Hello loves. I hope you are doing well. I know I said earlier that I probably wouldn’t make another post this week, but I was inspired. When that happens I am determined – no one can stop me! What inspired me, you ask? The answer is simply this…anxiety.
I have struggled with severe anxiety since I was a little girl. It has waxed and waned over the years and morphed into different disorders at times, but I had anxiety at a consistent level for years now. From as young as I can remember I recall being a nervous child. From the age of 12 I suffered from OCD and general anxiety. Currently, my worst beasts that I have to fight are OCD (yes Bella, you DO have OCD), Social Anxiety, and Panic attacks with Agoraphobia, and of course, my eating disorder.
From all of my years in therapy I have acquired several wonderful coping skills to use during times of high anxiety or panic attacks. Since I was just experiencing an episode of intense anxiety over health related issues, I decided (after calming down, of course) that I would write a post for today on my top 5 methods I use for handling anxiety and panic attacks. So, here goes!
- My Calming Jar
I love using this tool and it was so fun to make! I made this calming jar with a friend of mine. I am not going to go into detail on the instructions since I already made a post on how to make them. It really grounds me to shake the jar and watch the glitter float and fall. I can literally get myself stuck looking at it! For directions on how to make this jar, see my post De-Stress This Weekend!
2. Lavender Essential Oil
This stuff is great! I was actually given this little bottle when I was away in treatment for my eating disorder, but you can find it in any sort of natural food market or store. I am sure you can order some online too – it shouldn’t be too hard to find! Whenever my anxiety is really high or when I am in a state of panic, I put this on my wrists and the scent really does calm me down. I love lavender. It is so soothing! This is something I really recommend if anxiety is a problem for you. It is also good for plain old stress relief!
3. My Book Jesus Calling
This is a wonderful book that has devotions for every single day of the year. They are phenomenal! Before I started reading these regularly, I would open the book and look at it when I was really anxious and upset, and the devotion for that day would nail exactly what was going on for me on the head. This book amazes me sometimes and the devotions are so reassuring. I highly recommend this book, it lifts my spirits when I am feeling very down.
4. Stress Balls / Meditation Balls
Stress balls are always helpful in times of intense anxiety. When you are anxious or panicky, you have a lot of pent up energy that needs to be released. If you get a good, strong stress ball this can be a great tool to blow off some steam. I found mine in the dollar section at Target. It has spikes that I can pull on too and is strong and sturdy so it won’t break like a lot of the ones I had in the past. To the bottom right of the blue stress ball are two meditations balls. I have found that these are particularly helpful for constant worry and obsessive thoughts. They make a nice chiming, bell noise when you move them around in your hand. These particular meditation balls came in a little kit with a miniature Zen Guide Booklet that shows you how to meditate with the balls. If you would like this particular set, you can probably find it at Barnes and Noble (that is where I bought mine).
5. My Favorite Blankets
Blankets really help me to feel safe, so I use them quite a bit. The owl blanket is a special blanket that was given to me by a close friend that I brought with me to treatment. The purple blanket underneath that is a weighted blanket that weighs 12 pounds. With agoraphobia, I tend to gravitate more to small, guarded spaces and the weight of the blanket on top of me makes me feel safe and is actually calming. For those with claustrophobia, I am not sure how helpful this kind of blanket would be, so you might want to consider just using a regular blanket. For me, however, the weighted blanket is wonderful.
I hope this small list of my top coping skills was helpful! Of course, if you are on medication to help with panic attacks (like I am), you can certainly take that and it counts as a tool. That being said, I have found that it is equally important to find methods OTHER than just medication to deal with severe anxiety. It is important to have several tools to go to when experiencing distressing emotions instead of relying on one thing and one thing only. Before I end this post, I do have a bonus tool that I want to share with you:
** Bonus Tool: writing on my blog! This is a WONDERFUL outlet for me when I am panicky or anxious or for any emotion, really. I have found blogging to be a great way to express myself and my emotions, as well as connect to others! My blog helps me to feel a lot less alone.
Tell Me: What are your top go-to skills for anxiety or panic attacks? Was this post helpful? I would love to hear from you!