Health And Wellness

23 Calming Techniques For Soothing Coronavirus Anxiety Fast

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23 Calming Techniques For Soothing Coronavirus Anxiety Fast

We're living in challenging times right now. And if you were already prone to anxiety before the current COVID-19 crisis, it can feel even harder to manage the internal panic during isolation and quarantine.

It’s so important to manage your stress levels at any time for your own mental health and happiness.

RELATED: How To Control Your Limbic System's Fight Or Flight Response And Gain Strength During The COVID-19 Crisis

But especially important now since an overload of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lower your immune system.

And besides, having some go-to moves for dealing with stress and anxiety is a path to ensuring that you live a daily life that feels loving, nourishing, and supportive.

That’s why I want to dig into 24 of the best techniques I know to manage your emotions when stress and anxiety feel like they are tearing you apart.

While none of these tips are "one size fits all" or guaranteed to work for everybody, I’m confident that some of these will be helpful to you.

Here are 23 calming techniques for soothing coronavirus anxiety fast. 

1. Take a deep breath.

Breathing techniques are proven to help with anxiety.

When you’re stuck in panicky feelings, this can be hard to remember. That’s why I like making it a habit to breathe at "transition moments."

There are multiple moments of transition during the day: Waking up, sitting down to dinner, coming home from work, and beginning the workday. As you transition from one moment to the next, pause for a moment and breathe.

Stop, close your eyes, take a big deep breath, and slowly release it.

2. Wash your face.

You're washing our hands a lot these days, but now's a good time to really wash your face. This is an act of self-love.

Make sure the water is warm, use a cleanser that smells wonderful, gently massage it into your skin, and rinse.

After washing your face, put on some good moisturizer and under-eye cream. Look in the mirror and really gaze into your eyes.

3. Use lotion.

You need human touch and kindness. And with social distancing practiced as an important way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many people aren't getting the human contact they need.

So, as a remedy for a lack of human touch, make putting lotion on a way to give touch to yourself.

Instead of just using lotion on your hands, lovingly tend yourself by applying lotion on your whole body. You’ll be rubbing calmness and anxiety away as you rub the lotion in.

4. Dress up.

When you’re feeling anxious or even a little depressed, it's challenging to put on "real" clothes. Sure, staying in yoga pants, jammies, or sweat pants can help reduce the anxiety of figuring out what to wear. However, this doesn’t work long term.

Over time, if you wear sloppy clothes or skip showering for days, it will add to your anxiety.

So, put some decent clothes on. And put on your makeup, too. While it may seem counterproductive at first, you'll feel better and it will boost your confidence.

5. Make a list.

Is there anything more satisfying than checking things off your to-do list?

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, having a list can feel helpful and supportive. So, to manage any stress or anxiety, write that to-do list.

Using a pen and writing by hand accesses a different part of the brain than typing does. Besides, you need a break from novel coronavirus news.

And don’t stop at a to-do list. Make a list of all the things that make you awesome. Or make a list of all your favorite books or movies.

6. Write in a journal.

You have dozens of thoughts in a single minute. The act of taking those thoughts and writing them down allows you to process them. When you keep a journal, you’ll discover that writing allows you to process your thoughts and emotions.

When your thoughts are in front of you, it's easier to treat emotions with logic. Keeping a journal is a yin-and-yang way to manage thoughts and emotions and will help manage your anxious feelings.

7. Begin a gratitude practice.

Did you know that gratitude can rewire your brain?

Your thoughts travel on neural pathways in your brains. When you’re stressed and anxious, your thoughts go to the negative, right? But the creation of a regular gratitude practice allows your brain to create new, positive pathways.

Over time, the old pathways grow over from lack of regular use. In other words, while forming new, positive streets for your thoughts to travel on in your brain, your brain fills in all those ditches and ruts previously used by negative thoughts.

This means that when you’re dealing with anxiety or a crisis (like we are now with COVID-19), a gratitude practice allows your thoughts to be more positive. And you’ll also recover more quickly.

8. Make your bed.

When you’re struggling with anxiety, sometimes the best medicine is to whip something into control or order. By making your bed, you get to take control, whip one of your spaces into tidiness, and feel as if you’ve accomplished something.

Never underestimate the value of a beautifully made bed.

9. Organize your space.

When you're feeling anxious, de-clutter something.

Yes, tackle that closet of yours now that you’re stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus. If your whole closet feels overwhelming, then choose a smaller space: A drawer, a shelf, or your kitchen island.

Sometimes, it can soothe your anxious feelings to tackle clutter. Make it your goal to organize various spots in your home and office.

10. Clean.

You're likely cleaning every spot in your home, which is good since cleaning can help soothe your anxiety. This may be the time to tackle places you rarely think to clean, like light switches and door handles.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with racing thoughts is to use your hands. Cleaning keeps your hands busy, distracts your mind, and results in a sparkling surface that helps you feel accomplished.

Cleaning can also help mute your kids' anxious energy.

RELATED: 40 Going Crazy Quotes To Help You Stay Sane (Sort-Of) When You're Quarantined During The Coronavirus Pandemic

11. Unfollow negative people on social media.

You want to stay connected, and you may find yourself back to scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on your phone. Now is a good time to better curate your feeds so that social media doesn’t add to your anxiety.

