With my recent guest post for Amy Oestreicher about traveling with depression/anxiety I have gotten a few questions about what you can do when you feel anxiety creeping up on you when you’re not at home. So called “quick fixes” for anxiety. Although professional treatment for anxiety related issues is always recommended, sometimes you just need something to help you right. now.
Recall, I’m not a doctor (hope to be someday though) and this isn’t scientifically proven – it’s just what I’ve observed the last 6 years. Also note that there is no quick cure to anxiety issues; sometimes it requires professional help and there’s no shame in needing a hand!
♥ put your hand in cold water (only works if you’re at home/a friends home) – it stimulates the nerve system and makes you think about something else than what’s causing you to feel anxious.
♥ breathe in a square – if you have anxiety you’ve heard about this exercise. It’s basically imagining a square, breathe in on one short-end of it, hold your breath on the longer side, breathe out on the other short side etc. Learned about this at the University in Gothenburg and now I always visualize the window there when doing this..
♥ hold someone’s hand (with their consent of course), I don’t know why but holding someone’s hand really tightly helps me when I’m freaking out. Other skin to skin contact (hugs, holding someone’s arm etc) also works.
♥ ice chips; when I’m panicking or drifting off ice helps. Ice is my panic-god. At work I have a cup of ice chips which I can chew on when my brain gets fuzzy. Helps me stay focused.
♥ No alcohol this might make me a buzzkill but by now I know that alcohol is going to make me feel three times as anxious whenever I start sobering up (usually at like 2 AM). I can have a glass of wine maaaaybe once a week but that’s it. It’s not worth the effects on my well-being anymore. To be honest it doesn’t really matter (can’t drink beer and don’t really love wine), I’m fine with water, coka cola or whatever.
I’m hoping we could create a little resource here with great tips for stopping an anxiety attack in the moment (not “get therapy”.. but like when it happens) so please share your best tips for avoiding a panic attack?