1. Deep Breathing
You may have heard it before, “Take a deep breath and exhale”. But have you been taught or told the RIGHT way to deep breathe? Sometimes we deep breathe in a way that causes us to be more stressed out… that’s right… SO, let me take you step by step written, and with an awesome picture.
- Take a deep breath in for a count of 2
- Hold that breath for at least 2 counts
- Purse your lips and exhale for at least 4-10 counts
The trick to deep breathing is the exhaling for an extended period of time. When we exhale at an equal or less than equal counts that we breathe in actually mimic breathing that we have during a panic attack. It can INCREASE the very anxiety we are trying to get rid of.
So, please remember…
Or else you end up feeling like this:
2. ICE, ICE, BABY
Feelings are fleeting. They come, and they will go… if we let them. Sometimes letting them go is very, very difficult. Ice and water symbolically remind us of life, cleansing, refreshing us. Well, that is the great thing here- there are ways to harness the vitality that water brings us: ICE.
Luckily this is an easy and quick relief- grab a piece of ice. You can rub the ice on your wrist and hands, or you can hold it until you can no longer hold it. Let me explain why this is helpful, holding cold things can hurt. It’s a striking feeling, and it’s hard to think about much other than how cold the ice it is. It forces us to be in the moment, completely mindful of what is happening for us and our bodies, and POOF- difficult feelings gone (or at least more manageable).
3. Mammalian Diving Reflex, YOLO
This one may freak you out, but I guarantee that it will work. Triggering the mammalian reflex is incredibly effective in resetting our physiological processes. Triggering this response causes our heart rate to drop, and the body to use oxygen more effectively- meaning, reducing the anxiety, and overwhelming feelings that we often experience. This is what you do:
Get a bowl of cold water.
Put your face into the water for as long as you can hold your breath (preferably 30 seconds).
Repeat until calm (usually you don’t need to repeat it).
Please, do not do this if you are afraid of drowning or are uncomfortable being under water. This technique is extremely effective; however, generally difficult to do outside of the home.
As always, I recommend that if you struggle with ongoing anxiety and feeling overwhelmed to seek out a professional. Therapy is for everyone.