Back in 2017, the World Health Organization estimated that 264 million adults around the globe had anxiety. Can you imagine where that number stands today in 2021? There’s no doubt it has increased exponentially. And because most people don’t excel at being patient, they are looking for fast anxiety relief.
We’ve all experienced anxiety at one time or another. It’s our body’s natural response to worry and fear. Indeed, anxiety takes on many forms and varies in a wide range of how deeply it affects people and how much it interferes with their quality of life. But with the right coping skills you can stop the anxiety from getting the upper hand.
5 TECHNIQUES FOR FAST ANXIETY RELIEF
There are numerous techniques for managing stress, such as meditation, muscle relaxation, and exercise. And those are great—they really work. However, when faced with stress on the spot and you need to stay calm, productive, and focused, you need something more quick and accessible.
Since everyone experiences anxiety differently, you’ll need to experiment with different techniques to see which ones work best for you. Below are some steps you can immediately take when you need to calm your anxiety:
1.Stand up straight and take a deep breath
If you can, stand up straight, draw your shoulders back, set your feet widely apart, and breathe deeply like this: Slowly inhale to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest. Hold your breath to a count of 4, then slowly exhale to a count of 4 and repeat several times.
This posture, along with deep breathing, is important because when we are anxious, we tend to hunch over, protecting our upper body where our heart and lungs are located. Combining this posture with deep breathing also helps your body feel that it’s not in danger right now but is in control.
If you can’t stand up (i.e., you’re in a meeting or your car), just set your shoulders back to open up your chest and deep breathe. The main thing is to stop hunching over and breathe deeply.
2. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
When you’re anxious, your thoughts are often caught in a negative loop. By using this exercise, you can shift your focus from what is causing you to feel anxious back to your surroundings in the present moment.
- five things you can see around you. For instance, a painting on the wall, the dappled sunlight through a tree, or a plant on your colleague’s desk.
- four things you can physically feel. For example, feel your feet on the ground, the sun on your face, the softness of a blanket.
- three things you can hear. Suppose you can hear a car driving by, children laughing, or the fan on your computer.
- two things you can smell, such as fresh-cut grass or coffee.
- one thing you can taste, maybe a mint or gum. If you can’t taste anything, think about a taste that you like.
3. Challenge your thoughts
When you are anxious, your mind can come up with some crazy ideas. And usually, those ideas head straight to a “worst-case scenario.” If you are honest with yourself, you have to admit that for the most part the dreaded, “what ifs” never materialize. Therefore, when you feel your thoughts wanting to head in this direction, pause and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I thinking rationally?
- Is this likely to happen?
- Has this ever happened to me before?
- If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about it?
- Can I handle that?
- Is there something I can do to prepare for whatever may happen?”
After you run through the questions, reframe your thinking. For instance, Instead of saying, “I just know, I’m going to make an idiot out of myself giving that wedding toast.” Tell yourself, “Well, I might flub up a little, but who cares? Somebody might get a laugh out of it, but no one is going to remember it anyway.”
4. Redirect your focus
It’s hard to think clearly or make wise decisions when you are anxious. Doing any action can interrupt your anxious thought patterns and help you regain a sense of control.
Examples of actions you can take are:
- Walk out of the room
- Clear a few things off your desk
- Leave the situation
- Walk to the kitchen and get a glass of water
- Go outside and focus on the feel of the wind through your hair
The main point here is to do something, anything, instead of obsessing about how you feel. Nothing good can come of that. Ask yourself what you would be doing if you weren’t anxious, and then do it. By doing so, you will feel better just getting out of your head and accomplishing something despite the anxiety you are feeling.
5. Let laughter chase away the anxiety
For sure, anxiety isn’t funny. And finding humor when you are in the thick of it might be the last thing you want to do. However, if you can begin to look for humor, you will find that laughter can instantly reduce the unwelcome stress hormones that are connected with anxiety.
The very act of laughing is similar to deep breathing in that it can increase the oxygen in our bodies? I find that remarkable. And when you pair that with reducing stress hormones, the increased oxygen helps our muscles to relax.
The more you embrace humor, the more favorable your outlook on life will become. Your anxiety may linger for a while, but you will loosen the stronghold anxiety has on you every time you can laugh.
MAKE FAST ANXIETY RELIEF A HABIT
When stressed, it can be so easy to give in to the pressure and just tense up. But by practicing these techniques, it can become second nature to use these skills when the need arises. And before long, no matter where you are or what you are doing, fast anxiety relief will be within arm’s reach.
Another great way to learn fast anxiety relief strategies is by working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching. They can help you discover and master new ways to handle stress, which in turn, will allow you to stay calm and focused when “life happens.”
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. I’d love the opportunity to cheer you on as you discover and master anxiety relief techniques as you train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced and less fearful perspective.