According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult calming your anxiety can feel most days.
When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become a blur of overwhelming sensations. We don’t always know where we’ll be when that out-of-control feeling finds its way to the pit of our stomach. It’s important to be able to self-soothe in these instances. But how can you calm an anxiety attack subtly when you’re out in public?
Focus on Breathing
As soon as you feel the anxiety coming on, focus intently on your breathing and nothing else. Begin to take slow, deep breaths. Inhale for a slow count of three, hold for a count of three, and exhale for a count of three. Slow deep breaths send a signal to our body that we are not under attack and everything is okay.
Talk to Yourself
In your mind, remind yourself that you are having an experience but that you are not that experience. While you feel that something is wrong, remind yourself that you are actually safe and all is well. You can also think or say aloud some positive affirmations to calm your anxiety. Try telling yourself something like “the panic I feel is only temporary,” or “I feel totally safe, calm, and at peace.”
Anxiety Calming Visualizations
Think of something that calms you. This may be your childhood bedroom or your grandparents’ home. It could be your favorite beach or your own bathtub. Simply put yourself in that space. Recall the sensations you felt in that environment, like the smell of your favorite bubble bath or the warmth of the sun on your face. Use your full imagination to feel yourself there and allow the calm to settle over you.
Practice Anxiety Calming Listening Meditation
If you’ve never tried listening meditation, you should! It can be especially beneficial when you are feeling panicked or anxious. Listening requires you to stop thinking. Try it now. Stop reading and instead listen to all of the ambient sounds there in the room with you, outside the door, and near the window.
What do you hear?
Maybe you hear the buzz of the lights overhead, the noise of the ice maker, a bee at the window, or your dog’s collar down the hall.
It’s actually a great exercise for grounding. And in order to really give sound your full attention, you can’t think while listening. It’s a bit like trying to juggle while standing on your hands; it simply cannot be done.
Much of our anxiety comes from our anxious thoughts. It’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us alive by alerting us to all of the dangers around us. But when we meditate, this mind chatter goes away.
When an anxiety attack comes on, life can feel unbearable. The next time this happens to you in public, try one or more of these anxiety calming techniques.
If you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, one of our licensed therapists at Evolution Wellness in Wilmington, NC can help. Our providers are here to teach you strategies to manage your anxiety on a daily basis. Give us a call today at (910) 202-4326 or fill out our online form to starting overcoming what’s holding you back.