What can you do when you feel completely overwhelmed and want to calm down? In these moments, first and foremost, you can congratulate yourself for recognizing that you are overwhelmed- recognition of anxiety is the first step to reducing the anxiety.
Now that you have recognized you are anxious here are some quick options to regulate your anxiety:
- Use a cold pack around your eyes. This can be a bag of frozen peas or ice wrapped in a dishtowel. Why? Just like our mammalian cousins, such as dolphins and seals, upon first initial contact with cold water, the human heart rate slows down.
- Take 5 deep breaths into you belly and extend your exhalations to twice the length as your inhalations. A message will be sent to your nervous system that you are not in any imminent danger and your nervous system can stop firing the fight, flight, freeze response.
- Notice the current day, year, and location you are in and bring yourself into the present moment. When we panic, we are more likely to get confused with time.
- Have a soothing ritual- such as a cup of tea, glass of water, light a candle, etc.
- Pray or Meditate
- Get outside and breathe, touch the earth and help yourself find perspective. Imagine yourself putting your anxious thoughts into an imaginary box and walk away from your anxious thoughts for a certain amount of time.
- Distract yourself by focusing on your senses- sense of sound, sense of smell, sense of sight, notice the clothes on your skin and the tastes in your mouth.
- Imagine being by the ocean with sand under your feet and sun on your head and shoulders. Or imagine a place where you usually feel calm.