Strategies to Relieve Anxiety in Public

When anxiety hits, it certainly makes itself known to the sufferer. Depending on the person, it may or may not be visible to others. Regardless, when it is present it can be difficult to think clearly or focus on anything else.

Some things, like essential oils and ice packs, are great ways to quickly relieve anxiety, but are difficult strategies to utilize in public. Here is a list of three strategies that can be used anytime and anywhere.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is the act of tensing and releasing  each muscle of your body. This is my favourite coping mechanism because it is both physically and mentally calming.

I like to start with my toes and end at my head, but it is just as easy to start with your head and end with your toes. Of course, tensing and releasing the facial muscles might draw some attention in public, but that’s okay. The effects work even if you skip some muscles.

Breathing

There are various different breathing exercises that exist to relieve anxiety.

Here are some of my favourites include:

  • 7/11: breathe in for a count of seven, hold, breathe out for a count of eleven
  • Box breathing: Picture a box and breathe for four seconds across the top, hold for four seconds down, exhale for four seconds across the bottom, hold for four seconds up

The main point is to slow down your breathing and breathe into your stomach rather than your chest. This is something that gets easier with practice and is extremely effective.

Visualization

Visualization or imagery is exactly as it seems. Picture a place, real or made-up, that brings you peace. Imagine not only what you can see, but what you can smell, hear, taste, and feel.

If you need some help with this one there are plenty of accessible guided imageries online. All you need is a pair of headphones.

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