7 Weird Remedies For Anxiety That Actually Work
Anxiety can truly feel like hell on Earth. Even when nothing is technically wrong, sometimes your body and mind are just on their own warpath, causing intense symptoms of worry that can totally mess up the day. If this sounds familiar to you, you've probably tried a lot of different tactics to quell these symptoms. Sometimes to no avail. But trust, there are some weird remedies for anxiety out there that actually work. It's just about trying things until they click for you!
"Anxiety is weird!" Dr. Rita Eichenstein, a neuropsychologist, tells Bustle. "Just when your logical mind tells you there is nothing to worry about, your 'worry brain; goes into high gear."
Dr. Eichenstein says that it's all about outsmarting your worry brain, not with cognitive tricks or solutions, but by diverting it completely. Truth be told, having anxiety habitually is no easy experience. Not by a long shot. But taking small steps to deal with the problematic, uncomfortable symptoms can really start to turn things around. And remember, if you feel like anxiety is taking over your life, help is out there.
Take a look at some of the tips below that might help you get through the day with a little more ease.
1. Make A Playlist And A Joke List
Yes, Dr. Eichenstein says that setting up a “911” playlist of happy upbeat sing-along songs that you love is a great way to ease up some of the worry you're feeling.
"Turn it on and rock out," she says. Same with jokes. No matter how dumb they might seem, making a list of jokes you find funny, including memes, YouTube clips, or screenshots of old tweets. Just get your mind on the fast track to diversion when things begin feeling overwhelming.
"You can’t resolve anxiety as much as distract it until it passes," Dr. Eichenstein says. Why not try to have a giggle while you do that?
2. Ask Yourself What You Would Do If You Were A Kid
Think about it like this. As Dr. Margaret Paul tells Bustle, "if people treated an actual child the way they treat themselves, the child would be anxious."
So, ask yourself in the moment, if you were a kid who wasn't feeling well emotionally, what would you do? How would you talk to yourself?
Perhaps it's going for a walk, taking a moment to make a silly drawing, or having your favorite snack. Treating yourself with love and kindness goes a long way.
3. Give Your Anxiety A Name
Call it Tim, call it Rosebud, call it whatever you like. But Kathryn Tipton, MA LPC, a counselor at Houston Center for Valued Living tells Bustle that straight up giving your anxiety a persona and a name can be a really helpful step when trying to cope with it.
"Ask yourself, if your anxiety were person or a creature, what would it look like? Describe it in great detail as if it were in the room with you," says Tipton.
Once you've named and personified your anxiety, the next time you start to feel anxious, envision your anxiety as this personification, she says.
You can literally say, "Oh, well, there's Hank again, being mean to me for now reason."
"Objectifying and naming your anxiety helps you detach from and lesson the power of your anxiety," says Tipton. "It's a way for you to see your anxiety as an annoying on unpleasant visitor, rather than an unbearable experience."
And just like that friend of your roommate who sleeps on the couch too much, you can ask an annoying visitor to leave.
4. Stop Wherever You Are And Sit Down
Maybe you're walking on a street, or taking a run, or doing errands. It really doesn't matter. But if your anxiety is off the charts, do yourself a favor and just stop for a second.
"The best remedy for anxiety that actually works is stopping everything, sitting wherever there is near to you, closing your eyes and connecting to what is happening with your body," Vikki Louise, Founder & CEO of F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done, tells Bustle.
Checking in with what is happening everywhere from your toes to your fingertips to you forehead and allowing it to just be there and be recognized is really effective.
So often people avoid, resist, or react to their anxiety which just perpetuates it, she says. Finding a space to sit and feel it is so powerful.
5. Take A Cold Shower
Maybe this doesn't sound particularly fun, but a change in temperature really works when it comes to snapping you into another state of mind and body.
As Louise Westra, an Australian trained Naturopath, tells Bustle, "The weirdest anxiety remedy I use with clients is an exercise to be done in the shower once or twice a day. It's a modified version of cold water immersion that can be fitted into anyone's life, however busy."
Westra says that this simple cold shower technique actually starts off as a hot shower, then you gradually reduce the temperature of the water until you get to that place where uncomfortable sensations arise.
"What I refer to as 'the internal gasp'," she says. "The point of the exercise is to allow yourself to experience the anxiety and then realize that you can get through it."
She also says that she reminds her clients that they can change the temperature of the water at any time, which will then cause the heightened sensation to drop away.
"This allows them to control the experience entirely which is important when suffering from anxiety," Westra says.
6. Do The "Five Things" Exercise
This exercise is super simple and can happen anytime, anywhere, and it engages all your senses. They simply won't have time to be anxious!
"When you feel overwhelming anxiety, stop and acknowledge five things you see around you, four things you can touch, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing you can taste," Adina Mahalli (MSW), a mental health expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This takes you out of your head and grounds your flooding thoughts."
7. Just Go Outside
"One of the best, easiest, most available strategies that people can try for anxiety is to get outside," Carolyn McNulty, LMHC, GAL, tells Bustle. The more nature in your environment, the better, but the sun will do just fine.
"Whether its walking, running, biking, or even just watching a sunset, spending time in nature restores emotional well-being," McNulty says. "Being in the present moment, engaging your senses, and being in nature can be very healing."
While anxiety can very literally feel like the end of the world, it doesn't have to be. Trying to incorporate coping tactics is super important, as is reaching out for help. It's out there!
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.