Tool of the Day:
Strategies for Reducing
When our anxiety gets especially big, we may feel panicky, perpetually keyed up, or even numb. Our sympathetic nervous system has been kicked into high gear, and it’s hard to bring it back down. The usual tools don’t always work when anxiety is at this level.
In this case, it’s helpful to try some physiological resets. These strategies work by disengaging the fight, flight, or fawn response, engaging the vagus nerve, and/or bringing us into the present moment.
1. Get cold. Plunge your face in a bowl of ice cubes, take a cold shower, or place an ice cube on the inside of each arm, just above the wrist.
2. Exercise intensely. Run up and down the stairs, dance/shake, or jump rope intensely for a few minutes.
3. Butterfly tapping. Cross your arms over your chest, so that each hand is resting on the front of the opposite shoulder. Without changing position, tap your right hand against the front of the left shoulder, then tap the left hand on the front of the right shoulder. Continue alternating left and right. Do this for at least a minute or two.
4. Eat something sour. Keep it in your mouth as long as you can before swallowing it (a hard candy is ideal).
5. Breathe deeply. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, breathe out for 7 seconds. The exhale should be longer than the inhale. Do this for two minutes.
6. Sing. Sing something loud and energetic. Sing the whole song as loudly and energetically as you can.
7. Engage your senses. Identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.