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What helps you when anxious or have worrying thoughts?

Discussion in 'Strategies for Success' started by Petal, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    I struggle with this a lot myself. I would like to hear how others struggle with anxious thoughts and worrying sometimes for little reason but obviously feels huge at the time. What do you do to calm yourself down in these situations or ''episodes'' if you'd rather call them that. Ideas of all kinds are welcome :) Even if you think it only slightly may help, i'd love to hear your tricks, tips, ideas and advice :)
  2. may71

    may71 Well-Known Member

    This morning I was very worried that I had posted something that may have made things worse for somebody here.

    So one of the things that kind of helped was thinking what I'd say to someone who posted the same thing on SF.

    So what I'd say is

    1. You can't win 'em all. The important thing is that you are out there trying. While you want to do as much good as you can, as long as you are doing more good than harm, it's good. It's good to try to improve, but you don't have to be perfect.

    2. You don't really know how things have turned out yet. Maybe it actually worked out just fine. And even if things turned out bad in the short term, they might turn out better in the long term.

    Telling myself that I'm just going to try to be happy no matter what comes kind of helped too, a little.

    Then I also decided that I'd log in and face up to whatever had happened, rather than letting the worry just continue.

    As it turns out, it looks like everything was ok afterall :)
    Petal likes this.
  3. Charliex8

    Charliex8 SF Creative

    I'm not good at dealing with anxiety but I do have a couple of things that help me a little.

    First is having something to fiddle with. I use my rubber bracelets. You know the charity band things? I never take them off so I always I have one on my wrist to fiddle with. Keeps my hands busy. I pull them and twist them round my fingers. I break them a lot but I have a good collection of them :) I used to use my sleeve but after many destroyed tops I finally found these bracelets are a good alternative.

    Something I learned in therapy that has helped me a lot is positive what if's. I'm a big what ifer! What if they don't like me anymore? What if I say something wrong? What if I lick a goat? (yes that was a real one!) I know it's good to try to figure out what it is that your scared of, but if you get a lot of stupid, random what if's I've found it really helpful to think of 3 positive what if's for every negative. Say I was going out with my friends..."I'd think What if my friends don't want me there?" I'd then force myself to think of 3 positive things instead of carrying on the chain of bad...What if I have a good time? What if I make them happy by going? What if we go to that really nice coffee shop with the amazing hot chocolate!? It helps me feel a little better and it's a good distraction trying to think about positive things.

    And lastly...music. Doesn't help during the actual situation, but in the time leading up to the thing making me anxious, music helps a lot. I have a playlist with all my favourites and a good pair of headphones. I turn the music up to a comfortably loud volume until it drowns out everything else and really try to concentrate on the lyrics and instruments. Really calms me down and is especially good when travelling in the car.
    Flying Fox, Reaver and Petal like this.
  4. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Thank you so much for the tips, I love the ''ifs'' ideas, I am going to adopt that starting right now, thanks to both of you. Anxiety is so difficult into finding what works and what doesn't but together we can brainstorm and heal :)
    Charliex8 and Reaver like this.
  5. montiezoomer

    montiezoomer Member

    Three things that help me:

    1. Deep breathing/meditation, even if only for a few breaths but I find at least 5 minutes gets me the most benefit
    2. knocking myself out of the negative feedback loop by changing my physical location (for example - getting out and taking a walk or exercising)
    3. for those of us religiously inclined, prayer

    Its great to see others answers - there are some great ideas here. Even some of my tried and true methods don't always work so its great to have a source of new ideas for things to try
    Lynne1974, Sunday16 and Petal like this.
  6. Laughing therapy is one of the best cure for all types of mental illness. So , Laugh your way to a joyful life .
    Sunday16, Mercedesgirl and Petal like this.
  7. Alwayswrong

    Alwayswrong Well-Known Member

    I think I'm Miss Anxiety. What I testing now is:
    - imagine how a pilot would act when there's an emergency and he must try to save everybody on the plane: "keep calm and follow the manual" (my natural way is: "women and children first!").
    - awareness. Try to be here and now.
    - induce my parasympathetic system to take control by controlling my breath.
    - change to cognitive "decision making" mode
    Let's see if any of these works...
    Petal likes this.
  8. Endlessagony

    Endlessagony Seeker

    I find that sitting down in a long and hot shower helps calm me down when I can't stop the anxiety any other way. I sit there and just focus on the water falling down, giving the sensation and sound of it my full attention. This has been a sort of first aid for me when I feel crippled.
    Petal and Sunday16 like this.
  9. Who am I now

    Who am I now Member

    I suffered with worse anxiety than I do now. I don't have panic attacks really now. Some times I feel like I might but don't...

