Anxiety: it’s the worst. If you’re like me, you might (luckily) only experience it once in awhile. Months will go by and then BAM – some stressful life event causes it to rear its ugly head again and you’ll be thrust into days, weeks or even months of ongoing anxiety. I am still learning how to cope with these episodes, but here are 3 things you can do RIGHT NOW if you’re stuck in a loop of anxiety.
Watch an ASMR video
This may be very unconventional to some (and truthfully, won’t work for everyone), but if you haven’t tried watching ASMR videos as a form of therapy, why not give it a go? For the uninitiated, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxation phenomenon that causes delightful “head tingles” and a feeling of sleepiness. ASMR is achieved in many different ways: you may have felt it while watching an artist paint, or during a college lecture from a Professor with an oddly relaxing voice. More recently, ASMR has become an actual genre on YouTube where video creators whisper and create auditory sounds in a variety of different ways. You might need some time to find what sort of ASMR video relaxes you the most (try starting with two of my favourite creators: WhispersRed and ASMRrequests), but once you find it there’s no better way to relax your mind and focus entirely on something else.
I know, I know, being told to stay in the moment and meditate when you’re feeling anxious is getting old – ESPECIALLY when you’re stuck in a feedback loop that seems nearly impossible to escape. But while meditation DOES take time and practice, it truly does work. I’m only just delving into meditation and I know there’s a long road ahead….yet I’ve already started to see the effects of it. On a particularly stressful work trip, I focused on several techniques learned in the first few episodes of Sam Harris Waking Up App , which taught me how to let emotions of the moment pass through without allowing them to manifest into anxious, repetitive thoughts. If you want to learn how to manage emotions and anxiety long term, I definitely think meditation is worth your time.
Go for a walk
If you’re like me and painfully bad at staying active and fit, it’s easy to overlook the advice of getting exercise to help curve anxiety. But it really does work. If I don’t want to sweat and actually work out, nothing is more effective than getting out of the house and going for a stroll. Not only does it help some of the things that cause me anxiety (I have some back issues that cause me grief), it also allows me to take my mind off whatever was worrying me and focus on breathing in the fresh air. Next time you’re facing some anxious thoughts, give it a try and challenge yourself to walk 1-2 times around the block – it definitely won’t make you feel worse!