I know that If you suffer from general anxiety from time to time, or even full blown panic attacks, learning new ways to calm anxiety feelings will always be super helpful. While these techniques may seem unusual, they can be very effective at calming the mind and regulating the fight or flight feelings. This unusual technique for calming anxiety will take some practice, but can be a very useful tool in your toolbox.
When I feel anxious my chest tightens up and it feels like I am having trouble taking a deep breath in. It’s hard for me to concentrate on anything because my thoughts are scattered all over the place. There is this sense of impending doom that hangs over me and paralyzes me with fear–this feeling of being trapped in your own head where nothing makes sense anymore.
I have a few tricks in my toolbox for making these anxiety feelings subside. I practice acceptance, mindfulness, and deep breathing. These things work, but many times I need do do a little bit more to rid myself of anxiety.
Just a note here. I am not a doctor or a trained therapist. When I write about anxiety and other mental health topics, I am writing about them because I have personal experience with them and I want to share what I know with others that can use that information. Nothing on this website is a substitute for medical advice or professional mental health treatment. Thanks!
The Unusual Technique for Calming Anxiety: Focusing, or “the boredom technique”
You may know that the nervous system has two processes. The sympathetic nervous system is also know as the fight-or-flight response. here the brain produces adrenaline which, when overactive causes anxiety or panic.
The parasympathetic nervous system produces a calming effect on the body. We want to make this part work when we’re aiming to calm anxiety. That’s where boredom comes in!
The boredom technique will aid your mind to calm down by fixating and focusing on a single task, stopping exterior elements from interfering, and returning you to your normal, calm mental state.
The Unusual Technique for Calming Anxiety, How it Works: Boring Reading
For this technique, look for the dullest piece of non-fiction writing you can find. It can be a textbook on a subject you have zero interest in. It can be an overly complicated instruction manual, old-school literature, or even a dictionary. Anything will do, but it should NOT be something you enjoy (bear with me). It should also NOT stimulate your mind in any way. (your mind is probably already stimulated enough).
Reading your selected text should be an absolute chore. To the point where you would rather be doing absolutely anything else. It should be something you need full attention and focus to even get through a paragraph. I usually grab one of my husband’s old engineering textbooks. I have trouble focusing when he talks about engineering too!
Now, the next time youâ€™re suffering from mild to medium level anxiety attack, start reading the text you selected. Keep reading. Donâ€™t stop reading until your anxiety levels start to recede. Even when you feel like stopping, read a little more.
It will be difficult. Every cell in your body will scream at you to stop. So boring! But donâ€™t stop. Donâ€™t cave in. Keep reading. You will get to a point where this boredom technique starts working!
Focusing on something non-stimulatory and monotonous has a very calming effect on the mind. And, though the symptoms of anxiety manifest mainly in a physical way, it is merely a reaction to your current mental state.
This technique is similar in theory to this one, which is geared specifically towards OCD and obsessive thoughts. The technique explained here asks people with an obsessive thought to literally repeat it to themselves over and over again until they are bored with it, and it loses it’s power over their mind.
With Anxiety, while there are sometimes obsessive thoughts, mostly there are just lots of thoughts or an inability to control them. That’s why this technique takes you outside of your mind to an outside source that you can focus on until you get bored and your brain stops overreacting.
Soothe the mind, calm the body. The rapid heartbeat, heavy breathing, panicky thoughts and tight chest will start to subside as you calm down.
You can Use this same unusual technique for calming anxiety but with other activities.
Calm Anxiety with a Continuous Drawing
Many people do this without thinking while on phone calls or in meetings. Fixating on a single activity forces the mind to relax. Try continuously draw an â€œinfinity pattern,â€ a pattern that continually loops with a kind of figure-of-eight effect without the pen lifting from the paper. Keep going at it. After a while, the same irritable feeling occurs similar to when reading the boring text.
Keep pushing through. Keep going. If you stop now, the anxiety will still be with you. You need to continue until negative feelings subside. Whenever you feel like giving up, keep pushing through. â€œAnother 5 minutes and Iâ€™ll stop. Another 5 minutes and Iâ€™ll stop.â€
Calm Anxiety with Meditation
It is not entirely necessary to be cross-legged in a dark, candlelit room to meditate. Active meditation is simply an awareness of your body and your surroundings. â€œCome to Your Senses,â€ is a technique that requires you to fully focus on your physical sensations.
You wonâ€™t need your eyes shut, nor will you even need to be seated. You can do this pretty much anywhere.
Simply focus intently on the way your arms, legs, and body feel in the exact moment. What are the physical sensations, what do you feel? What can you hear, what can you see, what can you smell. Fixate on this in your mind until you begin to calm.
Calm Anxiety with Chores
The â€œboredomâ€ technique works well with most activities that you dislike. Wash the dishes, file your tax return, clear out the clutter from the garage. Anything that consumes your full attention, but doesnâ€™t particularly â€œfire you up.â€
This unusual anxiety technique really speaks to me. when my brain and body are all amped up for no good reason, focusing on a boring, unpleasant task often does the trick to bring me out of it!
I think that you’ll feel amazingly relaxed after trying some of these techniques, leaving you in a state of relaxation with a calmed and steady mind. Save this Post by pinning the image below!