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  • Writer's pictureLisa Hess

How to Cope With Anxiety

Do you spiral with your anxiety and find it difficult to get out? Here are a few ideas to help you escape the vortex and get back on solid ground.

  • Grounding Exercises

  • Worksheets/activities

  • Audio Visual

  • Deep Breathing

  • Weighted Objects

  • Noise Reduction

  • Practice

Grounding Exercises: These are activities that help shift your brain away from the part of your brain that perpetuates anxiety.

  • Name 5 things you can see, feel, touch, taste and smell

  • Find 5 blue (or other color) things you can see

  • Look for 5 types of X car

  • Sing, whistle or hum.

Worksheets/ Activities:

  • Judge and Jury: In this mental activity you must provide supporting evidence to a pretend jury that what your anxiety is telling you is accurate and real. Our anxiety often feeds us our worst fears, not reality, but it can be hard to tell the difference. This activity can help you sort out what’s real and what’s not.

  • Could Vs Will: Another activity to help you focus on what is likely to happen, rather than continuing to focus on what might happen and how you can handle it.

  • Mindfulness Exercise: “Leaves on a Stream” A straightforward exercise if you’re new to mindfulness or if you just like to keep it simple. The key is trying not to judge your thoughts, let them pass, like leaves on a stream. Your anxious thoughts have less power when you can take a step back and see them from an outside perspective. Try 5 minutes or less to start.

  • Coloring: Get a coloring book with whatever theme suits you. Look for apps, too. Using your finger in a repetitive motion on the screen can be calming.

Audio Visual:

  • Smart Watches: If you have an Apple watch the One Minute “Reflect” is a hypnotic and calming swirl of colors. The one minute “Breathe” version has haptics that help you time your breathing. Samsung’s Galaxy watch has a partnership with the Calm app and can help track stress levels too.

  • Books:

    • “Fuck That: An Honest Meditation,” by Jason Headley. Laughter helps.

    • Kindle is easily accessible from your phone. Have a book ready that you think might help; fiction, humor, anxiety workbook, romance, whatever you think might take the edge off.

  • Audio: YouTube, Insight Timer, Calm and White Noise are all apps that have meditations or calming sounds readily accessible to help you find your calm again.

Deep breathing: Your breathing is the quickest, most accessible tool to find your way back from fight/flight mode. Read more about why I decided deep breathing isn’t so bad after all.

Weighted Objects:

  • Calm Frog, a weighted pillow friend. I get no money for your purchase, just the satisfaction that comes with knowing I’m spreading the love for this happy little frog. Hold him in your lap or put him on top of your racing heart.

  • Weighted heating pad, blanket or vest

Noise reduction:

Loop Ear Plugs:When things get overstimulating, pop them in and take the edge off. Recommend the Loop Experience Pro with optional mute inserts.

Practice Regularly: click here to read more about practicing and preparing for anxiety.

I hope you found something that helped! I’d love to hear more about what works for you. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

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