6 Tips to Calm Anxiety

This post is sponsored by Soothing Terra–opinions are 100% my own

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Before I had kids, I knew what anxiety was, I understood people struggled with it, but I was never fully able to comprehend how or why it affected them. I always wondered if you knew your anxiety was illogical, why couldn’t you tell yourself that and stop it in its tracks. However, I also understood from people struggling with anxiety that they knew it was illogical and could tell themselves that, but it didn’t stop their body from reacting.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy. I’d be in the middle of a perfectly normal day and suddenly feel alarmed, like something wasn’t right. At first, because I’d never had anxiety, I didn’t realize what it was–which made it even more worrisome. After it started occurring two, three, four times a week, it became obvious. At my worst point, I remember awaking from a dead sleep alarmed, heart pounding, sweating, and 100% convinced something was very wrong. Being pregnant, it was always a difficult balance between is this anxiety or is this something related to the pregnancy I should actually be concerned about.

I started bringing it up almost every time I went to my OBGYN’s practice and always got the same answer of basically, “Oh, that’s completely normal. Try not to worry about it.” *eye roll*… thanks. On top of that, my husband is of a very rational, science-based mindset, so it was even harder for him to comprehend or comfort me when out of nowhere I would be completely frantic over nothing.

The best way I could come up with to explain it to him (or someone who’s never had anxiety) is to think of a time when you were legitimately threatened, adrenaline takes over and your fight or flight instinct kicks in. For example, that time you almost got in a car wreck, when you saw your child waddling toward the road, etc. Anxiety is like that feeling except it occurs when there’s no real threat, and there’s no off switch. I know that logically nothing is wrong, but that high adrenaline, fight-or-flight feeling continues pulsing through your body at full intensity for several minutes regardless.

It became obvious there wasn’t much anyone around me could do to help, and I couldn’t change the circumstances originally–or at least primarily–causing my anxiety (pregnancy/hormones). So, I had to take matters into my own hands, do some research and figure out from experience what helped ground me when I began to feel anxious.

Below, are six tips that have not only helped me personally calm anxiety but also several others that I know of or have shared these tips with…

1. Utilize Your Five Senses

For the life of me, I cannot remember where I heard or read this, but it seared into my brain when I did find out about it. I remember trying this method the very first time I had an anxiety attack after hearing about it and feeling that it helped my anxiety level out much quicker than normal. It’s simple:

  1. Find five things to look at.
  2. Seek out four things you can touch. (your pants, hair, seat, etc.)
  3. Listen for three different sounds. (is there a t.v. on, can you tap your finger, etc.)
  4. Recognize two things you can taste. (lick your chapstick, take a drink of water)
  5. Pick out one scent–anything you can smell. (even if it’s just your hand or hair)

The idea behind this is to get your mind off anxiety and refocus it by re-associating you with your surroundings and in turn hopefully your body realizes much quicker than normal that there’s no legitimate threat. What I like most about this method is that you can inconspicuously use it anywhere. For example, if you’re in the middle of work, on the Subway or in any situation where you don’t have tools available to you or don’t want to draw attention to yourself, give it a try. It can’t hurt!

2. Change Location

Sometimes, you’re in a situation where you don’t have the ability to get up and leave or go somewhere else. That’s fine–there are plenty of other methods to try. However, if you do have the ability to leave, go outside or even get up from your desk and walk into the bathroom, changing locations can be one of the quickest ways to diminish anxiety. Many times if you’re able to physically move somewhere else, you can mentally trick yourself into thinking you’ve removed yourself from whatever may have triggered the anxiety.

You’ve probably noticed–whether in movies or real life–people say something like, “I need to get out of here” or “I need some fresh air” when they start to feel overwhelmed. And once they make it into another room or get outside, they’re able to calm down and breath–same idea.

3. Create a Mantra

I know, tacky, right? I totally agree, but funny thing is, this is the method that works for me when nothing else will. When I’m preparing for an event I know I could easily send myself into an anxious spiral over (interview, meeting someone new, traveling), I can repeat something positive in my mind and completely shut out the thoughts that make me anxious. Or when I’m in the middle of feeling anxious and nothing else is working, the only thing I have left to do is tell myself something over and over again, rewire my thoughts and calm myself down.

I think mantras go hand in hand with meditation–which I haven’t personally tried so I won’t recommend it–but the whole idea is to get back control over your own mind. My personal mantra is always: “You are calm. You are cool. You are confident.” <––And this is not cool as in the hip kid in high school; it’s cool as in temperature because I get overheated easily. I find coming up with a mantra works best when you pinpoint what you feel makes you lose control (in my case, nerves, heat and in turn, lack of confidence). Then, find a way to positively address it in your mantra.

