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We all deal with anxiety, and some days it can just get the best of us.  You can feel like a livewire of emotions and your head is spinning so fast you can’t even think.

It’s important to have some coping skills in your back pocket to pull you out of the anxious moment and into a space where you can take more control of the situation.  Having a variety of these coping skills is a good idea because depending on the situation you may react more positively to one over another.  Think about collecting coping skills like filling a toolbox, sometimes you need scissors and sometimes you need a hammer.

So let’s talk today about filling your Anxiety Slaying Toolbox.

 

  1. Just Breathe

Various breathing techniques can calm anxiety and shift focus.  Controlling our breathing can slow down our heart rate, change our energy level, and clear our heads.

A simple technique is to take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, breath out for 5 seconds, and hold out for 5 seconds before the next breath.  It is recommended to take at least 5 deep breaths this way, as it usually takes about 5 breathes to start feeling calmer.

Another simple technique that helps pull you out of a panic attack is to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds, and repeat that 5 times.  This creates an automatic shift in your nervous system from a sympathetic (fight or flight) state to a parasympathetic response.

If you have the opportunity to lay down, you can also try the balloon technique. To use this technique, lay flat on a bed or the floor putting your hands on each side of your bellybutton so the tips of your finger touch.  As you take long even deep breaths in and exhales you feel your diaphragm expands and contract ballooning out your fingers and bringing them back together.

It’s also recommended to breathe deep down into your belly when performing these techniques as belly breathing puts pressure on your vagus nerve and sends signals to your brain that you are okay.

 

  1. Strike a Pose

Changing your posture can create changes in mood.

When we stand up straight, shoulders back and chin up, we boost confidence.  Inwardly we feel it and others respond to it as well.  Getting anxious when on a phone call or trying to think through a problem?  Try standing up.

Another pose that helps calm anxiety is called Legs Up the Wall.  You lay on your back with your legs resting vertically up against a wall and breathe naturally for approximately 5 minutes, just taking notice of your natural breaths.  With your legs up, gravity helps pull the blood to your heart so you heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and your heart rate lowers producing feelings of calm.

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  1.  Shock Your System into Mindfulness

Giving your body a small temperature shock, like holding a warm cup of tea, can bring you back into the present moment. Giving your body a small temperature shock, like holding an ice cube or a warm cup of tea, can bring you back into the present moment.  Take account of what your skins feels, what can you smell, taste, and hear.  Mindfulness techniques like these are powerful tools to fight anxiety.

 

 

 

  1. Move Your Body

Anxiety tends to hype us up and over-stimulate us with energy.  Burn it off!  Like changing your pose, working off the excess energy can improve your mood.

If I’m anxious on a phone call or when thinking through an issue, I pace.  I walk and I think, and that movement often helps me think better and clearer.  Stanford University even did a study on how walking improves creativity.  So, take a walk.

Or if you’re really in the throes of anxiety, go for a run, or punch a pillow or punching bag until you can’t anymore.  Sometimes I’ll throw on some music (high energy, dance pop EDM or really stompy electro-industrial) and dance for 15 minutes straight or however long until I exhaust the anxiety out of me.  Plus, the exercise will give you a serotonin boost.

 

  1. Kill It with Fire

I use a simple fire ritual to burn anxiety away.

Write your worries on a piece of paper.  (No one will see what you’ve written so don’t censor yourself).  Then in a burning bowl, fireplace, or firepit, burn the paper, releasing all of your anxieties and worries.  Some people find it helpful to also write down their positive intentions and burn those too, releasing those intentions into the Universe.  You may choose to create your own mantra, prayer, or simple statement of intention while burning the paper, such as “I release myself from all these anxieties, doubts, worries, and negative thoughts, and am now free and open to positive solutions that are for my greatest and highest good.”

(Stella-Tip: Always Remember to always practice fire safety.)

 

  1. Wash It Away

Pampering yourself is a wonderful self-care tool.Draw up a nice hot bath or shower and give yourself some time to relax.  Light some candles, burn some essential oils or incense.  Throw in some bubble bath, bath bombs and essential oils, or bath salts.  Play some relaxing music, take a book in.  Spend some time with yourself and feel your worries melt away.  You can do an excellent visualization of your worries going down the drain with the dirty bath water (or visualize the shower washing away all your anxiety).  When you are done, wrap yourself in a warm fuzzy towel or bathrobe and just chill for a bit, feeling the new clean and refreshed you.

 

 

 

 

  1. Nourish

How and what you eat can affect your mood.  Take a look at your diet and talk to a nutritionist about making changes that can help you better manage your moods.

Some foods that help with anxiety include: spinach, collards greens, green lettuce, kale, arugula, leafy greens, asparagus, mushrooms, kiwi, blueberries, avocado, banana, brown rice, oats, whole grains, cheese, dark chocolate, salmon, turkey, cashews, kimchi, fermented foods, chamomile tea, valerian tea, kava tea, mint tea.

Foods to avoid on anxiety: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, aspartame, trans fat, MSG, high sodium food, fried foods, fast food, frozen dinners, foods with gluten, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, processed meats.

However, since all our bodies are different, always consult a nutritionist or dietician before making significant changes to your eating habits.

 

  1. Color It Up

Let your inner child out and spend some time getting lost in a coloring book!  Coloring has long between known to produce calming effects.  And adult coloring books are super popular right now.  Some of my favorites are Celtic knotwork, mandala patterns, and adult sayings and curse words written in pretty cursive (for those of us who like some class in our vulgarity).

 

  1. Zen It Out

Enough cannot be said about the health benefits of meditation: Just do it, it’s good for you.I cannot say enough about the health benefits of meditation, so I’ll keep it short: Just do it, it’s good for you.  There are so many good techniques out there from sitting in silence/breathing, to using mantras, music, poetry, or a guided meditation CD/MP3 (seriously, this Little Reiki Meditation album is one of my faves!).  Try a number of techniques and see what works for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Write It Out

Turn to your journal and just write it out.  Often times just putting some ink to paper helps you release emotions, and it can also help you think through situations.  Not sure where to start?  Just write stream of consciousness, whatever comes to your mind.  Even if it doesn’t make sense at first, don’t censor yourself, just keep writing.  Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy, a Word document or spiral notebook is fine.  Or dress it up by getting one of those swankycute, edgy, or badass personal journals or sexy little black books.

 

BONUS Engage with Your Self-Care Kit

A self-care kit is like a first aid for emotions.  It’s a collection of items that make you feel safe, comforted, and cared for; things that spark your inner SoulFire and make you feel good.  Gather these items, and put them in a basket or box in an easily accessible area for whenever you need them.

 

Have other suggestions for calming anxiety?  Comment below or on the SoulFire Tribe – Light It Up Facebook Group!  Share your knowledge and engage with other women!  Share this article with a friend and continue the conversation!

Xoxo,

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Stella Autumn

Founder, Women's Empowerment Coach, + Writer/Blogger at SoulFire Tribe
* Queen * Rebel * Unicorn * Coach * Writer * Lawyer * Witch * Geek * Goth/Alt Chick * Poetess * Explorer * Artist * Hippie * Book Dragon * Ladyboss * Quirky, Curious, + Creative * // I empower women invested in personal and professional growth to discover the courage and creativity within themselves to lead happy, balanced, and successful lives defined by their own terms!
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