Everyone feels anxious from time to time. But when anxiety feels out of control or fills you up with persistent dread and worry — often for no discernable reason — it might be time to seek help.
“Anxiety on its own becomes predatory. It keeps you locked in and spirals on itself. Anxiety can lead to rumination, which leads to paranoia, which leads to isolation,” explained Dr. Maria Sirois, a New England-based positive psychologist
For that reason, it can be important to share these feelings with loved ones or a professional. The latter can help you flip the script and rewrite the messages your own anxiety is telling you. Also, there are soothing, calming tools you can use at home to help quiet an anxious mind. While they’re not a cure, and you should always consult a doctor when dealing with anxiety, these are things mental health professionals recommend for their patients:
A soft blanket is key, recommended Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. “Draping a soft blanket over my body is an instant pick-me-up,” she said.
Sirois recommends that patients exercise daily. “It provides an endorphin boost, elevating optimism, positivity, and confidence,” she said. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym — you can do something that taps into the physical activity you loved as a kid, like jumping rope. This best-selling jump rope will get the job done.
Tension settles in our feet, said Lombardo. “For centuries, Eastern medicine has touted the benefits of reflexology. While a massager may not hit specific reflexology points, it does a great job of relaxing your feet and mind,” she noted. You can buy fancy foot massagers, but lacrosse balls are easy to slip under your desk and roll your feet.
For all those times when you’ve been told to meditate but just can’t get into the right headspace, this EEG headband fosters meditation with sound and guides a wandering mind back to calm, said Kushnick.
“No gadget comes close to the psychological benefits of journaling,” said Kushnick. Any journal will do, but this best-seller is a gorgeous way to record your thoughts. Kushnick recommends carrying one around with you, and this one is small enough to do it. To lower anxiety, “record episodes of high anxiety as they occur. Write down the trigger, your irrational beliefs, and how you got through the episode,” Kushnick advised.
This book outlines how connecting to loved ones in small moments of positivity can influence your health and well-being. And, it’ll inspire you to reach out to those you care about. One practice that can bring this concept to life: gratitude texting. It simply means texting someone to tell them why you’re grateful for them, said Sirois. “Sharing your gratitude for someone else makes you feel connected,” she said.
Valerian root promotes calm and tranquility, which can be helpful if you’re often saddled with a racing mind before bed. Brew it strong by steeping for five minutes, recommended California psychiatrist Dr. Alex Dimitriu.
This is a great no-cost way to jump into meditation. “The app provides guided meditation and exercises to help you move out of your own head,” said Dimitriu.
Take a whiff of this citrus-infused stick to help ground you when you feel like you’re spiraling. “Scents can significantly impact our mood for the bad or the good. This stick is like happiness in your pocket. Simply take the top off and inhale to feel a boost of happiness,” said Lombardo.
You can also infuse your home with a citrus scent using an essential oil diffuser, like the best-selling Urpower essential oil diffuser we recently reviewed.