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100 tricks to help with an anxious episode

Hannah’s Hundred: 100 Tricks to Help Offset an Anxious Episode

by Hannah Dobrogosz

              I have been compiling an ongoing list of tips and tricks to consider when faced with symptoms of anxiety or other overwhelming feelings. These tricks come from my own personal experiences, as well as suggestions from friends, family, classmates, teachers, and counselors over the years. Not every suggestion is fool-proof, nor can I guarantee what will and what won’t work for others. The list is merely here to provide some options that anyone can turn to if they need a distraction or a new coping mechanism. The list ranges from activities that require no materials, movement, or sound, to activities that do require changing bodily position, moving, working with outside materials, etc. Take it all with a grain of salt. Come up with your own tactics! Just remember, you are not alone and there are ways to cope.

  1. Place one or both hands over your heart. Focus on the warmth of your chest and the power within your heart.
  2. Imagine a balloon in your stomach slowly inflating and deflating with each breath.
  3. Find a spot on the floor and get into child’s pose. Breathe.
  4. Put a cold rag on your forehead or the back of your neck.
  5. Count down from 100 (in your head or aloud).
  6. Write a pep talk note to yourself!
  7. Roll your shoulders.
  8. Dance it out!
  9. Doodle on a piece of paper or a napkin.
  10. Write a list of the things you are thankful for.
  11. Find a place to sit outside.
  12. Chew gum or get a peppermint.
  13. Listen to a slow song and try to match your breath to the steady beat.
  14. Touch your thumb to each of your other fingers from pointer to pinky and repeat the pattern.
  15. Curl and flex your toes gently.
  16. Drink cold water.
  17. Put on your favorite TV show or movie.
  18. Brush or comb your hair. This can be a soothing sensation on the head.
  19. Write your stream of consciousness without stopping for two minutes. Rest and repeat as desired.
  20. Give yourself three compliments.
  21. Sing or hum.
  22. Use the bathroom! It may seem so silly, but perhaps that will help you release additional tension.
  23. Do a workout video!
  24. Try aromatherapy! Candles, incense, essential oils, etc.
  25. Bring both hands together and press your fingertips together.
  26. Focus on unclenching your jaw and letting your tongue relax in your mouth.
  27. Make a warm, decaffeinated beverage.
  28. Listen to your favorite album.
  29. Do some online shopping and add things to your favorites or your cart to revisit later.
  30. Close your eyes, lean back, and get control of your breathing.
  31. Grab a snack.
  32. Journal about your feelings.
  33. Do jumping jacks.
  34. Write a list of the things you have accomplished today.
  35. Fold clothes/put away your laundry.
  36. Do your make-up or fix your hair.
  37. Knit!
  38. Think back on a fond memory.
  39. Repeat three truths or facts that can ground you in reality.
  40. Make a mood board or a vision board.
  41. Take a nap.
  42. Slowly stroke from the top of your head down the back of your neck.
  43. Focus on the texture of your shirt or pants. Put a bit of fabric between your thumb and pointer finger and focus on the sensation.
  44. Stretch your arms or legs.
  45. Give yourself a hug.
  46. Have a funny video saved to quickly access without searching through social media.
  47. Color in a coloring book.
  48. Listen to a podcast.
  49. Phone a friend! Text, call, or video call someone you trust.
  50. Do some squats.
  51. Play an instrument. You don’t have to be good at it!
  52. Hug your knees to your chest.
  53. Play I-spy with yourself!
  54. Trace the outline of your arms with one finger slowly.
  55. Try to craft a poem.
  56. Love on a furry friend! If you have a cat, dog, bunny, or other pet available, show them some love!
  57. Take a silly personality quiz. BuzzFeed is a great resource for finding these fun quizzes.
  58. Focus on your senses. What do you hear, smell, see, etc.
  59. Try to whistle!
  60. Take a shower or a bath.
  61. Watch cooking or baking videos.
  62. Play a game.
  63. Organize your room.
  64. Meditate.
  65. Leave the situation and take a walk.
  66. Massage your head/jaw.
  67. Have a special photo or group of photos saved that you can quickly access without scrolling through socials.
  68. Do a body check-in. Start with your feet and work up to your ankles, then shins, etc. all the way up to your head. Keep breathing.
  69. Tap out a beat or a rhythm.
  70. Order takeout or delivery!
  71. Make a collage.
  72. Research recipes to make later.
  73. Play a word game.
  74. Practice some body care. Do a scrub, apply lotion, etc.
  75. Use a mental health app to find resources or a community.
  76. If you are standing, unlock your knees and unclench your buttocks.
  77. Take a drive.
  78. Do some chores.
  79. Paint your nails.
  80. Delete your ex from your contacts or off your social media. Sometimes, you have to admit having a reminder isn’t helping anything!
  81. Have a good cry.
  82. Apply chap-stick. It seems small and insignificant, but it can be oddly calming.
  83. Lay flat on your back and breathe.
  84. Reach with your arms as high as you can and release.
  85. Write a letter you’ll never send.
  86. Say your ABCs forwards and backwards.
  87. Paint.
  88. Make your bed or change your sheets.
  89. Bake or cook something delicious!
  90. Reflect on your spirituality.
  91. Consult a crisis hotline.
  92. Do a face mask or practice skincare.
  93. Make something with your hands!
  94. Do a crossword puzzle.
  95. Put your phone down or silence it.
  96. Curl up and lay on your side.
  97. Expand and contract your body slowly.
  98. Clean out your closet, car, etc.
  99. Do a yoga routine.

100. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!