“I had to leave for the day,” this was a random text I got from a buddy of mine at work with no explanation. “Why!” I quickly texted back as I was terrified of the response, “I had a bad anxiety attack, the worst I’ve felt in years.”
We have all been here before in which we’ve either received a SOS from a friend in need or we’ve been the ones in need of an anxiety SOS rescue. Regardless of which scenario, anxiety is a beast, something that pretty much every living being has or will struggle with in our present times. The combination of anxiety and depression is a staggering problem, and everyone is trying their hardest to come up with a solution on how to function through it.
I found one of the successful keys to combating my anxiety and depression is to get ahead of it with creativity. I’m a creative person by trade so you would think this would come to easy me but its quite the opposite. Sometimes, even the idea of tackling my creative projects is what can be the start of my anxiety attack – talk about topsy turvy! Here are some quick tips I found that help me channel my anxiety attacks into something positive and get me in a creative mood! Some of these suggestions are old and some new, but I hope they are a kind reminder and assistance to you in your time of need.
VISUALS / PINTEREST
As I said I’m a creative person by trade so visuals mean the world to me. That’s why sometimes when an anxiety attack is upon me I immediately turn to Pinterest the app. This helps me give my eyes a focal point to rest on, taking my mind off whats triggering the anxiety, and rushing me away to a different mind state instantly. The great thing about Pinterest is you can search a million images at the snap of a finger about specifically what you need.
For instance I searched ‘Calming Anxiety’ and my brain immediately relaxed as I read quick inspirational tips, saw scenic photos of far away lands, and testimonials that let me know I’m not alone and it will get better. If Pinterest isn’t your thing try to get your hands on some photos anyway you can. You can try google images, or even going out on your lunch break and taking photos with your cellphone! Whatever your method is I guarantee you letting your mind rest on another image for a moment can do wonders in the middle of an attack.
GROUNDING / STONES / OILS
This is an oldie but goodie, and for me it works every time especially when I’m in a rough patch. Some people think holding onto a stone is like snake oil but believe me when I say it pays to touch and hold onto a piece of the earth. These stones help nourish the nervous system, send calming feelers out that relax the brain, and burst you with loads and loads of creative energy. Sometimes my brain strays during an assignment, and I beat myself up because I feel I should be able to pay more attention.
Sodalite and Tiger’s Eye helps me with this as Sodalite is the known for relief of anxiety, and Tiger’s Eye is the Stone of the Mind, literally grounding you in focus in the midst of choas. Combine those stones with some essential oils (my favorites are lavendar and jasmine) and you may relax yourself into a downright another world. So even if these stones are in your pocket, purse, or jewelry – have these on your person and help reduce that anxiety attack.
DRAWING / DIGITAL / SKETCH / COLOR BOOKS
This technique has helped thousands and thousands of people and believe me you don’t need to be a Picasso to use this nifty tool. I can’t draw to save my life but there are a ton of digital online apps and sites that I use to assist my lack of creative ability. Also, something that has made a huge comeback in recent years – adult coloring books!. Filling up a coloring book, sketchpad, or drawing online is a great tool as its cathartic as journaling. Again, images in whatever shape or form can help you with self-care and flow that anxiety into a different state of mind. Weave Silk is an amazing and impactful website / app, I’ll link here, that is quick and easy to access. Simply use your mouse and create a kaleidoscope of colors and art that can be in a museum http://weavesilk.com/
WRITING / JOURNALING
There is nothing that I love more than writing and reading, it is heaven for me. That being said as much I would love to dedicate hours of my day reading an entire novel, or bang out several chapters its hard to find the time. This is why creative writing prompts are amazing because it challenges my brain, and crack into those unexplored areas of my mind. You can find a bunch of creative writing prompts on reddit, writing communities, and there apps dedicated to it. Writing and journaling are one of the tried and true ways of assisting with anxiety, self care, and the journey to discovery. Do yourself a favor and write your anxiety way.
WATCHING / OLD TRAILERS
This one maybe a little weird, but this has helped me immensely especially during a bad attack. Call it nostalgia but I love watching old teaser trailers from my favorite movies or TV shows from the early 2000’s to calm me down. For instance, a classic throwback to any of the Disney trailers like The Princess and The Frog, or Treasure Planet, or even The Matrix trailer, and I am filled with such inspiration I can’t help but instantly relax. Trailer have such creative capabilities when done well, because the music used in them can soar you to new heights, and the short form can give you tons of juicy ideas to add to your story or downright just enjoy it! As I said this one may sound a little wonky but give it a try and see if it helps you.
Again one of the key things to combating anxiety is to get your focal point on something positive during the attack. I hope these tips give you something quick and easily accessible that can help you in the midst of that emotional storm, as well as, give you some creative rejuvenation!
Don’t forget we’re all in this together, and I’ll leave you with a video with a message we all need to hear for not sweating the small stuff!
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Hi! Asia Minor here - I enjoy anything history, fantasy, and sci fi...its even better when its all combined. I am working on acquiring beautiful huskies for my pets, constantly watching movies (and plan on making them), and reading/writing. My musical choices limit to Disney, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Lamar - enough said.