What happens if you’re feeling anxious, about to panic but don’t have half an hour to calm down with meditation…
Here are some quick-fire ways to drop the ANXIETY and refocus your mind.
You’re in a queue in cafe, your coffee’s almost ready and suddenly, you’re overcome with anxiety. Did you remember to ask for a sugar in that drink? Do you ask for that sugar now… or when they give you the drink? Will you hold up the customer behind you? What if you need to visit the toilet, but your drink isn’t ready? What if your card doesn’t work at the checkout? What if that urgent call you’re expecting happens as you’re paying?
What if…? What if…? What if…?
Quickly stop your mind from derailing and find some things you can focus on. The idea behind this technique is to use all of your senses.
- Look around – find objects, people, furniture, signposts… whatever you can see and focus on them. Notice shapes, colours and textures.
- Listen – What sounds can you hear? Try to hear individual sounds and notice where they’re coming from.
- Touch – What textures can you feel? Run your hands over your clothing, whatever you’re carrying or perhaps the closest piece of furniture or object. How does it feel? Hot, cold, smooth, textured?
- Taste and Smell – What scents fill the air, can you separate individual smells or tastes.
Refocussing your senses helps drag you back into reality when your anxious thoughts have taken over everything.
A POSITIVE MEMORY
When I’m feeling low or something/someone has annoyed me, I find that I can usually turn things around by directing my mind away from the immediate situation and towards a thought or a memory of something that made me smile or feel good.
It takes a bit of practice beforehand, but if you’re forearmed with some examples… that time you heard that baby laughing and started chuckling yourself. That funny show you watched on Netflix, you know the one; The comedian on YouTube that had you in stitches or those funny cat and dog movies.
Sometimes, to get out of feeling down or anxious, think of something that made you smile or laugh and focus on it until you feel your anxiety drop.
Ask yourself in your head if there’s any REAL evidence to support your anxiety and if there is, what’s the worst that can actually happen? Will holding up the customer behind you be the worst thing in the world? If your card is declined, use cash or explain that you’ll go to the nearest cash machine. Try to rationalise the situation. Is worrying about what might happen going to actually help or stop it from happening? Can you change anything? If so, do it… if not, move on!
This one’s a great one. When you catch yourself feeling anxious quickly attempt to recall your phone number… backwards!
That’s right, forwards isn’t usually a problem, but backwards gets you thinking. If you want to have fun, try repeating the alphabet backwards, or your address. Anyway to get your brain into analytical mode will steer it quickly away from anxiety.
NIP TO THE LOO
If there’s one near and the situation allows for it, nip off for a quick toilet break. Even if you don’t ‘need’ it, a toilet break will give you a quick time-out to take a breather.
You can even do the other techniques at the same time. It can help just to get a bit of quiet clarity before returning a little less overwhelmed.
What other quick ways help reduce anxiety when you have no time?
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