with your health care provider before taking this or any other supplement, as it may be contraindicated.)
- Drink lots of water.
- Sleep when you can. But not too much!
- Eat lots of nuts, fruits, vegetables, unprocessed foods; don’t eat lots of processed foods or sugar.
- Sunlight! Get some! In fact, get lots of it! (Wear sunblock in the summer.)
- Set a new goal. Be specific.
- Practice positive thinking, whatever that means for you.
- Try meditation. If guided meditation feels better for you, search for a “body scan” on YouTube.
- Banish the quest for perfectionism. Anything less than perfect is NOT a failure. Review I’m Doing It Right bloghop posts! Allow good enough to be good enough!
- Care less about what others think (of you).
- Stop “shoulding” all over yourself.
- Give thanks more. Try the Gratitude! app if you have a smartphone.
- Always remember this: You usually underestimate yourself & others. Give yourself & others more credit.
- Be kind to yourself.
If you’re reading this page for someone you love, please also see this post: What to Say to Someone Having Anxiety.