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How a $1 Bracelet Helps Me Manage My Anxiety

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It’s small. It’s colorful. It’s twisty like a telephone cord. It only cost $1, and it has helped me on more occasions than I can count. I never take it off. Ever. It’s a child’s bracelet I found in a discount store, perhaps intended for dress-ups and play time. It has helped me so much that I went back and bought four more (which I’m glad I did because one has broken already).

So why has it helped me so much? Let me explain.

I have anxiety that can become quite intense at times, particularly around social situations and loud, crowded areas. When I find myself in situations that triggers my anxiety, I have a habit of scratching the skin on my hands to the point where they bleed. Often I do this unconsciously and don’t notice until it becomes painful. I really wanted to try and break this habit, and having this bracelet has become an important part of the solution.

Now when I feel my anxiety building, instead of scratching, I slide the bracelet down into my hand and use it as a fidget toy. I use my thumb to spin it round and round my middle three fingers. I wrap and unwrap its twists around one of my fingers over and over. I repeatedly tap it against my palm. Sometimes I even rub it against my lips, feeling the smoothness slide over, giving me a calming effect.

I have found the bracelet to be invaluable in helping me self-manage my anxiety. It gives me something else to do with my hands besides scratching. Has it completely stopped me scratching myself? No. Sometimes I forget about it. Sometimes anxiety hits too fast and too hard for me to even remember what I’m doing, let alone use the bracelet. But it has reduced it dramatically. As I never know when my next anxiety attack is going to hit, the ability to have this bracelet with me at all times is helpful because I know it will always be there when I need it.

Editor’s note: This is based on one person’s experiences and should not be taken as medical advice. Consult a doctor or medical professional for any questions or concerns you have.

Originally published: August 22, 2016
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