It’s been a hard year…again. As our collective stress level continues to build, you may be struggling with anxiety you never knew you had. Or maybe anxiety you’ve always had is manifesting in new and scary ways (time flies when you’re doomscrolling and impulse-buying candles, doesn’t it). Whether it’s addressing unhelpful thought patterns or offering some ways to get you back into the present moment, TikTok has some tips for both managing overall anxiety and nipping panic attacks in the bud. It should be noted, of course, that TikTok is no substitute for the personalized attention and care you get from a therapist and these are just some ideas, not prescriptive or clinical advice.
1. Trick your body into being present:
When we do things that bring us back into the present moment and trick our body into thinking it is relaxed by mimicking things we do in a relaxed state (dropping your jaw, lowering your shoulders, sighing, zoning out, etc.) we remind ourselves that we are not in immediate danger.
2. Go on a stupid little walk:
Get out of your head and into your body!
3. Activate the vagus nerve:
The ice cube trick works! Speaking of cold, the vagus nerve is sort of the central highway for organ functions and reflexes. Stimulating it can help slow down your heart rate. You can do this with an ice pack on your chest, with deep breathing, or even by humming! You can also snap your body back into the now with other senses like taste or smell.
Again, getting back in tune with your body and regulating your nervous system helps with anxiety in the long-term and short-term. EFT or the Emotional Freedom Technique utilizes tapping along the body’s meridians to reduce distress.
It can be helpful to create distance between you and your anxiety to keep you from identifying with it. Because thoughts are not facts! It can be empowering to remember that you’re in charge of your actions.