4. Cut Out Caffeine

This is also the one that causes me to involuntarily roll my eyes or make a loud raspberry/fart noise with my tongue. To be 100% honest with you, I only tried cutting caffeine when I got so desperate and so fearful of every little thing I was doing potentially causing me to panic that it was finally worth it to cut out one of my favorite things in the world: coffee. In April after having some major, ridiculous panicking during what should’ve been some really fun outings and traveling, I completely cut out caffeine and haven’t looked back.

After doing some research on adrenal fatigue and my husband finding some forums referencing anxiety/hives in connection with caffeine, I knew this was probably the last major route or dietary restriction I had left to try. And go figure, the thing that I love most was also my downfall because I haven’t had a single anxiety attack since I cut out caffeine. Now, I have still had a couple moments where I feel anxious, but no major anxiety, panics, nothing even close to what I was experiencing before I stopped caffeine. I do also still have the occasional dark chocolate or decaf coffee but notice little to no kickback from it.

5. Drink Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is calming. It’s often recommended by doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, etc. to calm or help people sleep. There have been several studies showing chamomile can be a natural anxiety reliever. When my anxiety first started, I noticed it primarily occurred late at night when I was trying to fall asleep. I started drinking a cup of chamomile tea and pushing myself to go to bed earlier. Once I implemented an evening cup of chamomile tea, I did notice less and less problems with anxiety at night. I also found the tea would generally help me fall asleep quicker and with more ease.

6. Take Advantage of Essential Oils

It seems like people use essential oils nowadays for just about everything from making their house smell great to treating a cut to adding scent into homemade laundry detergent. There are so many uses for essential oils, whether they be for comfort or health. My personal favorite–and one of the most commonly used for calming and anxiety–is lavender. Studies show lavender can be beneficial in several cases connecting to anxiety, insomnia, stress, etc. I generally place 1-2 drops on my wrists or put some lavendar in a diffuser. Several other blends of essential oils (pre-made or not) also seem to help people stay calm or relieve anxiety.

Because I feel essential oils are pure and healthy, I do lean on them when I can–whether it be to relieve anxiety or add scents around the house. Because I’m an avid user of essential oils, I was lucky enough to partner up with Soothing Terra and use one of their amazing cases to store my essential oils. I generally keep them in a cabinet but found keeping them in a case stopped any oil residue from leaking onto surfaces (or in my purse if I have one with me) and made it easier to keep my oils on hand if I felt I may need them or want to use them. If you’re also an essential oil user or considering trying oils for your anxiety, I would suggest grabbing a case (big or small) to store them in, as well.

In which case (pun may be intended), you’re in luck and can enter my Soothing Terra Essential Oils Carrying Case GIVEAWAY below!

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66 thoughts on “6 Tips to Calm Anxiety

  1. Greetings. It has happened to me on several occasions, I remember that once I went to a doctor, she gave me a placebo pill (aerom for stomach gases) only sucking that pill I was recovering, of course I did not know I remember the doctor told me I had nothing and I let my body be in that state. Another time was at the dentist, I began to shake, anesthesia did not take effect on me, the Doctor made out to calm and in another office I saw a little boy, and I said to myself if he can I can too so I enter and finally the Doctor can do his work, in other occasions when I already feel anxious I prepare a chamomile tea and start walking and cheer myself, really we create this state of anxiety every time I’m about to fall remember the Dr words: You let your body fall into that state! Chamomile tea and cheer up myself works!!

  2. Yes! These are so good! The mantra has helped me so much. You’re so right that part of dealing with anxiety is realizing there is no legitimate threat. I need to look into essential oils more. Last week I got a Himalayan Salt Lamp for my office. I feel like that was a good first step :).

  3. Great post! I know what you mean by anxiety, I do have them too. My favorite part is the essential oil and change location. What I didn’t know about us caffeine, I love my coffee. I will try to cut back a little. Thank you for the great post.

    1. I know–it took me a long time to make the connection and start researching caffeine. I will admit that one is the biggest bummer for me, as coffee is probably my favorite thing to drink.

  4. This is an excellent post! Anxiety can be scary. Speaking from experience, all of these tips work tremendously! I’ve never had anxiety until after my first child. I also was unsure what was happening. I still get anxiety on occasion but I work on it with the awesome methods above 🙂

    1. Same for me, except it didn’t occur until I was pregnant with my second and lasted for about a year and a half after. Now, I’m like you in that I get anxiety on occasion, but I’m much better at handling it and it’s not near as crippling as it used to be.

