In helping people with their anxiety, I see two main ways to target it: (1) Short term distress tolerance strategies to help with anxiety in the moment (what some experience as anxiety attacks and others as panic attacks), (2) Shifting ones lifestyle to create more safe-enough spaces for regulation and health.
There are dozens of ways to address anxiety in-the-moment. Here are a few of my favorites to try:
- Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly and breathe into both hands. Notice your breath. Perhaps invite your inhale and exhale to move towards being equal in length.
- 5-4-3-2-1 Notice 5 things that you see, 4 things that you feel, 3 things that you hear, 2 things that you smell, and 1 thing that you taste
- The Calmness Mudra: Hold your arms up like goal posts (upper arms parallel to the ground, elbows bent at a 90 degree angle so forearms are perpendicular to the ground), shake hands (only) back and forth (like ‘jazz hands’) for 30 seconds and up to five minutes. I like to follow this by swipe down the body with both hands and then shaking the hands off, followed by 5-4-3-2-1.
- Volcano Breathing: This is a technique from Yoga Calm. Place your palms together in front of your heart. As you inhale, reach your arms up overhead separating your hands. As you exhale, sweep your arms done by your sides circling your hands so your palms return to being together in front of your heart
- TAT Method (by Tapas): Place your right thumb and finger to inside of eyebrows, place your right index finger on third eye, and place your left hand at back of head with thumb in notch. Breathe into both hands, letting your head relax into both hands.
- Go for a mindful walk and/or be in nature
The most important thing is to try these skills several times before assuming they don't work. Sometimes it can take practice to regulate your system. If after a while the option you are trying doesn't seem to be a fit, try on another one! May you find peace!