Does anyone know any good ways to cal... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Does anyone know any good ways to calm down?

MichiganBoy profile image

I've been going through a lot lately, and I don't have many ways to relieve tension. I carry around this awful ache in my chest, it's hard to concentrate, and I spend most of the day feeling like I'm one good push away from bawling. I need to keep up the appearance of being alright for most of the day though, so I try to keep it bottled up. I know it's unhealthy, but I can't afford to breakdown during the day, and I don't have anyone to vent to right now.

So, in an attempt to be constructive, what are some good ways to calm down mid-day? I've tried meditation but I'm not good at clearing my thoughts. I fidget a lot, so I've been considering getting one of those fidget cubes to play with in my pocket or something. I'm not looking for a substitute for therapy, just something to help me get through the day until I can afford real help.

19 Replies

Have you tried distraction ? Watching some light comedy on your phone or something? It depends how bad the feeling is as when you're really distressed trying to do that would just be annoying I know. I just try and breath very slowly in and out; slow down my breathing and just try and focus my attention on something else. Sometimes I tell people a little bit about what's going on just to relieve the tension of my worries a bit as sharing can help me but it really depends on how close to tears you are ; its very hard to stop I know. Sometimes I just cry secretly as crying lets out tension and you will feel a bit better when you have cried.

Honestly, one of the things that worries me the most right now is that distraction isn't working as well as it used to. Normally if I immerse myself in some comedy or music or a video game, I feel better. It gradually got to the point where I'd feel bad again sooner and sooner, eventually I only felt good while I was distracted and I'd feel bad the minute I stopped to do something productive. Now it's only numbing the pain. I have to distance myself from the conscious world more and more to feel better.

I'll try breathing, that does sound really helpful. I've been doing a lot of fast, heavy breathing when I get worked up recently. I've been venting on here recently too, so I hope that helps some. Unfortunately, I'm a real ugly crier; I go straight from "not sad" to "puffy, drippy mess". Not a good look at 2 in the afternoon, in public.

Ah bless you! I can tell you've got a sense of humour as your reply towards the end tickled me! I'm in UK. It's 10.45pm in the evening here!! That's the beauty of an online forum. We get to "speak" to people in other parts of the world from ourselves! I'm learning a lot about American culture nowadays. I even got a map out the other day to look where the various states are as being on this forum has sparked my interest in America. The British are definately very reserved on the whole and some of our vocabulary is different from yours. :)

Just reading your other posts. You sound like a really nice person and very caring.

Thanks for the kind words. I hope you get to do some sight-seeing sometime! There's lots to see.

Dr David Carbonell has a breathing method for calming anxiety. It’s on his website called anxietycoach or YouTube.

Also YouTube has some spoken word meditations that will guide through a meditation.

One piece of advice I’ve received regarding meditation is, when intrusive thoughts occur just acknowledge those thoughts, accept them and continue your relaxation method. Don’t punish yourself by thinking “I need to stop thinking about this or that” because that only causes more tension.

There is an app called Calm and it has some free meditations, I believe.

I hope this helps

I recommend the alternate nostril breathing. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube about how to do it. I also recommend yoga with Adrienne for anxiety and stress. It helps me so much.

Best of luck my friend 🖤

Hello. I find that when I feel a bit anxious I do deep breathing exercises. I breath in 5 seconds hold for 5, then breath out 5 seconds. I do this 5 times or so and they do help me feel more relaxed. Also some exercise always helps. I’m an avid weightlifter and if I’m feeling anxious I’ll lift as heavy as I can. But of course doing cardio such as walking , cycling, will def help. Samson

One thing that has really helped me is to first, stay off caffeine and sugar and reduce grains in your diet. Caffeine mimics adrenaline and increases anxiety levels. Read, Overcoming fear by Howard Liebgold. Also, exercise can also burn off adrenaline and is tremendous for stabalizing your mood over time.I'm a Christian also and prayer has helped so much, telling God all your troubles. Hang in there.

Quitting caffeine helped me- I had a tightness and fluttery uncomfortable feeling in my chest all the time, shaky in my body. Quitting was an imposing idea because I LOVE my coffee, but i started mixing half regular & half decaf at first and now I’ve fully switched to decaf only.

Before I went on medication (HOLY COW, my meds help me!) I used to have a lot more trouble getting through the day- very raw, simmering feelings bottled up. A walk outside always helped me, or sitting and coloring for a few minutes, or a secret bathroom cry followed by washing my face with cold water to reduce puffiness, or writing out my thoughts to get them out of my head always helped too.

