Whether anxiety is new to you or you have been struggling with it for years, you might not know that there are things you can do at the moment to help relieve your anxiety and make its presence less oppressive in your life. It could come on as a result of a trigger or specific event, or it could seem to appear out of nowhere, but it is important to recognize what is going on around you when the anxiety hits. It could be that your anxiety is being triggered by a certain situation or feeling without your awareness, and you can consciously avoid those triggers in the future.
Anxiety can manifest differently for just about everyone who experiences it, but there are some common symptoms that many people feel:
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Difficulty breathing, seeing, or hearing
- Varied heart rate or tightness in the chest
- Body aches or trembling
- Needing to use the bathroom excessively
- Uncontrollable emotions
- Anticipatory thoughts, perhaps using the words “What if…?”
- Drawing conclusions about unrelated events
- Difficulty focusing
- Unreasonable or unrealistic thoughts
- Feeling paralyzed, unable to do anything
- Avoiding certain situations or locations out of fear
- Unexplained changes in behavior
5 Things You Can Do Right Now
When you are experiencing anxiety, your first reaction will be to try to make it stop, either by distracting yourself, physically leaving where you are, or doing something else that has worked for you before. The problem is that your initial reaction when you are in the midst of anxiety is not always the most helpful reaction, so it may be helpful to have a few tried-and-true remedies up your sleeve that you can draw from.
- Notice and observe your symptoms – You will likely learn some crucial information about your physical and mental state when anxiety hits, which could be helpful to you in future situations like this one.
- Practice deep breathing or mindfulness – Sit still, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Clear out any other thoughts and become solely concerned with paying attention to your breathing. Notice how your shoulders rise and fall, how the air feels going in and out of your lungs, and any other physical sensations. Center yourself in this present moment for several minutes or until you feel calm.
- Do something you have control over – Don’t overthink this. Doing even the simplest thing that you choose to do makes your mind and body shift to having control rather than letting your anxiety have control. Take a walk, make yourself some tea, check something off your to-do list, go fill your car up with gas – it’s that simple.
- Reach out to a friend or family member – You should have a few people in your life who you are able to call or text when anxiety hits. Tell them what is going on and ask them for their perspective. Since they are not pinned down by anxiety at the moment as you feel, they will likely be able to provide a helpful dose of reality that brings things back to their proportional size in the scheme of things.
- Get in touch with a licensed therapist – If you are currently seeing a therapist for your anxiety, they have likely given you some practices to try when anxiety hits, but you can also reach out to them for additional help. If you are not currently seeing a therapist, it would be very helpful for you to have this resource and begin attending sessions with someone who can help you work through your anxious thoughts and feelings.