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5 Quick and Effective Ways I Manage My Anxiety

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Anyone living with anxiety likely knows it can be an unpredictable guest. Sometimes, you may know it is coming; other times, it can be a side effect of a previous encounter or experience. Over the years, I’ve used some methods for myself and the children I work with for a quick release.

1. Breathe.

Not a light breath, but a full belly breath. Place your hand on your stomach, inhale through your nose, and push the breath out, all the way out through your stomach. Your hand should move with your breath. Sometimes, breaking the focus from the anxiety to your breath is just the distraction your body needs.

2. Touch.

For me, a subtle movement like tapping my index finger on my thumb is enough to release a bit of serotonin to calm down. Or I’ve found touching right below your collarbones can work to relieve anxiety as well.

3. Muscle clench.

This one is, hands down, one of my favorites because it works so quickly and is quite fun to do with children. Starting with the fists, clench them. Then move to the arms, stomach, legs and feet. Hold the clench for five seconds and release. That release can feel so very good when the body is in the thick of anxiety.

4. Sensory stimulation.

For years, I carried around a small container of Play-Doh, not only for my children, but for myself as well. The sensory stimulation can distract the mind enough to quell the anxiety from escalating.

5. Move your body.

Do 10 jumping jacks, go for a walk around the block, jump rope, or anything to get your body moving. Those endorphins can kick in and help soothe the mounting anxiety.

Whether you live with anxiety or love someone who does, you know it is not easy. Sometimes, anxiety cannot be fixed quickly. However, I’ve learned these methods can break the cycle of escalation and calm the body. When the body is calm, it can be easier to talk, to listen, and move through the anxiety.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: January 25, 2017
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