How to Calm Anxiety Creatively
Every well-being advice column is chalk full of tips on alleviating anxiety- you know the tired, rehashed advice we’ve heard our entire lives.
Remind yourself with positive affirmations that “everything is going to be okay.”
Well, sometimes things are NOT okay.
And that’s perfectly normal.
Try these five anxiety-busting hacks for hard days:
1. DBT Practices for Anxiety
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches us how to explore difficult emotions (like anxiety) from healthy, mindful perspectives.
In other words, DBT helps redefine how we perceive and respond to the world around us.
But in the best way.
Here’s some DBT wisdom anyone can use:
Mindfulness: Remain in the moment! Don’t allow yourself to fret about anything that’s happened in the past. It’s gone. It’s over. It’s done with. No amount of mulling over scenarios long gone— or even a day old— will fix or alter anything.
Conversely, fretting about the future is a fruitless endeavor, because you’re probably not psychic.
And guess what?
If upcoming plans, events, or aspects of everyday living are giving you anxiety, you have time to prepare!
Turn your anxiety into something positive and plan out your route to the job interview of your dreams. Practice your opening lines for your blind date, and then pop in a movie. Forget about it.
(The secret to overcoming anxiety is to either engage yourself in something positive, change directions, or re-frame your state of mind.)
Practicing mindfulness will refocus your attention on what you can change now.
The past and future are out of your control. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you’ll begin to feel better. And no— that’s not an invitation to freak out about not having control.
That’s just life.
2. Plug In
Sometimes you just need a distraction.
In our social media days of now cute puppies, kittens, and lop eared rabbits are only a YouTube click away.
Take advantage of your anxiety and use it productively.
Those skills you want to learn that you keep putting on the back burner, pick them up!
Break out your guitar, sign up for the online software development class, pick up your paint brushes— do anything other than let your head run away with your sanity.
When we experience anxiety it’s our job to help train our brains to focus on something else. Downtime watching puppy videos is sometimes all you need.
But if you want to really take advantage of your anxiety, resolve to work on something you’ve always wanted to accomplish, or begin nurturing a skill you’d like to have one day.
This technique will engage your mind in something else, and will reduce anxiety because you’re taking action towards a meaningful goal.
3. Use Pressure Points to Quell Anxiety
Usually you want to avoid striking and applying force to pressure points— especially yours!
But not this time:
A scientific exploration of the human body’s pressure points alludes one may mitigate anxiety with deep breathing and gently stimulating these points in careful, circular motions.
Check out Healthline’s handy guide to pressure points and anxiety.
4. Revisit Your Spirituality
Even if you’re not religious— or even if you’re an atheist— hear me out:
Unearthing a deeper meaning in the world around us is immediately soothing, because as humans we are always seeking where we belong.
“Spiritual” atheism does exist.
The concept revolves around an idea of literal connection; as in, humans are biologically connected to every organism on the Earth— as we are all connected atoms in the universe. Spirituality does not have to include an all-consuming entity.
Calm your anxiety by reminding yourself you are exactly where you ought to be for your continual development.
For those of us who are religious or “spiritually inclined” find comfort in your beliefs. Rekindle your relationship with the cosmos and your personal Gods.
Taking a few moments to reflect (or longer, if you’re so inclined) will ground your mind and body to a deeper inner calling.
Call it a spiritual re-calibration.
5. Pound the Pavement, Literally
Grab your shoes and pound the pavement!
Walking calms our central nervous system and helps quell emotional upset- including anxiety. Pouring your energy into a physical, visceral task (as opposed to remaining sedentary) is a healthy way to “burn off” anxiety.
If you’re the type- like me- who can’t get themselves out of the house when anxiety strikes, push yourself to make a compromise.
Walk around your front or backyard, just around the block, or to an area you feel safe in.
Creating safe places outside of your home is absolutely key in managing anxiety.
When you establish “safe zones” you’re in less danger of increasing your anxiety, because anxiety attacks often lead to self sabotaging behaviors. Like refusing to leave the house or becoming dependent upon someone to keep you calm(ish).
Don’t worry. Been there. Done that. You’re not alone.
This is expert advice here:
Thwarting anxiety is recognizing when you begin to feel anxious and taking action. When we wait until we’re having a full panic attack it becomes exponentially difficult to return to homeostasis.
So get out there and force yourself out of your comfort zone.
You’ll be better off for it.
How Do You Quell Your Anxiety?