6 Little Ways to Manage Your Anxiety in the moment
1. Stop and take a deep breath
Deep breathing is one of the best and quickest ways to calm down and relax. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a great way to calm down your feelings of anxiety in the moment. Here is a graphic that entails the steps involved in this breathing exercise:
2. Distract yourself
If you’re feeling anxious, you can try a distraction technique to redirect your attention away from any intrusive thoughts. Some distractions include: listening to music, going on a walk, sports, cleaning, reading or drawing. These distractions work because your brain can’t focus on two things at once so shifting your attention to another activity is a great way to manage your anxiety.
3. Use a calming visualisation
Visualisation is another technique to help you unwind and get rid of any anxious thoughts or feelings. Calming visualisation is a process of using mental imagery to achieve a positive and more relaxed state of mind. This process is a great form of mini-meditation and has been proven to trigger the same neural networks that actual task performance does to strengthen the brain and body connection.
Some great calming visualisations can be found on this site
4. Using muscle relaxation techniques
Muscle relaxation can be an effective method to release any stress and tension out of the body. A technique called the ‘body scan’ involves tensing certain muscles then relaxing them in a progressive manner. The process involves:
- Finding a comfortable space to relax and beginning to slow down your breathing.
- When you are ready to begin, breathe in and tense the muscles in your face while squeezing your eyes shut.
- Clench your jaw and keep your face tensed for five seconds.
- Then, gradually relax your muscles over a time period of 10 seconds and take a deep breath. As you’re relaxing, it may be helpful to say “relax” out loud.
- Move onto your neck and shoulders and repeat the process as you gradually repeat this process down your body.
- Be wary of any injuries or pain you might have before conducting this muscle relaxation technique.
5. Challenge your negative thoughts
When people are anxious, their mind comes up with all types of ideas, many of which are unrealistic and unlikely to happen. Therefore, it’s important to challenge and minimise your worries when you’re dealing with these intrusive thoughts. Some great questions to counter-attack these negative thoughts are:
- Is this really likely to happen?
- Am I mistaking a thought for a fact?
- What can I do to prepare for what might happen to me?
- If the worst possible outcome occurs, what would be so bad about that?
- Am I jumping to conclusions?
6. Focus on the present
Another way to manage your anxiety is to keep yourself grounded in the present. A technique called ‘grounding’ involves using all your senses to increase your awareness of where you are now. This can be done by making mental notes of things that you can see, hear, taste, feel and smell. If you just take a minute to focus on your surroundings at the present moment, it can refocus you to your current reality instead of your mind-consuming and escalating thoughts.
This post was written by Michelle, a yr-10 student who joined the Indigo this week for work experience. We would love to thank her for support and hard work and wish her all the best for all that lies ahead!