Sometimes stress or panic hits us the most inconvenient times. You could be at work, at school, or running errands and all of the sudden become overwhelmed. If this is something that happens to you, it could be helpful to keep some quick fixes for this in your back pocket.
When we are overwhelmed with stressors things can seem chaotic. One way to try to restore order is by grounding oneself through breathing patterns. Focus your energy on breathing to an equal count of time inhaling and exhaling. This ensures you are getting enough oxygen into your body while allowing you to expel any stress along with your exhaling. It is a very simple grounding technique and a great place to start in calming yourself.
Have a Positive Mantra
We all have something that gets us through tough times, or logic that we can rely upon to motivate, inspire, and comfort ourselves. Keeping a short message in mind and repeating it to yourself is a great way to remain focused on what matters and stay grounded instead of letting the stress and anxiety take control.
Some examples include:
- “Your present situation is not your final destination.” (Zig Zigler)
- “No amount of worrying can change the future.” (Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab)
- “Life is tough, but so are you.” (Stephanie Bennett-Henry)
Using a short affirmation will keep you engaged in the bigger picture when anxiety can make you feel stuck.
Temporarily Change Your Environment
Leaving your current situation, even for just a minute, can allow you to collect your thoughts and reset. Even if it is just stepping outside for a moment, entering another room or using the restroom, it helps to have that temporary escape if the space you are in is associated with the stress you are feeling. Once you return to your desk, classroom, or previous location, you might have a new perspective and a change in energy in that space.
There is always something refreshing about drinking water. Sometimes dehydration can be a contributing factor to feelings of stress and anxiety. It is important to keep yourself hydrated. This will help ward off headaches, sicknesses, and sleepiness. Taking care of one’s self and eating food and drinking water when necessary helps a myriad of troubles. Keeping a water bottle with you will promote mental and physical health. Even running cool water over your hands can help revitalize yourself and relieve the tension.
Think of Something Funny
Stress and anxiety can often stem from taking life too seriously. Stepping back and giving credit to the funny things in life can change your outlook on life while distracting you from disturbing thoughts. Think of a joke, a quote from a funny movie, something fun you did with your best friend, or that silly face your dog makes. Whatever it is that brings a smile to your face, bring it to the forefront of your mind to help give you the determination to get past the stress and look forward to the enjoyment in your life that has yet to come.
Thoughts of what we don’t have, or things that aren’t going as planned can be at the root of our anxiety. One way to repel these negative thoughts is by appreciating what we do have and what is going right for us. Again, positive thinking gives us a sense that there is more to life that the stress we are feeling at the moment.
Do Some Quick Stretches
Not only does stretching increase your circulation, but it also relieves tension in your body that has built up, likely without you being aware of it. You don’t need to do any elaborate yoga poses that require a lot of space. You can simply sit or stand. Often times, we store our stress in our neck, shoulders, and hands. Relaxing your muscles through a few brief stretches throughout the day can create mindfulness and reduce stress.
Listen to Music
Music has become readily accessible in many situations, so why not take advantage of it in times of anxiety? Upbeat music can sway your natural energy to be more optimistic. Slow, quiet instrumental music can be soothing. This is another healthy way to distract yourself from the anxiety that you are feeling and help you to live in the present.
While it may take some time to experiment with these options, find what works best for you. Stress and anxiety can sneak up at the most inconvenient times, so having a game plan in advance can help keep your worries at bay.