Anxiety in the time of corona… That’s not the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s next novel, but a common emotion to face during these testing times.
Whether its health conditions, financial issues, personal problems or any other cause of stress or anxiety, it’s normal to feel anxious. And when anxious, your mind starts to race as you get overrun with thoughts and your amygdala (the part of the brain that controls emotions) is in overdrive.
When you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, it’s important to balance yourself and cope with anxiety. When your mind is racing, knowing how to calm a racing mind is key, and having your own personal ways of doing it can help tremendously.
6 ways you can calm a racing mind instantly
Brain dump. When feeling anxious, you will have a lot of thoughts that cause fear, worry and concern. At such times, a brain dump can be a good idea. For 5 minutes, write down all the thoughts that come into your mind and let it all out. Once you’ve dumped out every thought in your brain, you will feel lighter and more relaxed. Moreover, seeing your thoughts out there in a tangible form might even bring you some relief and balance. You can even take actionable steps and give yourself some clarity.
Breathe. When anxious, your breathing is rapid and heart rate is high. The quickest way to alleviate racing thoughts and bring your mind and body back to balance is to try breathing techniques or exercises. Box breathing is one such technique where you breathe in for 3 counts, hold for 3 counts, breathe out for 3 counts, hold again for 3 counts and repeat. Belly breathing is also effective against anxiety, as you breathe deeply from your belly. They help lower heart rate, normalise your breathing and allow you to quickly get back to equilibrium.
Play a word game. It might sound childish, but it really works! Focusing your attention and brain energy on a word game will be a helpful distraction. It’s really simple, look around the room and pick an object. Now start naming more objects with the first letter of that object. Once you’re unable to think anymore, try naming more objects with the last letter of the last object you named. It helps you focus on a specific train of thought and will calm a racing mind.
Doodle. Doodling is a great way to let your mind channel anxiety in a positive and creative manner. When anxious and overwhelmed, start doodling without any worry in the world and keep going until you feel better. Once you start off, you will notice yourself focusing on it and finding a flow. When you’re done, you shall feel lighter and ready to move forward.
Mindful counting. A fairly simple exercise to take your mind off things and practice mindfulness at the same time! For example – Look around your room and notice 5 things you can see, 4 objects you can touch, 3 sounds you can hear, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. This will help you stay in the present, calm your thoughts and reduce any stress or anxiety.
Positive affirmations. When anxious, negative thoughts are very common. You feel low, worried and everything feels like it’s crashing in. To give yourself some positivity and to help calm your mind, try repeating positive affirmations to yourself. They are confidence boosters designed to boost your motivation, self belief and be feel-good in nature. By doing this, you reframe your thoughts, get rid of negativity and give yourself a platform to see your situation with perspective. For example – in case you’re anxious about a job interview, repeat to yourself ‘I have the qualities needed to get this job’ and keep repeating it for a few minutes.
Anxiety has various triggers and is different for everyone. What’s important is knowing how to cope with anxiety and the problems it may bring. When you have a racing mind, these are simple hacks to bring you relief and balance your mind.
Evolve helps you proactively manage anxiety and reduce it within minutes with a variety of light and joyful guided exercises.