QUICK FIXES FOR THOSE DICEY MOMENTS

Anxiety attacks can be scary. They can paralyze people with fear. Dealing with them is something that is very personalized and can vary from incident to incident. Finding relaxation techniques for your anxiety can be a wonderful tool, one which I aim to help you achieve.

An anxiety attack cannot even be defined, since it means different things to each person. They are relative and subjective entities, unlike a pulse rate or a blood pressure reading. For me, the moment I feel it is truly an attack is when the shaking starts and I am unable to think about anything other than the thing that is causing me to react.

 

Music

Even as children, we learned that music can help calm us. Bugs Bunny told us time and again that music could calm the savage beast, and proved it with the Tasmanian Devil! Today, women in various stages of pregnancy are encouraged to play music for their unborn children. Nursery rhymes have been utilized for ages to try to get children to sleep. A lullaby is actually defined as a song to get a baby to sleep.

This stands to reason, then, that music should help calm us adults, should it not? My stance is yes. It works for me, at least, which is why I share it with you. The right kind of music is important, of course. I don’t want to listen to “The Cow Jumped Over the Moon”, or “Little Jack Horner”. I want actual music, not nursery rhymes.

There are a lot of types from which to choose. Popular themes are white noise music, such as waves crashing on a beach, or rain forest sounds. Others prefer new age kind of music like you might hear in a spa. I prefer something I know so my brain can follow along, yet no words… piano music is my go-to. I like the sounds of Jim Brickman and George Winston, and I enjoy Kenny G for something other than piano.

Puzzles

Distractions for the mind. That is what I need, anyway. Something on which to focus other than the thing.

I find that Sudoku is good for this. Hard or expert level especially. I have to concentrate and focus in order to make any progress at all, so my brain is forced away from the thing. Crossword puzzles are also a good fix here for me. Just not the easy ones. Maybe not the Sunday version from major newspapers, but not so simple you don’t have to think.

Manual Therapy

This is a broad subheading that can cover a lot of ground. I will stay specific to relaxation for anxiety as much as possible. The first thing that may jump out at you when you read manual therapy is massage. Truly, this a wonderful relaxation therapy. My more focused aim in this post was for anxiety attacks, however. Setting up a massage usually takes time.

There are many items available to the public that can assist with manual therapy. Hand held massagers can be excellent devices to relieve muscular tension, which can, of course, help reduce anxiety at the same time. These same devices can be used on specific pressure points to target virtually every system in your body.

Even without any device, pressure point therapy is an extremely useful tool in managing your anxiety attacks. There are important pressure points that easily accessible which can help decrease these feelings within minutes. Pressure point therapy can help quite nicely with headaches as well, which frequently come with anxiety.

Tapping

Tapping is a great tool. It would be easier to demonstrate than to explain, but I can at least give an overview. It takes no equipment, no extras of any kind. All it takes is focus.

There are many varieties of tapping to learn in order to help with anxiety and depression. The simplest is still my favorite, and the method that I use when I am in a crisis.

You simply have to close your eyes, and slowly tap your legs, one at a time. You coincide the tap on your left leg with your eyes looking left, while still closed, then looking right with the tap on your right leg. The beauty once again is that you have to focus in order to do it.

Find Your Tools

Obviously, not any one tool is going to fit everyone. Many of the examples have hundreds of variables that can be explored within them. To me, the most important thing you can do is to find something that will distract your brain from what is causing your anxiety.

When you think you have found something, remember that it has to be something powerful enough to keep your attention and to keep your brain from wandering back to the anxiety producing situation. This is a reason that I prefer music I know, so that my mind follows the song.

If the tool you choose doesn’t hold your interest, you will easily wander back to your trigger. Then you get frustrated and have to start all over. This is when my mind tends to wander and spin and spiral to all sorts of things that have nothing to do with anything happening at the moment. A phenomenon I refer to as my mental blender. This is a bad place to let your brain go… get your toolbox in front of it. Find some peace. Achieve some calm. Don’t let your anxiety attacks control your life!

6 Replies to “QUICK FIXES FOR THOSE DICEY MOMENTS”

  1. I never suffered any anxiety attacks, so when it suddenly happened a few years ago it took me completely by surprise. It was a one-time thing. It never happened again. I don’t remember what triggered it but I remember that I was under a lot of stress and I absolutely wanted to stop and go home, but I couldn’t, there was so much work. When it happened, I couldn’t breathe, it was as if I had forgotten how to breathe and I felt panic rise. I tried to calm down and focus on breathing, and slowly I got out of it, but those were some panicky moments …

    Music is a wonderful relaxer. I love the sounds of rain forest, waves, and sometimes also whales, but I also love listening to the piano and the violin. I have tried out some tapping techiques but they were not about relieving anxiety. I found tapping interesting and it makes sense that tapping can be used to focus. Even if I don’t suffer from anxiety, I will try that tapping techique, I’m curious about it.

  2. Thanks for sharing these tips, Chris.
    Yes, anything to distract our minds, or anything positive that is significant enough to hold our attention, is very useful in helping us to feel better.
    Some of the things that can hold my attention so that I feel better are meditating, practicing gratitude, yoga (focusing on my breath), and of course great sex. When my mind is fully engaged in the present moment with these activities, there is no reason for it to remain in an anxious or stressed state.
    I’ll have to look up the tapping method you describe. It sounds interesting.
    Cheers.

  3. Hi Chris, I like your article and find it very useful. Especially nowadays when almost all people are anxious in some way. Some less, some more, but we all have attacks of fear, panic and feelings of hopelessness. Unfortunately, they can also be fatal, but I think that everything can be prevented and cured at the earliest stage. I have long struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. For a while, I couldn’t normally go outside because I was afraid of the open space. Until I realized it was all in my head. I started working on myself and used some of your methods like listening to nice music or manual therapy. I really like massages but also the hugs of a loved one. I think that love heals everything. I find that even without the use of medication one can get out of a state of anxiety. You just need to exercise your brain.
    Continue to write such wonderful texts that help people feel better and thus improve the quality of life.
    All the best,
    Daniijela

  4. This post has such interesting information. The conclusion is particularly important, there are many tools to reduce anxiety, but if they don’t grab your attention then you will wander back to your trigger. Some people have an elastic band on their wrist and they ping it when they are anxious. That would drive me absolutely not, both the noise and the pain. Know tool of choice is tapping, but each to their own.

  5. This article for ‘Quick Fixes For Those Dicey Moments’ has opened my eyes to a few in things that I have never considered. I have used and taught my students to use music (Classical – Vivaldi) to study by. My preference of music could not replace a lullaby; however, it does preoccupy my mind. I am not one for puzzles, but that is just me. After reading this, I tried ‘Tapping”, but it will take some practice since my coordination was off. Outstanding info though.

  6. Chris,

    The article, “Quick fixes for those dicey moments”, was and is timely.  In my opinion, Covid-19 and the fact we were all quarantined for about two- and one-half years has led to more and more people experiencing those dicey moments.  Music was always my go to exercise for reducing stress during my working years.  But as luck would have it, I was scheduled to retire just months after the start of the covid-19 epidemic.  Now I was retired, unable to take the trips planned, and had way too much time for the “Thing” to gain a more prominent position in my life.

    So, music still had its place in my life as a stress reducing option, but I needed more.  Your suggestion of puzzles is worth looking into, but I started to explore online courses as a way to get my attention from the “Thing”.  

    Most of the time my stress level is low, but there are still those times when I need something to direct my focus away from the “Thing”.  

    Thanks for this timely article.

    Stacey

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