Self-help technique to cope with stress and anxiety

Team IIBP Anveshan, Issue 6, Mental Health

Considering the Pandemic and the overall hectic lifestyle of the 21st Century, Stress has become a rather frequent guest for almost everyone. Stressors or factors that contribute to stress range from a mild convenience in our day-to-day life to Traumatic experiences. One factor that very often overlaps with stress is anxiety. The uneasiness and the unpleasant feelings of nervousness worry and fear that anxiety brings with it can get rather overwhelming at times.

Our mind and body are constantly working together towards tackling any issues. Therefore the responses to stress or anxiety are never just covert. Our body also has its own set of responses for them. Sweating, palpitations, physiological restlessness, indigestion problems are some of the common ways through which our body responds to Stress or Anxiety. The Nervous System prepares itself to fight or flight by sending out these bodily signals.

During such times, it is helpful to practice certain techniques that can help the Nervous System calm down and regulate its responses.

Following are some of the widely used techniques for Anxiety and Stress Reduction:

Visualization:

Find a comfortable spot and get yourself comfortable. Use support for the back if you find it helpful. Start by taking a few long and deep breaths. Imagine yourself by the beach. The waves are gently touching your feet. You are feeling the soft sand moving beneath your feet with each passing wave. There’s a beautiful blue sky in front of you. It’s very peaceful and soothing. You are only hearing the sound of wind and waves.

As you are observing the waves, you realize that they are not permanent. You are simply observing them. You are not becoming them. Just like them, the unpleasant thoughts and feelings will also come and go. You don’t have to become them. You are observing the waves and feeling the calmness in your body and mind. (Spend some more time expanding on the above image and once you feel more comfortable, slowly open your eyes.)

2. Box Breathing/ Square Breathing:

Sit in a comfortable position and slowly exhale all the air out.

Gently inhale through your nose while counting slowly till 4.

Hold your breath for the next 4 seconds.

Slowly exhale for the next 4 seconds.

Repeat the above steps a few times till you feel calm

. 5-4-3-2-1 Technique:

Describe 5 things that you can SEE around.

Describe 4 things you can FEEL.

Describe 3 things you can HEAR.

Describe 2 things you can SMELL.

Describe 1 thing you can TASTE.

(The purpose of this exercise is to re-connect with the here and now through all your senses.)

About the author: Chinmayee Aphale is a Passionate Mental Health Professional from Pune. She has completed her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Savitribai Phule Pune University and a Diploma in Community Mental Health from NIMHANS Digital Academy. She works as a Counselor for an Employee Assistance Program and also works as an Associate Psychologist at Online Platforms. She’s extremely passionate about community mental health and dreams to work with the communities in Himachal Pradesh in order to make help accessible.