I know that the thought of unfollowing a friend or family member can make you feel more anxious. But both Facebook and Instagram allow you to stay “friends” with people and not see their posts.

You can snooze someone for 30 days on Facebook or hide an individual post. On Instagram, you can click on their profile and mute their posts, stories, or both.

12. Choose news sources with extreme care.

It’s so easy to let the news ramp up our stress and anxiety. It makes my heart race just reading the headlines! One of the things I’ve done is reduce my news consumption by subscribing to three newsy email lists:

This allows me to stay informed without going down the inevitable rabbit hole that any news website can be. So, if the news makes you anxious, be incredibly mindful about how you stay informed.

13. Follow positive people on social media.

You need to feed your mind with good and beautiful things. Sometimes, managing your thoughts and anxiety means fueling it with positive inputs.

So, find some pretty things to look at and positive words that make you feel uplifted.

14. Read.

Though libraries have closed, their digital collections are still available! Escape the real world and allow your anxiety to ease by getting lost in a good book.

What you read affects how you think and feel about yourself. That’s why making good choices in reading material can be one of the best things to do right now.

This is an especially good time to choose fiction, as research from Ohio State University has shown that fictional characters can influence you. In the study, readers adopted the beliefs, feelings, and responses of the characters.

This means well-written fiction with courageous or compassionate characters can inspire you to be brave and transform your thinking and how you see yourself and the world.

15. Create something.

When I’m feeling anxious, I'm restless. So, when I use my hands to create something, I’m actively moving stress out of my body.

Using your hands often soothes anxiety. So, get out a pen and paper and doodle, work on that short story, or bake a cake.

If you have young kids, consider pairing a movie with a craft.

16. Watch uplifting or sentimental things.

There are so many creative people out there with positive and uplifting content. So, find some things on YouTube that feel calming and nourishing.

For example, I love watching Jen Lee’s Morning Sunshine. Each video is under five minutes and is focused on providing all kinds of heart medicine.

Just because you're stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t travel virtually. Never underestimate the soothing nature of cat or travel videos. You can also aim for something sentimental.

When I’m stressed, I’ll watch one of my favorite movies from a streaming service. Because anxiety is often a result of your thoughts running amok, watching something that takes you back to simpler times helps you chill out.

17. Laugh.

Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine.

Again, look to things you can watch a movie or show that makes you laugh. And if there isn’t anything funny to watch, look to “Dad Jokes” or other silly things that make you giggle.

Because laughter has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure, soothe tension, and increase endorphins.

18. Look outside.

Research by doctors found that patients recovering from surgery and heart problems had shorter hospital stays and needed less pain medication when they saw nature out their hospital window versus seeing a brick wall.

So, when you’re feeling anxious, pause for a moment to simply gaze out the window.

Besides, if you need to stay inside thanks to the coronavirus and social distancing measures, this will give you a boost of sunshine.

19. Make warm drinks.

If you’re a fan of "The Big Bang Theory," you’ll know that one of the few social norms Sheldon is comfortable with is offering someone a hot beverage when they're upset.

There's just something comforting about putting your hands around a warm mug, right? So, making yourself a hot beverage can help soothe your stress and anxiety.

While you prepare your beverage, it also gives you the opportunity to take thoughtful, mindful action.

20. Give hugs.

If everyone in your family is healthy, then go ahead and hug each other.

Your spouse and kids are probably feeling anxious, too. Hugging releases oxytocin (also known as “the cuddle hormone”). This makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and soothes anxiety.

21. Connect with friends.

Isolation can ramp up your anxiety. And with social distancing, you can’t just call a friend to meet for a cup of coffee. What you can do, though, is reach out to them virtually.

Just because you’re housebound doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to connect. Try Skype or Facetime to "meet" over a cup of coffee.

22. Get sunshine.

Feeling trapped inside your home can add to your anxiety during this crisis. So, if it’s safe to do so where you live, get outside and enjoy a little sunshine.

Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood.

From what experts are saying, you get outdoors as long as you're healthy and able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from non-family members.

So, please let your kids play in your own yard (just not with others kiddos). Watching them play outdoors can reduce your anxiety. And it’s good for your mental health.

23. Learn something new.

There are so many ways to learn these days. Follow a thread of curiosity — just not about the novel coronavirus! Learn about 18th-century art, Elizabethan history, or the best way to make hard-boiled eggs.

This is a great time to sign up for an online class or invest in that program you’ve been eyeing.

The last few weeks have been twinged with a peculiar air of uncertainty due to the widespread yet unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 virus. All that uncertainty can add to your anxiety and stress levels.

Just remember that the way you're going to get through this is to manage your mind and health. That’s truly the best way to keep your anxiety under control. I want you to be able to find moments of love and relief in your daily life.

RELATED: 7 Activities To Unleash Your Inner Creative Mind During Coronavirus Quarantine

Debra Smouse is a life coach and author who has been published in Time, Huffington Post, MSN, Psychology Today, and more.

This article was originally published at Debra Smouse. Reprinted with permission from the author.