Dealing with anxiety is a tough task for anyone. Because there are no quick and simple cures for constant worry, all sorts of coping techniques for anxiety exist, some more bizarre than others. Why not give these out-of-the-box ideas a shot? There are plenty of weird tricks that make you feel less anxious, so maybe an unconventional approach is what you need.
If you feel anxious regularly, you're in good company. Approximately 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders in the United States alone, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It's the most common mental illness, and it touches many individuals. Please note that if you are experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety, contacting a physician for help is the best course of action.
For people with occasional bouts of anxiety, though, the advice for dealing with it is pretty standard. In general, you're told to breathe deeply, exercise, and eat right (all good advice). But if that isn't doing the trick, then some legitimately weird approaches to anxiety may calm you down. Sure, these techniques include talking to yourself, taking a cold shower, or reflecting on your chakras. But it's important to do what works for you. To paraphrase a common saying: if it's weird but it works, it isn't that weird.
1Stick The Tip Of Your Tongue Behind Your Front Teeth
Sometimes the simplest tricks work best. For instance, placing your tongue firmly behind your front teeth and gums may promote relaxation, according to Personal Power Meditation. This movement encourages your head to rise, promoting better posture, and it can be done anywhere.
2Snuggle Under A Heavy Blanket
Sometimes a big blanket is the most comforting thing in the world. Wrapping yourself in a heavy, weighted blanket may provide a sense of security and anxiety relief, according to Mosaic Weighted Blankets. I've always felt comforted by the heavy lead apron you wear for dental X-rays, so maybe this provides a similar result.
3Gaze At Fractals
A never-ending repetition, fractals are complex patterns that remain the same across different scales, according to the Fractal Foundation. Seashells, plant leaves, and snowflakes are some examples of fractal patterns that occur in nature, but they always remind me of trippy blacklight posters from '90s mall stores. At any rate, looking at fractal patterns can create a calming sensation in the brain, according to Everyday Health. Staring at these repeating patterns for a few minutes may decrease anxiety.
4Take A Cold Shower
This tip isn't for the fainthearted. But if you want to channel your inner ice queen, here's how it works. Briefly exposing your entire body to 68°F water in the shower is a simple form of hydrotherapy, which has a long history of easing anxiety, according to the website for Psychology Today. It may have something to do with the body's cold receptors producing a therapeutic effect. Whatever the case, you'll forget all worries the instant cold water hits your skin, so that's something.
5Clear Your Root Chakra
If you're into mysticism, consider the chakras. Clearing your root chakra may relieve anxiety, according to The Energy Healing Site. As the site further explains, this clearing can be accomplished by walking barefoot in nature, organizing your home, and eating healthy comfort foods, all of which sound pretty relaxing to be honest.
6Talk To Yourself
Talking to yourself might actually improve mental wellbeing. Addressing yourself like a separate person was shown to decrease anxiety, possibly due to the distancing effect, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Saying "you can do this" instead of "I can do this" might calm your nerves. At the very least, you have a fantastic reason to refer to yourself in the third person.
7Sniff Relaxing Things
OK, so a bottle of essential oil will not magically cure a serious anxiety disorder. But scents such as anise and chamomile can reduce bodily tension, according to Greatist. Find a smell that relaxes you and sniff away.
8Blow Up A Balloon
There are a zillion different breathing exercises for relaxation, but this might be the most fun. Blowing up a balloon is one way to focus on deep breathing, according to She Knows. Plus, there's no dignified way to inflate a balloon, so you'll probably laugh a bit in the process, which is another great tension-buster.
9Hide & Stretch
Do you live or work in a chaotic space with no privacy? Try to get a few minutes to yourself throughout the day to calm down and chill. Escaping to a bathroom, dressing room, or closed office for a couple of minutes to stretch and shake off tension can work wonders.
Social media can be such a source of stress. Unfriending negative people may ease your anxiety, according to Hey Sigmund. Sometimes hitting the block button brings instant relief, so unfollow with abandon.
11Schedule Worry Time
Maybe the trick to worrying less is giving yourself space to worry. For some people, scheduling specific times to worry reduces stress, according to Buzzfeed. Set aside 30 minutes a week to fret your heart out, and maybe you'll stress less at other times.
Common advice says cutting back on caffeine helps decrease anxiety. But this opposite advice is great news for my fellow caffeine fiends. Early research has shown that caffeine may help increase your ability to deal with stress, according to Business Insider. Brew another cup of coffee to test the theory for yourself.
13Get A Haircut
Self-care is a necessity. Simply getting a haircut, massage, or manicure helps some people feel less anxious, according to the website for Psychology Today. If salons aren't your thing, taking a few minutes to practice self-massage or soak your feet in the tub might do the trick.
14Stick Your Legs Up The Wall
Many yoga poses offer amazing relaxation techniques. In particular, the legs up the wall pose is good at relieving anxiety, because there's something soothing about bringing the legs above the heart, according to Do You Yoga. It's easy enough: lay on the floor and stretch your legs up a wall. Bonus points for doing this in public with no explanation.
15Brush Your Teeth
Simple tasks can be grounding. Activities that involve repetitive motions, such as toothbrushing or ironing, help some people disregard anxious thoughts, according to Everyday Health. Any routine chore that takes the focus away from stress is helpful.
16Go Totally Bonkers
Sometimes anxiety makes you want to run around in circles screaming. Why not go for it? Spazzing out for a few minutes, screaming, and throwing pillows can manage pent-up anxiety, according to the Calm Clinic. Find a private space throw a full-on adult temper tantrum, and let those emotions go.
It's the opposite of the cold shower trick, and I am 100 percent here for this tip. Simply feeling warm may reduce anxiety, thanks to some effect on serotonin levels, according to Hey Sigmund. If you need an excuse to cuddle up in a warm blanket with a cup of hot tea, just remember it's for your mental wellbeing.
18Enjoy A Forest Bath
OK, so this practice does not involve sudsing up in the middle of the woods. Simply walking in the woods for 20 minutes can lower stress levels, according to Health. It's based on the Japanese idea of Shinrin-yoku, which translates to "forest bath." It's a neat way to rethink the whole idea: you aren't hiking, you're bathing in nature. Doesn't that sound refreshing?
19Make A To-Do List
Is your brain abuzz with all the crap you need to accomplish? Making a list can help order your thoughts, as well as prioritize tasks, according to Psychology Today. Sometimes having the thoughts out of your head and jotted down on paper brings intense relief.
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