I was in a similar situation to you where I just couldn’t get myself calm all day long (it’s been happening somewhat on and off for about a year and a half but lately I’ve been on a good streak with it). I also had trouble with meditating and doing deep breathing because it seemed that the more I focused on trying to calm down, the more I thought about the anxiety which just made me more anxious. My distractions stopped working as well because I would just get in my head too much instead of focusing on what I was doing. It’s rough.

It’s been a slow process, but the little things really do add up if you try to stick with them. Trying to continually challenge my anxious thoughts, focusing on and slowing down my breathing, and practicing meditation really have helped. Medication has played a big part too, so maybe talk to your doctor about trying to get you on something? Also, as far as learning meditation goes, I really liked the app called InsightTimer that has 7 short sessions (~12min each) to teach beginners. Completely free. I didn’t like meditation at first because like you said I couldn’t shut off my thoughts, but it’s really more about improvement than reaching complete relaxation. After meditating I would indeed still be anxious, but honestly I was a little less anxious than I was before. It might not help too much in the moment, but that shows that you’re teaching your brain how to be a little more calm and helping establish it as habit.

I hope it helps.

Well this isn’t really good for helping with the ache in your chest, but if you ever tend to get a little panicky, I find that feeling my heartbeat helps. I just put my hand on my heart until I feel it start to slow down, then I can actually breath again. Hope this helps :)

Headspace is another good beginners meditation app

Ask your doctor if they can help you. Like, literally tell them your exact financial situation and why you can’t afford much of anything for help and ask what they can do. At the very least they might be able to point you towards other resources. My doctor offered me a 50% discount if I pay in full the day of my appointment (I have no insurance) and she gave me her email address so I don’t have to come in unnecessarily if I just have a question here or there.

Three things help me:

1. Classical music played softly

2. Taking a brief break, closing my door and reading the Bible, usually the Psalms.

3. Drinking a distressing tea

Those things help me calm down

First of all, just the fact that you can keep it together throughout the day, even though you feel one push away from bawling, is admirable imo. There are many people, myself included, who just break down and can't function altogether when in a state like this.

I'd recommend daydreaming/fantasizing about something that will happen in the near future and you are eagerly waiting for it. A situation that will bring you positive emotions when it 'll happen. Thinking about it and imagining it might make you feel a glimpse of these positive emotions.

Have you got access to a treadmill? If so, climb it and run fast! Intense cardio at a heart rate of 160+, can stop your thinking altogether and creates a feel-good sensation.

If you are lucky enough to have a girlfriend, maybe call her for some mid-day sex? I know it's difficult to be in the mood for sex when you feel this shitty, but if you can "push" yourself to start, you'll feel better in the end.

Read an addictive book. But here you run the risk of liking it so much that you can't stop, if you are prone to compulsive behaviors. I have fallen in this trap, that's why I caution you.

Hey MichiganBoy, Have you tried cold water? The theory is that when you put your full face into cold water, or you put a zip-lock bag with cold water on your eyes and upper cheeks and hold your breath, it tells your brain you are diving underwater. This causes the "dive response" to occur. (May take - 15-30 seconds to start.)Your heart slows down, blood flow to nonessential organs is reduced and blood flow is redirected to the brain and heart. This is useful as a distress tolerance strategy when you are having a very strong, distressing emotion. This strategy works best when you are sitting quietly-activity and distraction make it less effective. I learned this approach in dialectical behavior therapy. Try it. Hopefully it will help you when things get really bad. BTW, I'm from Michigan too!

I'll give that a shot, thanks!

This is gonna sound strange but is it your job stressing you out? I had a job once, lasted 3 years because of bills to pay, but it was insane. I would feel an overwheling urge to hide (which I did in the bathroom on occasion) or just run out the door ( which I then took a walk). Eventually could not physically or mentally take another minute and gave my notice. Took me 3 months to "come back into the light" and was able to focus and get another job. Someone told me later I should have had my doctor write me out for short term disability but it never occurred to me the job was my real iisue. I thought it was just me, you know?

Doesn't sound strange at all, I've definitely had stressful jobs in the past. With that in mind I'm pretty positive my current stress isn't work related. An upside to how intense my negative emotions are right now is knowing exactly where they're coming from.

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