Notice what is happening in your body
There is no right or wrong way to experience anxiety. But noticing how you experience anxiety gives clues as to what you can try to reduce the unpleasant physical feelings.
- If you noticed your heart was racing or your breathing was quick and shallow, try taking a few slow deep breaths. Breath in to the count of four, hold that breath for the count of four, exhale to the count of four. Repeat.
- If you noticed you feel like you just can't sit still, then don't! If you can, get up and move. Go for a jog or a walk. Turn on music that matches your mood and sign or dance. If you find yourself at school or work and these options are not possible, find a small way to move your body. Touch the pads of your fingers to your thumb, index through pinky, over and over again, slowing down gradually. Chew gum. Run a bracelet or set of beads through your fingers methodically. Doodle.
- If you noticed you wanted to crawl in bed and hide, assess your surroundings and your schedule to see how you can get a rest break. If you can, crawl in bed or take a rest in a chair. Setting a timer for yourself can let you settle in and relax without stressing about the time. If taking a nap isn't possible, change rooms, remove yourself from other people, even just excusing yourself to the restroom will give your nervous system a break.
If you can be curious about the restlessness, sit and observe it more closely. What does it feel like in the body? Is it consistent or is it changing? Can you become comfortable with this? Can you recognize it as safe to be with? The longer you practice this, you may realize that you can live with your anxiety and find freedom in allowing it to be a part of your life.
Other Strategies to Try
STOP can be an effective way to deal with anxiety in the moment. So, when starting to notice feelings of anxiety rising
Slow down, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed
Try journaling when you notice you're feeling anxious.