17 Real life Tips for Dealing with Anxiety – Part 1
There are a ton of symptoms associated with anxiety; symptoms can be wide-ranging; from hyperarousal to concentrating issues. Anxiety sufferers often develop coping techniques that work for them, tips, tricks or things that can help deal with anxiety.
One thing that works well is “emotion distraction” a method of temporarily taking your focus away from strong emotion causing you anxiety. Hence, by briefly disrupting your thoughts, may help decrease the emotion intensity.
Of course just by interrupting your anxiety won’t fix the underlying cause but it can provide some much needed relief.
I have put together in a three part series some real life examples of what anxiety sufferers are doing to help stave off an anxiety attack or reduce their anxiety levels.
I have tried quite a few of them, some work for me and others didn’t, none the less, I think all are worth giving a go.
1. Alphabet Anxiety Naming Games
The idea with these games are to basically “snap” you out of your current emotional state and by playing these simple games interrupts the brain to focus somewhere else.
2. The Name Game:
Start thinking of names that start with every letter of the alphabet. Start at “A”, for example ‘Annabel’, ‘Brenda’, ‘Charles’, ‘Deloris’ and so on. To mix it up you could work your way back from “Z” or even start somewhere in the middle like “P”
3. The Country Game:
Similar to the “Name Game”. Using the alphabet, start at the letter “A” and name a country, e.g. ‘Argentina’, then go onto the letter “B” Brazil, you get the picture.
4. The Capital Game:
Same as the “country Game” except we want to swap out the country names for country capital city names.
5. The Object Game:
Start thinking of names that start with every letter of the alphabet. Again start at “A” and work your way through to “Z”, then backwards and even try every second or third letter.
6. Memory Game:
Close your eyes and build a picture of the room you are in and everything in it for example if you are in the kitchen, picture the bench, cupboards, windows, things on top of the bench. Add as much detail as you can. As you add in the items try to add more detail i.e. the material, colour, shape, imperfections etc.
7. See, Touch, Hear, Smell, Taste Game:
To begin say out loud 5 things you can see, 4 items you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and name 1 thing you can taste. If you find it difficult with the taste one you could try replacing it with 1 thing you like about yourself.
8. A Cold Touch
Another great way to distract your attention away from your crippling anxiety emotions is do something physical. By applying really cold to certain parts of your body shifts the brains focus away from your current emotional state. Try putting something super cold on your chest or back, face, or stomach. Sometimes a very cold shower can help too.
9. Breathing Techniques to Reduce Anxiety:
Sometimes the most effective way to relieve anxiety is to just breathe. Here are a couple of techniques that might work for you.
- Breathing in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 and then hold it for 4.
- Applying the same timing as above this time though imagine breathing colours, breath in a colour and then exhale a different one
10. STOP, QUIT IT!
The “STOP” or “QUIT” technique really helps break the emotional cycle loop that often comes with anxiety. It gives you the opportunity to put into perspective what’s happening and gives you the chance to decide a more rational way to go forward Proceed.
As soon as you have repetitive negative thoughts, tell yourself “Stop, Stop” or “Quit it” take a breath and tell yourself your thoughts are unhelpful and unnecessary, continue until your negative thoughts slow down.
11. The Miracle of Math
Another fantastic brain interrupt tool for anxiety. It’s amazing how quickly these work. Repeat a few times or until you feel calmer.
- Set a timer to 5 minutes then starting at 1+1=2 continue with 2+2=4 4+4=8 until you either fell calmer or the timer ends. Repeat as needed.
- Count back from 100 with your eyes open and then repeat with your eyes closed.
- Set your timer to 5 or 10 minutes. You are going to count upwards from 0 in multiples of 7. For example start at 0, then continue with 7, 14, 21, 28 etc.
- Set your timer to 5 or 10 minutes. You are going to count backward from 100 in multiples of 7. For example start at 100, and count backwards 93, 86, 79 etc.
There are a number of types of meditation that can be super helpful in managing anxiety. Some can be done in as little as 5 mins. Mediation is about being aware of your thoughts, feeling, senses, and body. Types of mediation include:
Positive affirmations are a great way to head off negative thoughts for situations that cause you anxiety e.g afraid of public speaking or social anxiety situations.
Create affirmations that work for you or do a Google search to find some that resonate with you.
14. Talking away Anxiety
Talking to people, this could be a close friend, family member, counsellor or anyone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. This doesn’t only mean face to face either, whatever works for you. If it’s over the phone, email, or even messaging, then that’s fine.
15. Divide and Conquer your anxiety
Sometimes we are faced with situations that can seem overwhelming as a whole. Where possible, break down the big goal into smaller tasks. Start with a goal like going to the supermarket and divide into smaller tasks for example 1. Take a shower 2. Get dressed 3. Get wallet 3. Leave the house 4. Drive to the supermarket etc.
16. The Power of Music
Listening to music can do a number of things; it can calm you down or lift you up. If you need to calm down or relax try putting on calming music like nature sounds, instrumentals, or mellow tunes. Or if you are looking for an upbeat distraction try something that makes you smile or makes you want to dance.
17. Reading for Anxiety
Reading can be a great way to move away from the anxious feelings you are experiencing. Go for books that have a lot of visual elements to them, something that requires you to fully engage the creative mind, like Harry Potter.
If you would like to more tips to deal with anxiety, check out:
It’s amazing to think how much anxiety can interfere with our daily lives. And just as amazing is the creative ways people manage their anxiety. Here we covered some real life tips for dealing with anxiety – Part 1. I hope you find some that work for you.