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DIY Techniques for Reducing Anxiety

DIY Techniques for Reducing Anxiety

Anxiety can be a very painful subject. It is especially painful because most people understand that it is not rationale. They know that there is no reason to lay awake at night. There is no logical reason to worry. There is no reason to be pacing the halls, but they have to. They just have to. And that is the curse of anxiety problems.

The good news is that there are many therapies and medications that can be used to treat anxiety symptoms. We understand, however, that not everyone has access to a therapist regularly to talk about these problems. With that in mind, we have a few simple techniques that anyone can do that can help in the moment. Using these coping skills will help you take that anxiety down a notch and make it more tolerable.

Now before we get into this, there are a couple of things to clearly state about using coping skills. First using coping skills is no substitute for talking with a therapist. A therapist is trained in diagnosing and applying correct techniques to match the problems you are experiencing. They will always be preferable to online help columns, no matter how accurate and useful. If you are seeking affordable help, or cost is a concern to you, please consult our directory for clinicians in your area that strive to be affordable and accessible. These coping skills are just to help you during times of stress and in between counseling sessions. Please consult your therapist for coping skills specific to your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Second, techniques or coping skills need to be done at the right time, or they will not be helpful. For example, if the anxiety is already at a 10 on a 1 to 10 scale, these techniques will not make a noticeable difference. That is the time for other measures. The time to use coping skills is when anxiety is at about a 5, before it becomes painful. Remember that as we go forward.

Breathing Techniques

Now when it comes to anxiety calming techniques, there are many that are actually well researched and used in the therapeutic community. The first one is heard very frequently, “just take some deep breaths.” Yes, slow, deep breathing is an excellent coping mechanism when it comes to combating anxiety. There are probably hundreds of breathing techniques out there, the main goal is to take conscious control of your breathing, and to breath in a slow, measured manner. One common breathing technique is 3-4-7 breathing. In this technique, you will inhale slowly for a count of 3. Then hold that breath for the count of 4. Finally exhale for a count of 7. Repeat this several times until it is a consistent rhythm. If this one does not suit your needs, there are many others, like 4*4 breathing. Inhale for the count of 4, hold it for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4, then hold it for the count of 4 before starting over.

Breathing techniques work because they do a couple of different things simultaneously. First, they make you take conscious control of your breathing. When you are anxious or panic stricken, you will be breathing fast and shallow, which is helpful if you are going to run from a predator, not helpful in modern society. Second, they get your mind off the anxiety and the symptoms surrounding it. That is a key part of this that we will talk about more later on.

Do Math in Your Head

The next technique may make people groan. Do math in your head. This is just doing something very logical in your head, and math is nothing but logic. Pick something that is just hard enough that you have to think about it, but not so hard that it is confusing or frustrating. This will be an individual choice. Start doing math when the anxiety is starting to ramp up. This is a great technique to derail anxiety, and one of the benefits of this is that nobody around you can see you doing it.

Doing math works on the same distraction principle as deep breathing. It also works on a different level as well. When you are having anxiety, the emotional hemisphere of your brain is using most of the energy and dominating the other half. You need to take some of that energy and put it back in the logical half so you can go back into balance again. Math is one of the most logical activities there is.


Next, one thing that comes with anxiety is catastrophizing, making things seem worse than they really are. This is just a component of anxiety, and comes, unfortunately, naturally with it. This can be contracted with going over a list of gratitudes. Go over in your head, or better yet, write them down, a list of things for which you are grateful in your life. Pick a target number, like write down a list of five gratitudes. What this does is again distract, and consciously make a change of mindset, looking at the positives, the helpful and the peaceful.


Last technique to use when you are feeling anxious and agitated is a simple distraction technique. Often, when you are anxious and upset, your mind is racing and centered on one thing: whatever is causing your anxiety. It can be very demanding, and feel like it is impossible to get away from. That is not the case however. You can distract yourself from anxiety and other uncomfortable emotions. Distraction can be as simple as watching TV, or listening to music. It could be something more complicated like exercise or going for a walk in the woods. The trick is to find something that is enjoyable for you and doing it. Distraction you mind resets it in a way to a more neutral position. Without the anxiety in front of you, it can be easier to focus and center your mind.

Using these techniques, you can help decrease your anxiety and make it tolerable or even make it go away altogether. Remember to do this before the anxiety gets intolerable, and to practice. The first time it may not be successful, but we do very few things successfully the first time. We need to practice. Counteracting anxiety needs practice too. Consult with our directory of therapists for those that can work with you on anxiety and other disorders, as these techniques will not substitute for counseling,but this can be a way to manage and help take anxiety down a notch.

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Jason Simpkins
Posted on 09/07/2018 by Jason Simpkins

Jason Simpkins is a writer at Open Counseling. He is a clinical social worker in Michigan and is dedicated to having quality mental health care available to everyone. And as a University of Michigan graduate, he says a hearty, Go Blue!


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