7 Self-Soothing Techniques to Calm Anxiety
Nearly 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders. Stress and anxiety are inevitable and may be hard to avoid at times through the flow of life. With the pandemic, many people have faced uncertainties they haven’t faced before.
Coping with anxiety can be tough, and there are ties to anxiety and substance abuse. The last thing you want to do is turn to a substance to deal with your anxiety, especially if you have had issues before.
How can you help soothe and manage your anxiety? Check out these effective self-soothing techniques for anxiety with the exercises below.
1. Positive Affirmations
Anxiety makes your feelings lie to you. Challenge all your negative thoughts with short, powerful affirmations. These thoughts can help boost your self-confidence and help you focus on the positive instead of dwelling on those negative emotions.
It takes time to get into the practice but you can start to notice a shift. Think of thoughts like:
- I am worthy of love.
- I will focus on the now.
- I am not my thoughts.
- I can do this.
- I trust myself.
- I will not let my thoughts define me.
Repeat these affirmations over and over and slowly (at least five to ten times). Take in a breath between each time and connect with your body at this time.
2. Anxiety Log
Anytime you feel stressed, write it down. It can help us pinpoint our problems and also think of solutions.
Record the date along with the time. Then write down what caused the stress and what level of stress. Write down any symptoms of stress. When you feel better, write what you did to solve the problem or what made you feel better.
Do this as often as you can to see how you can cope with stress. Make sure you pay attention to certain red flags and find the best way to cope. By writing all these experiences down, you can learn from your experiences and reuse your coping skills for anxiety.
3. Your Senses
Your senses can help you feel positive and learn how to self-soothe yourself when you are feeling anxious.
Use your touch by taking a warm bubble bath with Epsom salt to relax your muscles. You can also get a massage or pet your furry friend.
Use your taste by drinking a hot cup of tea or chewing on gum or hard candy. Make your favorite meal to give you comfort.
Let the aroma of essential oils relax you through smells. You can also light candles.
Get your sight involved by watching your favorite show or comedy movie. Pick an object and just focus on it if you are not home.
Try listening to your favorite music to let the sound soothe you. You can also use a sound machine to help you relax or sleep.
4. Positive Journaling
This combines your positive affirmations with your stress journal. Writing things down or journaling can help you process your feelings and thoughts. Plus, it gives you a new point of view.
Journaling also makes us slow down and put things into perspective. You can format in several ways and experiment to see what you like best:
- Make to-do lists
- Write down your gratitudes
- Create a song or poem about your feelings
- Write a letter to someone
- Write a letter to your former or future self
- Use images to express how you feel or what you see
- Make a bullet list of any random thoughts
- Write a story with you as a character
The main thing you should focus on is things you are thankful for. It helps get grounded when anxiety overwhelms. Before you know it, you will see where you need to focus your energy.
This can be something you do with others or alone. Think about taking a walk or going to dinner. Go see that movie you’ve been wanting to see or visit the area museum.
Try focusing on the details like what to wear, when you go, and how to get there. It will help distract you from other negative emotions.
You’ve probably heard people say “take a deep breath.” There is a reason for this. Diaphragmatic breathing is a proven way to help you reduce stress.
This breathing uses your diaphragm, so your belly will expand and contract with each breath. Normally, we breathe more shallowly and just use our shoulders and chest. This type of breathing can actually contribute to our stress levels.
To practice this breathing, first, get comfortable. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. You should feel your belly expand when you breathe in and fall when you exhale.
You can even close your eyes. Focus on your stomach rising and falling. This is a great way to refocus your breathing if you are having a panic or anxiety attack. You will feel safer when you start focusing on only your breathing.
7. Your Happy Place
You can take your breathing to the next level by visualizing your happy or safe space. It can be somewhere current or from your past. Think about the details and involve all your senses.
What does it look like? How does it smell? What do you hear?
The key is getting away from any stressors causing you anxiety. You can refocus and find some clarity.
Remove yourself from the current situation. You can then get your control over how you feel and think to get relief.
Use These Self-Soothing Techniques
If you feel anxiety building up, try these anxiety self-soothing techniques. If you are still stressed and full of anxiety and have tried it all, it may be time to reach out to the professionals. If you are finding that you are leaning toward alcohol or any form of drugs, it’s important to get help immediately. Anxiety can make problems worse if you don’t get control.
You are not alone, and you are worth it. Don’t let your mind trick you. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help.
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