    Thinks like running on a tread mill, heart going fast < accepted this is anxiety, not going to kill me.. got over it. No longer an issue as long as I don't get dizzy with breathlessness or standing up to quick, even then. I can normally let the feeling exist without it over whelming me.

    I was the same traveling with people, knowing I could not leave when I wanted and being in rooms, where people could me as being ill. < not anymore.

    I think it was exposure for me, and dealing with it, by accepting what is was and trying to ride it out, breathe.

    I still shake when I deal with confrontational stress, and a few other things so not cured.
    I avoid caffeine and I do avoid stress where possible and try to keep calm. A bit of exercise and good diet can help too. For me anyway.

    It's not easy and is horrible
  10. Flying Fox

    Flying Fox SF Supporter

    Listening to calming music like classical or George Winston who is a pianist.
    Going outside to feel the sun, visit a park and enjoy.
    Aromatherapy, I like scented soaps, shampoos and lotions for that reason.
    Having something to occupy my hands like a bowl of beans.
    There are colouring books for adults that can be soothing.
    Watching nature and cooking shows/documentaries.
    Petal and Sunday16 like this.
  11. Sunday16

    Sunday16 Well-Known Member

    I take 3-5 deep, deliberate breaths. Then I take a few more. It instantly calms me down.
    Take a walk, and if possible walk outside. Removing myself from the situation helps.

    Good Luck Petal!
    Petal likes this.
  12. Paisley

    Paisley * * * SF Artist SF Supporter

    I use visualization a lot. I have a literal "happy place" that I try and pretend I'm in when I really do not want to be where I am.
    Petal and Alwayswrong like this.
  13. Winter Blues

    Winter Blues SF Supporter

    The trouble with anxiety and worry for me is that my concentration goes completely flat. So reading, music or anything that requires attention just makes me worse. I’m a bracelet person like @Charliex8 but not consciously. I’ve worn my bracelets for many many years and just twiddle them when I’m scared, upset or having a full blown panic attack. But for me it’s the dogs every time. They don’t judge, they don’t mind that I’m down .. their love is unconditional and we just walk and walk. Pets .. I love them !
    Lulabelle, Petal and Alwayswrong like this.
  14. I love making bracelets :) definitely makes you have to focus on the task at hand.
  15. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    I have tried this a few times in the last few days and guess what?! success! Thank you so much @Charliex8

    I love trying out new scents, obsessed with buying bath related stuff lol just had one actually,a hot bath with lavender, always makes me feel better even if it doesn't last that long :)
  16. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Awww its lovely you have your pets for when you're anxious. I'm not really an animal person but I do have cats and I love them, one of them is sleeping beside me as i ''speak'' lol
    Winter Blues and Alwayswrong like this.
  17. Charliex8

    Charliex8 SF Creative

    @Petal - Wow! That's great to hear! Thank you for sharing that with me. I'm so glad I could help :D
    Petal likes this.
  18. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    No, thank you for helping me :) Going to have another long bath in a while with mango scented body wash I picked up at the pharmacy, I love the smell of mangoes, they relax me. I will also add a little lavender oil for further mind soothing :) And use the what if's at the same time for further relaxation :)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
    Charliex8 likes this.
  19. gypsylee

    gypsylee SF Supporter

    I’ll omit the chemical stuff :)

    *Little computer games on the computer eg. Candy Crush
    *Music PLUS Candy Crush (volume down)
    *Diaphragmatic breathing
    *Talking to people (online and off)
    *Baths, especially with Lush stuff
    *Writing things down
    *Going for drives at night
    *Taking naps
    Supernova and Petal like this.
  20. Supernova

    Supernova SF Supporter

    when anxiety is severe:
    *take calming meds

    when anxiety is severe but needs some action or decision and responsibility:
    *look for a irl-friend I can talk to, chat with close people on here
    *call my therapist just to leave a message how I feel

    when anxiety is like a little girl needing some calming attention:
    *make myself a coffee
    *hot water bottle
    *watch something distracting online
    Winter Blues likes this.