13 People with anxiety share the things that help them stay calm
Anxiety disorder is a difficult mental illness to deal with. While you will get plenty of advice to manage your breathing and generally "calm down", those methods aren't always as easy to implement as they sound. But those who deal with the illness often find their own ways to battle their anxiety.
The Mighty, a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities, has over a million registered users who talk about topics ranging from autism, cancer, and disability to various mental health issues. The community got together to talk about the more obscure and specific methods they use to calm their minds down, which you can check out below.
"Driving helps me relax. I like the way I have to concentrate on the road, so I don’t retreat into my head."
"Listening to audio books and podcasts. [They] help me focus on a story and a voice and [they] relax my brain."
3. Heavy metal
"Heavy metal music! [When] I close my eyes and listen, suddenly everything around me is moving as fast as the music, and faster than my thoughts. It helps me drown it all out."
"I cook to clear my mind. Some of my best creations in the kitchen stem from a busy mind… Being in the kitchen brings me back to center and brings me peace."
"I sing to myself, especially when in public places, like the grocery store. People find it odd, because they think it would increase my anxiety. Music has always been something soothing to me, and singing to myself helps keep [my] heart rate down, and gives me something to focus on in anxiety-inducing situations."
6. Counting coins
"During a panic attack, I count the change in my pocket. The noise of the coins and counting grounds me."
7. Cold or hot drinks
"Drinking something very cold or very hot. The surprising temperature of the drink makes me be mindful of it and takes me out of the worry of the moment. It’s a little trick a therapist taught me once."
8. Shoulder stands
"For me, it’s doing shoulder stands. I guess it's just the feel of seeing everything in a different perspective that relaxes me."
9. The Sims
"Playing 'The Sims'. In a world where I have complete control, I can relax. For a few hours, I can be at peace and breathe. Because even though my life is spinning out of control, at least I can control something."
10. Holding a frozen orange (??)
"Holding a frozen orange. It’s very grounding and makes me focus on the ball of coldness in my hands. My heart rate goes down, and my thoughts slow down enough for me to reach out to my support team if I feel I need them."
11. Talking to shrubbery
"Talking to my potted plants [on] the balcony, while observing every little pattern on different leaves, overturning little bits of moist soil — pretty soothing. Weird, but helps me divert. Sometimes, [I] forget what even got me anxious."
"Doing my makeup even when I’ve got nowhere to go. It’s like doing art on my face, I can express my feelings and sometimes even end up looking nicer."
13. Eyebrow wax
"Having my eyebrows waxed! I love the gentle music [at] the beautician’s, [and] the fact that they don’t know who I am, apart from [being] the lady that goes in every three weeks to have her eyebrows waxed. I just lie there and relax for 10 minutes."
Honestly, while many of these are understandable in some way or another, I can't say I have ever considered holding a frozen orange. Do they have a freezer full of the citrus fruit? Either way, it actually sounds like a sound method - and there's always a reason to boot up The Sims for an hour or so.