In this day and age, it is but natural to be stressed out due to external factors over which you have no control. Your boyfriend’s behaviour, your boss’ words or your parent’s constant ranting—all of these affect us in some way or the other. According to a 2018 poll ran by the American Psychiatric Association, the amount of people suffering from anxiety every year is increasing by a shocking 5%. Millennials, especially, are the most anxious generation, and rightfully so, amirite? For those suffering from anxiety disorders, life can definitely be harder in comparison to their counterparts. But what does one do when they’re in a sticky situation in public where their anxiety takes a sudden hit, and they’re left feeling all kinds of claustrophobic and scared? I did some research, and here are the top 5 things you can do to calm yourself:
1. Practice Slow Breathing
The first thing that changes in your body when you begin to experience a panic attack or feel anxious is your breathing. It fluctuates to a high level, and this phenomenon is called hyperventilation. In order to slow my breathing down, I take the following steps:
- Take a long, slow breath in, first filling your lower lungs and then your upper lungs.
- Hold your breath until the count of three.
- Exhale slowly through your nose, while simultaneously relaxing your jaw muscles.
2. Focus On One Object That You Can Touch
To channel my focus away from the impending doom of a panic attack, I look around and find one object that I can touch. Take note of everything you can of this object. For example, let’s say it is a candle; look at the colour, shape, size and patterns. Go one step ahead and also try to recognise the smell (if the object has one). Focus all your energy on this object, and your symptoms might just subside.
3. Bring A Friend
If you know that you will be in a dicey situation at the place you’re headed to (for instance, your college reunion where your college boyfriend will bring his latest catch), then by all means, bring someone you trust. I know that when I have my best friend with me by my side, nothing can make me feel bad! Friends have got our backs and will be there for us in times of need.
4. Think Of A Happy Memory
Once again, focusing on something bigger and better than the thing that has you flustered will make you feel infinitely better. Think of that time when you met your SO, or when you went on a road trip with your besties! Anything that triggers a happy memory will allow you to see the bigger picture and categorise this event as a small bump on the way.
5. Look Up Something Funny On The Internet
Dog videos, baby pictures or funny TikToks; I bet there is something or the other that you enjoy watching just for laughs, no? Whip out your phone and scroll through that saved collection on Instagram that gets you joyful.
Which of these techniques have you tried and tested? Let me know!
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