Yesterday, I was riding in the passenger seat with my husband driving and the kids in the backseat. We were on our way back from Hondumex (the Mexican store just twenty minutes away). It was nothing big, just us laughing, talking and carrying on. No worry in the world.
Until, I suddenly came crashing down out of nowhere.
My chest felt heavy, I couldn’t breathe, and I went very numb from my head to my arms to my chest. It scared me, so bad, even though I knew it was anxiety attack. I started crying. It came from no where and I had no idea why I had such an awful attack in the middle of the day. Maybe, it was Dillon’s driving (which would probably scare anyone)? No, I ride with him everywhere and it usually doesn’t bother me, too bad. There was not much else that could have caused it.
I then realized that, with anxiety, you don’t need a reason to have an anxiety attack. They can come out of the blue, sometimes.
I know there are so many ways that people calm an anxiety attack. My post, “What Can I Do to Calm A Panic Attack?”, includes only a few things, but that isn’t even a quarter of what we can do. I couldn’t really do much in the car, yesterday. Dillon had to rub my back and drive down the back roads, so I wouldn’t be scared of the traffic. He’s such a doll. It took that and the AWARE technique, I mentioned in that same post, to end this one. It was a doozy!
I know some of the techniques in my post may work wonders for me, and may not work at all for others, so I put together another random list of things that may help you!
Without further ado, here are fifteen more ways you can calm an anxiety attack or stress in general:
- Hand-held stress relief. The new fad, nowadays, is those fidget spinners, right? Well, they might be just a fad, but they are designed for a purpose: To relieve stress. If having something in your hand helps, this might be a great idea. Fidget spinners aren’t the only little trinkets you can use. These include, but are not limited to, stress balls, fidget cubes, and even slime (gross). If you don’t have one of these trinkets, you may be able to find tutorials on how to create your own hand-held stress relievers.
- Garden. Do you have a green thumb? Can you keep plants alive, unlike me? Then, tend to your garden! If you don’t already have one and are thinking about it, start drawing out your plans. Make them big plans, if you want. There’s just something relaxing about planting flowers and playing in the dirt.
- Hug your pet. Animals have a therapeutic quality to them. It’s not uncommon to see dogs or cats trained to work with people who have mental disorders. If you have a fluffy friend (who doesn’t bite), hug them and talk to them. They may not understand everything, but they are still there for you!
- Find some funny pictures. I mentioned funny videos in my previous post, but if you don’t want to watch videos and you have the internet, you can look at funny pictures. There is a huge variety of them on the web. You can find cute animals, adorable kids, hilarious face-swaps (my favorite), and whatever else is trending!
- Reorganize your closet. I think most of us have gotten rid of old clothes that we or our children can no longer wear. Maybe, you have some shoes to get rid of. Roll up those sleeves and make some extra room! If you have some clothes that are in good condition and you don’t want them or can’t wear them, give them to a shelter or people in need. You’ll keep your hands busy, have an organized closet, give back to the community, and it will give you an excuse to go shopping. Everybody wins, if you ask me!
- Chamomile tea. Aside from the many, many benefits of chamomile tea, the most common use is to relieve stress and anxiety symptoms. The aroma, alone, has a calming effect. If you want to try chamomile tea, make a cup. When it’s done, sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, take a deep breath of the steam from the tea, and breathe out slowly. Then, take that first sip. It, almost instantly, relieves anxiety symptoms. Careful, not to get burned!
- Lavender. Much like chamomile, lavender also has many benefits. One of those being anxiety relief. It’s mostly used in aromatherapy. Put a few drops of lavender essential oil in your bath water or use an oil diffuser. The pleasant smell will surely calm your system. Dried lavender flowers can also be made into tea. Research some lavender tea recipes online, if that is your preference.
- Ambient sounds. One of my favorite things to do (if the kids are quiet or sleeping) is listen to ambient sounds. I have an app on my phone called “Sleep Ambience” by JAZBOMB. If you enjoy the sounds of rain, ocean waves, crackling fires, the country side, birds, home appliances, nature, city ambience, and even relaxing music, this might be for you! There are several other apps, but I like this one because other than the set combinations to choose from, you can also create your own. I prefer rain and thunder combined with spring peepers and chirping crickets. When you find the one that relaxes you the most, put the volume at the desired level, sit back, and take deep breaths while you listen to wonderful ambience.
- Meditation. A friend and fellow blogger recommended, to me, meditation. The healing effects of meditation can clear your mind and help you breathe through stress. It’s a great way to sort out your thoughts and it may even help you to find peace with yourself. You can find videos online with meditation music and techniques. Again, the ambience app I have, has background music for meditation if you want to try both.
- Physical contact with someone close. If contact with other people makes you more nervous, feel free to skip this one. If you don’t mind it, then this might help. By physical contact, I mean a hug or squeeze of a hand by a loved one. If your spouse is willing, ask them if they can give you a back massage. Even sexual activity may help, if you’re up to it. I usually just sit and let Dillon hold me for a few minutes until the worst is over. It helps, so much, to know someone is there with you.
- Observe nature. I remember one of my panic attacks were calmed just by going outside. I took a walk through my grandmother’s garden and literally stopped to smell the roses and gently touch some of the flowers and plants. Nature is so beautiful, and it’s calming to sit and listen to the birds and the wind through the trees. Observe some of the magical wonders that surround you. At a glance, it doesn’t seem like much, but just thinking of how a tree grows and the grass feels beneath you gives you a new perspective on life, even if it’s only until you go back inside.
- Splash cold water on your face. Many people swear by this method. Simply collect cold water in a bowl or sink and splash a good bit on your face a few times. Doing this, stimulates a response in your body and slows your heart rate.
- Wrap up in a blanket. I’m not sure how many others will benefit from this, but it actually has helped me a few times. Most of my panic attacks bring cold chills and it seems like the colder I get while anxious, the worse the attack gets. I usually grab a thick, fluffy blanket and wrap up, snugly. Being warm helps calm me down. I may look like a character from the Dark Side on Star Wars, but it is such a wonderful feeling, to me. Especially, on rainy, chilly days.
- Just know that it’s only anxiety. Just knowing it’s anxiety does help ease it. If you have to, say it out loud. “This is a panic attack. They happen to so many others, besides me. I am in no danger. It will pass. These are just symptoms that are scaring me and I’m just thinking, illogically. An anxiety attack is only a response to fear, even if there is no danger.” Repeat this as much as you like. It make be even better to look in the mirror and say it to your reflection.
- If all else fails, call your doctor. If you are reading this, mostly likely, you already know it’s just a panic attack. If nothing else seems to be calming you down, you may find comfort in just talking to your doctor. Describe your symptoms, ask any questions you have, answer any they may have, and talk to them about what you can do.
It seems like it’s impossible to overcome an attack while you’re feeling its symptoms. You feel like nothing will help, but in reality, there is so much you can do. I really hope you find comfort in one or more of these techniques, or any other list out there that might help.
You can get through this. It will pass. I know you can do it, and when you do triumph over your attack, even if it’s just one, I hope you are proud of that victory!
You can overcome your anxiety, one panic attack at a time.