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Adios Ansiedad

I mean not really, I wish, but let's at least try.

Here I go, everyone seems to want to know things that you can do to help calm anxiety. I am no expert and every day I learn new ways to try to calm my anxiety, but there are a few things that I have learned thanks to my therapist (shout out to my amazing therapist) that have helped. So, this is the first of many posts regarding ways to help calm anxiety.

  1. Touch cold things. Yes, this sounds weird, but actually the change in temperature, especially cold temperature, really helps to bring your mind back to the present and to focus on the temperature.

  2. Count your breathing. A good trick is to regulate your breathing in order to calm yourself down. When I am about to have a panic attack I begin to breathe really fast and over oxygenate my brain. This actually makes my panic attacks worse, so it is important to control your breathing. My therapist always recommends breathing in for seven seconds, holding it for five, and then breathing out in seven seconds. When I am really panicking, it's helpful to have someone else help you count. There are so many breathing exercises, so don't take my example as the only viable option. Play around with different exercises and see what works best for you.

  3. Talk it out. When I start to feel anxious and overwhelmed I usually call my therapist or a close friend to try to talk things out. Most of the times I get so anxious because I have so much going on in my brain and I'm thinking of the thousand different possibilities that might happen. Talking with someone and distracting yourself can be really helpful, especially if the person you are talking to is understanding and empathetic.

  4. Journaling. If you don't feel like you have anyone to talk to, or people you trust are busy (it happens, people have lives) you can always write down what is going on in your brain. Putting things down on paper can be so therapeutic and cathartic, I highly recommend it. As a plus, journaling can be as nice or as ugly as you want it. Sometimes I take my time and make my handwriting really pretty and use a lot of colors, and sometimes I write so fast I can't even read my handwriting.

  5. Drink herbal teas. Caffeine is probably your worst enemy when you have anxiety, so stay away from coffee, black teas, and any other products with a lot of caffeine. Herbal blends that have things like Lavender, Chamomile, Peppermint, and Rosemary are calming and soothing. It might be worth a try to make yourself a comforting cup of hot tea to help calm you down.

  6. Gardening. Getting to buy plants, being outside, connecting with nature, and getting your hands dirty can be a really good distraction. The good thing about owning plants and gardening is that the plants will stay with you and cheer you up in the long term.

  7. Take a bath. For me, taking a bath is one of the most therapeutic things I can do. Getting my body in the hot water with bath salts helps the tension leave my body. Plus, sitting in the hot water surrounded by candles, soft light, and relaxing music gives you a chance to relax and to think. Using bubble baths, essential oils, bath bombs, or bath salts that have a nice and comforting scent help relax me. That takes me to my last tip of the day...

  8. Aromatherapy. While there are definitely many pros and cons to aromatherapy (I recently learned about the multi level marketing schemes surrounding aromatherapy and all those people claiming it "cures cancer") there are still ways to use it in a positive way (well at least for me). Candles and essential oils are what I use the most. If you begin to read about herbs and different essential oils you will again find specific scents that help with anxiety and stress, and you can also find other uses for the oils. Having a comforting scent will make you feel more relaxed, so try different oils and find the one you love. One tip that really works for me is spritzing my bed with a lavender spray so that I am relaxed throughout the night.

These are just a few of the things that I have learned that work for me, there are so many other activities that I have tried and that I still want to try. After over a year of consistent therapy, I have to say that I do a lot of these activities without even thinking about it, they come naturally to me. I guess sometimes I don't realize how much I actually do to try to deal with my anxiety and I should give myself more credit for being brave and trying new things. I do think that while all these work for me, they might not help everyone, but I think these activities are worth sharing.


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