Having a moment?! No worries. These simple tricks will help stop your freak-out in its tracks.
YOU’RE RUNNING LATE
This seems like a super-frustrating sitch but it’s not so bad! “Your own thoughts, like, ‘This traffic is endless’ or ‘My boss will flip’, often cause stress,” says clinical director at the Ross Center for Anxiety, Dr Greta Hirsch. “Your brain is confusing possibility with probability.”
Listen to a playlist you find calming or engaging. Better yet, sing along. “When we use our vocal cords, it sends a signal to our brain that we’re OK,” says panic and anxiety coach Kelli Walker.
YOU CAN’T SLEEP
First, don’t look at the clock. Watching the minutes tick by creates the opposite physical response (a rush of adrenaline and cortisol, rapid heartbeat) to the relaxation you need to doze off, says Dr Hirsch. Second, don’t grab your phone. “Screens cue our brains to get up and get moving,” says Kelli.
Accept that you’re not sleeping but you are resting, suggests Dr Hirsch. “Take deep breaths as you repeat thoughts, like, ‘My bed is amazing. I love the feel of my blanket.’”
YOU’RE IN A SPAT
Fights with loved ones can quickly go from distracting to all-consuming, as our instinct is to overanalyse. “Don’t equate not calling with not caring — maybe he’s in a meeting, maybe she’s sleeping in,” says Dr Hirsch. “It just sends your anxiety
up and your mood down.”
“Take a walk with a co-worker, and make that the 15 minutes when you focus on the issue,” suggests Dr Hirsch. “Not only does activity expend energy, a scenery change will do you the world of good.”
When your hands are shaking before an interview or your heart is racing pre-first date, remember that anxiety isn’t just normal in these situations, it’s good. “Anxiety motivates us,” says Dr Hirsch. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t prepare; we’d just show up in gym clothes.”
Chill out — for real. For a few minutes, dip your hands in cold water or hold a cool drink on your tongue. “This triggers the vagus nerve, which signals the body to calm down,” says Kelli. Now, go crush it, girl!
6 TIPS FOR SELF-CARE
Learning to look after yourself will help boost your wellbeing.
- Sleep: Obvious, but being sleep-deprived can seriously affect your mood. It’s very important to switch off and rest both your mind and body.
- Relax, physically & mentally: Taking a mental health day to collect your thoughts is important for de-stressing.
- Connect: Not just via Instagram. If it sounds daunting to put yourself out there, it’s probably an indication you need time with friends or family.
- Do something you love: Keeping occupied with something that brings joy is a great way to practise mindfulness and overcome negative thinking.
- Speak up & ask for help: Reaching out for help is a good first step. Talking to a friend or professional about your thoughts can diffuse your anxiety.
- Get jogging: Exercise has been proven to assist with blood pressure and helps manage cortisol levels (which, when increased, can lead to depression).