I compiled a list of things in a "fun" format to try the next time you feel *that* feeling coming on.
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. Not all of these things will work for you. Do not take my advice as gospel. Make sure you have an official anxiety diagnosis from a professional, as it can actually be a symptom of other issues.
A - Animals
Hug your pet. Ask your friend if you can hug their pet. Go play with puppies at the humane society. Ask a stranger if you can pet their dog (ALWAYS ASK).
B - Breathe
Breathe properly! Anxiety can cause a choking sensation and shallow breathing can make it worse.
C - Coping Statements
"It's anxiety, I'm not dying" or "I'm breathing" or "I'm safe" can make a world of difference in the moment.
D - Distract Yourself
Download the FREE Kindle reading app on whatever device you have on hand (usually your phone) and start reading! There are always free books available.
Yes, it's the "power of positive thinking" in a way. "It's going to be okay."
F - Fresh Air
Go outside. Open a window. Stand in front of the A/C vent or fan. Sometimes a simple change will bring you back around.
G - Grounding exercises
Name 5 things you can see, name 4 things you can feel, name 3 things you can hear, name 2 things you can smell, name 1 good thing about yourself.
H - Have a Snack/Gum
Okay, it sounds weird and I'm definitely not saying "eat your feelings" or anything. But popping a piece of gum or a mint can trick your body into calming down a smidge. If you're eating, you're not in danger.
I - Ignore It
Controversial tip but stay with me. For me, sometimes I have to just pretend everything is peachy keen and hope my brain gives up.
J - Joke (laugh)
Tell a joke. Read a joke. Have someone tell you a joke. Pick a comedian on Netflix or Youtube and sit back. Laughing releases endorphins and can release tension.
K - Keep Going
Push through the task at hand if possible. Occasionally I'll find myself on the other side saying "oh, it wasn't that bad!"
L - Learn Something New
What is your favorite lesser known Greek god/dess? Which presidents had dogs? Can you train a ferret?
I don't know. Go Google it and distract your brain by learning a new tidbit.
M - Music
Music is my go-to. I have a playlist on my Amazon Prime Music labeled "Anxiety Girl" and I'll play through it when I need to breathe. If I can, I sing along as well.
Here's an embarrassing thing I do but it works for me. I start narrating what I'm doing. Usually, I'll pick an unusual voice. Picking up the kids and it's crowded on rough anxiety day? Insert me in a computer voice saying "Children acquired."
O - Ocean Sounds (or whatever you like)
Ambient Mixer offers all sorts of neat options. A lot are full of geek. Check it out. I like to ride in the Impala in the rain, personally.
P - Pills
THERE IS NO SHAME IN REACHING FOR YOUR PRESCRIBED MEDICATION.
Q - Quote (mantra)
Repeat a quote that will keep you going. Write it down in pretty font. Write it on your arm/hand. Mine? "Be brave. Live."
R - Reframe Your Thinking
"I'm going to kick ass at this interview" instead of "Oh crap, I hope I do okay"
S - Stop Negative Thinking
Stomp on that mental spiral as soon as you can!
T - Talk it Out
Post on social media asking for help. Start a blog (there are private options). Write in your journal. Text/Phone a friend. Tell your significant other to just sit there and mostly listen while you chatter away. Half the time, I find my own solutions.
U - Uplift Yourself or Others
Say something nice about yourself. Compliment a stranger. Comment on a friend's social media post. Do a random act of kindness.
V - Validate Your Feelings
I know this is in direct correlation to the "ignore it" advice I gave earlier, but I also said not all of the tips would work for everyone. There are times when I have to tell myself "I'm freaked out and that's okay."
W - Wait It Out
A lot of anxiety surges are short lived. Remind yourself that you made it out of the last one and you'll kick this one's ass as well.
X - Exercise
(X words are hard, yo) Use that energy! Do some cardio. Go for a walk (And get some FRESH AIR!) Clean your house. Clean your car.
Y - Yell
Put your face in a pillow and scream all of those bad words building up in your head. Lock yourself in your car and yell until your chest feels better. Just be sure and yell with your diaphragm or you'll hurt your vocal chords.
Z - Zen (meditate)
Get your zen on! Find a quick meditation on Youtube or download an app on your phone. Do some yoga poses. These tie back to BREATHING as well!!