  5. I finally overcame my anxiety attacks when I realized that they couldn’t kill me, they started to just become annoying – but during that same time I began to reduce caffeine (slightly) and forced myself to get really good sleep every night (no more staying up late/getting up early) – love your tips, hopefully they help someone struggling, anxiety is scary!

  6. Yeah – the caffeine is going to need to stick around for me. But – love the essential oils idea! I heard heard that a lot so I will check into it. Maybe start with lavender?

    1. Ha! Karen, that was 100% my attitude with coffee at first, too, but I compromise with decaf often. I’d definitely suggest lavender. There are some blends pre-made by a lot of brands for calming, but I really just like to keep it basic. And lavender’s always helped me.

  7. I once got a burn on my arm and remembered reading a story about Lavender essential oil saving someone from a bad burn, I gave it a try and my burn healed very quickly… Then later I got another cooking burn but was out of Lavender, but had Eucalyptus essential oil, I used that, my burn felt better and seemed to heal as quickly as the previous that got Lavender, Nice post, and great giveaway… I will share this around…

    1. It took me way too long to realize the majority of my anxiety was stemming from adrenal fatigue, and caffeine (along with stress and not enough sleep) was the main component to that.

    1. It is really hard, and I only got the point where I decided to cut it out because I didn’t feel like I had any other options. Although I will say, since I’ve cut it out and after I went through the first week or two adjusting, I do have much more consistent energy versus relying on caffeine for energy.

  8. This is a great post. I had anxiety really bad with my first born. I would literally just drip sweat for no reason when we would be in public. I somehow learned to cope (or she just got easier to handle with age) but it was horrible. Your tips are fantastic. (and I don’t have a fav. scent because I am totally new to the oils scene).

  9. Lavender is my favorite essential oil because it is calming and has sooooo many other uses too. I am pregnant with my 4th and have been battling uncontrollable anxiety off and on for two years, I enjoyed reading these tips and find them so useful, although I don’t know if I can give up caffeine just yet!

  10. Anxiety doesn’t easily go away and it’s good to have an outlet or a list of things that you can do to calm yourself down. These are really great suggestions, I love that first one, it sounds really calming and effective.

  11. Great tips, I am going to have to save this one for later as a reminder. I have been wanting to get a diffuser for our house as I think it would help me, its not really in the budget right now but I think its one of those things that needs to be done.

  12. I definitely need to change locations. I also feel like when I cut out caffeine several years ago it helped me have more patience. I don’t have as quick of a fuse as I used to so maybe that really helped in more ways than the specific health reason that I had to give it up. Good thoughts!

  13. These are some great tips! I especially like the information about using your senses. One of my go-to’s when feeling anxious or stressed is to focus on my breathing. It works, every time. 🙂

  14. I have anxiety myself and my last big anxiety attack was yesterday when I was trapped a tube station with thousands of other passengers in a tiny space it was horrible as I am extremely claustrophobic. I agree that creating mantras can help.

  15. Such great tips! I deal with anxiety pretty regularly, and I’m constantly looking for natural ways to calm myself. I will be trying these for sure.

  16. I started with oils just over 2 years ago and use so many for so many things. For anxiety, I use a Calming Blend and that helps so much. But I also find some relief from ones that just smell good – usually citrus – like grapefruit. I like to use Bergamot in the diffuser too – for an overall uplift to add to the Calming Blend that I apply.

    Thanks for the article and the giveaway!

  17. Anxiety is a serious problem, although the level is different on each person. I didn’t have anxiety until I moved to the country I lived now. The stress of dealing with everything that seems new to me giving anxiety. Your tips to calm the anxiety is really available.

  18. What great suggestions!!!! I’m all about using lavender oil to destress. It’s crazy how something so simple works wonders!

  19. My daughter has anxiety and essential oils have really helped. She is only 8. I wish I could get her to drink a little chamomile tea at night.

  20. Anxiety is a serious problem, although the level is different on each person. I didn’t have anxiety until I moved to the country I lived now. The stress of dealing with everything that seems new to me giving anxiety. Your tips to calm the anxiety is really valuable.

  21. Caffeine is a big contributor to my anxiety too. I don’t drink coffee or soda so it is easy to keep out of my diet. I also couldn’t love without my lavender esenssial oils! I even keep some at work.

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