4 Self-soothing Exercises to Help You Get Over Anxiety
Do you struggle with anxiety often? Do you feel like your anxiety is out of control and there’s nothing you can do about it but just wait it out till you somehow feel better? If yes, then self-soothing might just be the answer that you are looking for. Because let’s face it, anxiety can affect your ability to go to work and be productive, go to college, and have relationships.
Self soothing is effective for many reasons, but the most important one is it helps you take back control of your life. Anxiety is often characterized by feeling that your life is out of your control. When you’re stressed out and anxious, your body feels like it’s under attack. It’s trying to protect you by secreting hormones that make you feel “on edge,” but that can lead to anxiety. Self soothing techniques help you feel more relaxed and help your body return to a state of balance.
Self-soothing is the process of recognizing when your body feels distressed and then taking steps to calm yourself down and feel better. It is a practice that involves noticing and accepting your feelings without labeling them as negative or scary. Learning how to cope with stressors in your life and manage them well is the first step to keeping your anxiety at bay.
Try these simple self-soothing exercises to help manage stress/anxiety:
1. Mindfulness Exercises
This is a type of meditation where you focus on your breath and let go of any thoughts that pop into your head. This is a great way to practice self-soothing and to break the cycle of negative thoughts.
How to do it: Sit down in a quiet space and close your eyes. Start by taking a few deep breaths to calm yourself and relax your body. When your mind wanders, try not to get frustrated. It will happen. Pushing away these thoughts can help you get back to your breath even faster.
Meditation is great for self-soothing because it teaches you to let go of the negative thoughts in your head. It doesn’t matter if the thoughts are about the past or the future. You are simply there in the present moment, relaxing and breathing.
2. Put all the five senses to use
You experience your world through your five senses. A good way to cope with anxiety is to use our senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. Whatever you choose to do will elicit a positive feeling. You will associate that feeling with the activity and it will in turn help you feel better.
How to do it: Find an activity that involves one of your five senses. For example, walk outside and smell the flowers. Eat something you love or drink something you love.
3. Guided Imagery
This is a form of meditation where you picture yourself in a calm place. You picture yourself doing whatever you want to do. Guided imagery is a great way to take your mind off of whatever is currently bothering you and instill some peace.
How to do it: Find a quiet place where you can sit for 10-15 minutes. Picture yourself in a place where you are completely at ease and have nothing to worry about. You can picture yourself at the beach, in a forest, or in your own backyard.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
PMR is a process in which you focus on each muscle in your body and try to relax that muscle as you breathe out.
How to do it: Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can lie down. Start with your toes and notice how they feel. Breathe out and let them relax and give up all of their tension. Do this with every part of your body; the legs, the stomach, the back and the hands.When you reach your head, focus on your eyes and try to let go of any tension you may be feeling there.
With regular practice, self-soothing techniques can become your second nature when you need them the most. Self soothing exercises are a great way to calm your nerves and ease your anxiety. No matter what type of anxiety you experience, you can use these techniques to calm yourself down and take back control of your emotions. There are many different ways to practice self-soothing, and you can tailor these exercises to fit your needs. I hope this helps you calm down and feel relaxed when you need it the most :)