Everybody feels anxious from time to time—it is our brain’s natural reaction to stress, fear or uncertainty. And while some people are more prone to anxiety than others, the second wave of COVID-19 left most of us feeling overwhelmed. If you feel like your anxiety is hindering your day-to-day activities, perhaps it’s best you spoke to a therapist. But if it comes and goes, there are some activities you can try to help you feel calm and centred. So the next time you feel a wave of anxiety, try these.
If you notice carefully, your heart starts beating at a much faster rate when you are anxious. That’s because anxiety tends to release hormones like adrenaline into your body. This means you start to sweat and your heartbeat rises—kind of like how you would feel after a run. To tackle this, focus on taking long, deep breaths. You can try the 4-7-8 method, which is—breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds and breathe out
When you are feeling anxious, it is very difficult to signal yourself to calm down. It’s like someone telling a person having a panic attack to ‘not worry’—it just doesn’t work. This is when guided meditation can help. Listening to someone taking you through the process will centre you, and it will also feel like someone is actually helping you—even if it is an app or a youtube video. Our personal recommendations? Download apps like Headspace or Calm.
When we are anxious, we are only focused on our inner thoughts and lose control of our physical reality. Eating something will force you to break away from your thoughts and focus on the physical act of eating—unwrapping a chocolate bar, chewing, tasting the flavour, feeling the texture etc. You do not need to eat anything specific, but eating something that you like will be an added bonus, and it will help elevate your mood.
While long showers are conducive to being alone with your thoughts, they are also known to help calm your nerves. Try taking a hot or cold shower instead of one with lukewarm water—this will shock your body and force you to focus on the physical sensation of heat or cold.
This is a very popular anxiety-reducing technique that mental health professionals recommend as a tool to calm yourself in case you’re having an anxiety attack. This simple grounding method requires you to acknowledge five things you can see, touch four things around you, observe three different sounds you can hear, smell two things near you and taste one thing you can. This activity will help you become mindful of your surroundings and force you to take a break from your spiralling thoughts.
We hope these tips help calm you anytime you feel anxious or overwhelmed. But remember, if it gets too much to handle, #KhayalRakhna and consult a mental health professional.
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This article is part of a social initiative called #KhayalRakhna by Philips. We hope to provide you with some comfort, relief and guidance as we power through these tough times. If you are finding it hard to cope, we encourage you to get in touch with a mental health professional.