These days I find that most people want strategies to feel better that are quick and easy to access. I always say that different types of people and the severity of their mental health struggles are going to dictate what kinds of tools work for them. If you’re a person who needs a couple easy strategies to grab throughout the day to re-balance – these three things may be a perfect fit.
Here are 3 techniques you can try today (they take focus and effort, but they will not take over your whole day!):
1. 5-4-3-2-1 game. This is a mindfulness technique where you sit, breathe, and look around the room. Slowly name 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you can taste (or imagine tasting). By focusing on the senses you will be able to reduce anxiety within a few minutes.
2. Meditate! These days it’s easy to download apps (such as the app called Calm) and do quick 10-minutes-or-less meditation exercises to calm your mind and body. Even building this in a couple times a week helps enhance your body’s relaxation response and makes it easier to access in the future.
3. Get into nature. I am a big believer in this and my clients have probably gotten sick of hearing it! Nature can be awe-inspiring – and when we are “in awe” of something, paying close attention to what’s around us, our brain can’t continue focusing on anxiety-inducing thoughts. Go on a fun hike or a short trip and immerse yourself in the world around you – you’ll notice the calm immediately! I find that even looking through pictures of beautiful places in the world that you may wish to travel to, can help immensely during an anxious day.
In therapy you can gain education on why and how anxiety exists, more grounding techniques, and other strategies to calm your brain and thoughts. Anxiety has a “spiral effect” – the earlier you intervene the greater chance you have to stop this spiral in its tracks. Good luck!