Tips & Tricks from inside an Anxious Student Handbook
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your chest feels as if it is being squeezed so tightly to the point where you cannot breathe? Or where you feel like you are going to throw up from the intense pain that, out of nowhere, grew inside your stomach? Have you caught yourself crying for what feels like no reason at all, yet the tears will not stop streaming down your exhausted cheek? You just feel lost and have no sense of control?
It is time to gain control and learn some tricks to help minimize these feelings. Step back, relax and use these tips and tricks to help me, help you!
TIP 1: In with the Good and Out with the Bad
Breathing is a key component to taking control over your body. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, scared, stressed, frustrated, upset, or even alone take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. Giving yourself five minutes to tune into your breathing allows you to focus on how your body is feeling and the rate at which you are breathing. Once you have taken control of your breathing you can overcome the emotions you are feeling.
Try it: Challenge yourself to spend 2-5 minutes 3 to 5 times a week focusing on your breathing.
TIP 2: Cold Water is a Magical Cure
When your body begins to show signs that you are having a panic attack or are becoming overwhelmed take a cold shower, run cold water on your hands, or splash your face with cold shower. The cold will shock your body causing it to calm down. This is a great, immediate technique to use whenever you feel out of control of what you are currently feeling.
Try It: Next time you feel a rush of panic run your hands under cold water and focus on your body’s reaction.
TIP 3: Exercise for your Freedom
Though this may be an obvious solution, it is a very important one. Exercising not only benefits your health, but also your mental health. By incorporating exercise into your weekly schedule you are providing your body and mind with time to relieve stress while giving you other benefits, such as, improvement in memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. The better you feel the more positive you will think about yourself and your life (Kirsten).
Try It: Challenge yourself to exercise 3 to 5 times a week. Whether it’s walking on the treadmill, an intense Zumba session, or trying out Yoga, it does not matter. Anything to get your body moving will positively affect your well-being.
TIP 4: Let Creativity Take Over
Embrace your inner child and let your love for creativity come back. Coloring books, DIYs, arts and crafts of any kind really, writing, baking, gardening, playing music, any other creative outlet can improve your mental clarity. Having a creative outlet relieves stress, increases and renews brain function, improves mood, and potentially cultivates a social life depending on where and how you access this outlet.
Try It: Add at least one hour of creativity into your weekly schedule and get your creative juices flowing again or try a new creative outlet!
TIP 5: Gain Control through Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness exercises calls its participants to focus on the present moment – surroundings, body parts, feelings, and thoughts – rather than intently paying attention to the future. Mindfulness improves well-being because it helps you focus on the here and now, which minimizes worries about the future and potential regrets, and teaches you to savor everything you do in your life. It also improves mental health, such as, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive disorders. Additionally, it improves not only mental, but physical health – helps relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves sleep. It is an exercise that asks you to accept what is happening in your life rather than reject or avoid it, which in return is more settling and self-awaking. (“Benefits of Mindfulness: Practices for improving Emotional and Physical Well-Being”).
Try It: To get started on your own try to go with the flow, pay attention, and once you have begun mindfulness exercises stay with it. Allow yourself to do some of these exercises a few times a week, especially before bed or when you wake up. The following links provide different mindfulness exercises at various time lengths
TIP 6:Distract for Relief
It is extremely beneficial to give yourself time to be fully distracted from current stressors. Do not forget about them, but give yourself a chance to escape from the constant stress you feel on a day-to-day basis because when you constantly think about the negative in your life it will eventually consume you, which paralyze you from enjoying life. Try playing a game on your phone when panic creeps in or possibly watch funny YouTube videos for temporary relief. This exercise forces you to be fully present rather than constantly distract by anything other than the present. Sometimes a temporary break is what you need to get to a better place.
Try It: Do something new that will cause your mind to focus on a new experience.
TIP 7: APPly yourself
Of course, there is an app for everything! So it is not a shocker that there are many apps out there that give you instant tools to help however you are feeling and have a positive influence on your daily life. Some provide free meditation while others guide you through breathing and yoga exercises. These apps pull almost all of the above into an instant resource for you.
Try it: Suggested apps–
The Mindfulness App (Free)
Yoga Nidra Lite (Free)
Relax Melodies (Free)
Insight Melodies (Free)
Insight Timer (Free)
Smiling Mind App (Free)
Stop, Breathe, and Think (Free)