Evidence Based Coping Skills & Tools
Deep breathing exercises
These are proven to help activate your parasympathetic nervous system (which is in charge of controlling a relaxation response).
These exercises consist of several types including: diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration.
The goal of deep breathing is for the individual to be aware of his/her breath which makes breathing slower and deeper. This is beneficial because it slows one's heart rate, allowing the person to feel peaceful and at ease.
Performed for over 20 minutes a day can reduce the anxiety trait.
Aerobic exercise and cardio in particular.
Be patient, as it can take a few months for effects to be seen.
There are different types of things to smell to help reduce anxiety and calm the body.
Light a candle for a soothing experience.
Sniff essential oils such as lavender, rose, frankincense, chamomile, and orange to reduce tension in the body and increase mental clarity.
Smile and laughter
Research suggests that laughter can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Laughing is beneficial because it brings more oxygen into your body and organs, relieves tension by relaxing your muscles, and stimulates and relieves your stress response (long term laughter can also help improve your immune system).
Mindfulness consists of various practices that anchor you to the present moment.
It helps to combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking.
These mindfulness-based methods include: cognitive therapy, stress reduction, yoga, and meditation.
Listen to music
It is believed that listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music, classical, nature, meditation, Native American, and Indian music can be particularly soothing therefore inducing relaxation while lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
Studies show a person’s diet change can reduce stress.
These studies mention staying away from caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, difficult foods to digest, processed meals, foods high in saturated fats, and fried foods; these foods have been shown to lead to or increase anxiety.
Studies have also shown deficiencies of magnesium, Vitamin B12, and zinc have been linked to anxiety disorders.
Stick to eating healthy foods or consult a nutritionist for additional help.
Research has shown that art is a powerful tool for the reduction of anxiety.
Art allows individuals to express oneself in a therapeutic way while also creating an activity that is used as a distraction from your mind.
In addition, once an individual accomplishes their art, they are able to experience the joy that comes with finishing a piece which can be a powerful anxiety reduction tool
Research has proven that this can be such a great tool for handling stress.
Talk to others (whether it be in person or on the phone), share what’s going on, and catch up.
Catching up can give a person a fresh perspective while keeping a connection strong and keep his/her mind busy.
This means to desensitize yourself to your fears and worries.
For example, if your fear is being embarrassed or judged, go out in public dressed as something ridiculous and feel embarrassed. Embrace it and you’ll eventually get used to that feeling; the same goes with anxiety.
Research has shown that this also works for panic and anxiety attacks.