ANXIETY ATTACK HACKS
Having a moment?! No worries. These tricks will stop your freak-out in its tracks
YOU’RE RUNNING LATE
This seems like a superfrustrating sitch that you have no control over, but it’s not so bad! ‘Your own thoughts, like, This traffic is endless or My boss will flip, often cause stress,’ says clinical director of the Ross Center for Anxiety, Greta Hirsch. ‘Your brain is confusing possibility with probability.’
TRY THIS Drown out negative messages by listening to a playlist you find calming or engaging. Better still, sing along. ‘When we use our vocal cords, it sends a signal to our brain that we’re OK,’ says panic and anxiety coach Kelli Walker.
YOU CAN’T SLEEP
First, don’t look at the clock. Watching minutes tick by creates the opposite physical response (a rush of adrenaline and cortisol, rapid heartbeat) of the relaxation you need to doze off, says Hirsch. Second, don’t grab your phone. ‘Screens cue our brains to get up and get moving,’ says Walker. TRY THIS Instead of fighting it, accept that you’re not sleeping but you are resting, and meditate on how awesome that is, suggests Hirsch. ‘Take deep breaths as you repeat thoughts, like, My bed is amazing, I love the feel of my blanket.
YOU’RE IN A SPAT
Fights with a partner or best friend can easily escalate from mildly distracting to allconsuming since our instinct is to overanalyse. ‘Don’t equate not calling with not caring – maybe he’s in a meeting, maybe she’s sleeping in,’ says Hirsch. ‘It just sends your anxiety up and your mood down.’
TRY THIS Assign a specific worry window. ‘Take a walk with a coworker, and make that the 15 minutes when you focus on the issue,’ suggests Hirsch. ‘Then, that’s it.’ Not only does activity expend energy, but a scenery change will do you the world of good.’
When your hands are shaking before an interview or your heart is racing pre–first date, remember that anxiety isn’t just normal in these situations, it’s good. ‘Anxiety motivates us,’ says Hirsch. ‘Otherwise, we wouldn’t prepare; we’d just show up in gym clothes.’
TRY THIS Literally chill out: For a few minutes, dip your hands in cold water or hold a cool drink on your tongue. ‘This triggers the vagus nerve, which signals the body to calm down,’ says Walker. Now go crush it, girl.