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Is there a way to control the physical manifestations of my anxiety?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 04/27/2021 at 9:26pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
February 9th, 2015 7:31am
Yes. Distraction's a good trick, breathing exercises, too. If you're feeling really anxious and don't know what to do, why not take some deep breaths and go for a good long walk outside? If you're afraid of people, go out anyway. You're never gonna overcome your fears if you don't face it.
January 15th, 2015 7:01pm
Different strategies work for different people. Some people have found that breathing exercises can be helpful, while others have found that distraction or exercise are beneficial. I recommend doing some research on your own, and finding what works best for you. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or psychiatrist for strategies, and to consider medication or talk therapy.
May 12th, 2015 7:53pm
Physical anxiety can come in all shapes and size, from shaking to tics to maybe a verbal stutter. There are helpful tips for all, from making sure your hands are busy when talking to people, to practising talking out loud to try and control your stutter. everyone develops their own little tricks to kick it.
June 16th, 2015 9:56pm
It's different for everyone. Anxiety is a rush of adrenaline that your body does not know what to do with, hence the panic that comes with it as adrenaline is often a last resort energy boost when a person is scared. It's why you usually feel your heart racing after a jump-scare. Usually to calm down you take deep breaths such as ones you take after working out. It might also help to count out loud or in your head. Focusing on anything other than what set you off is usually a big help too, such as thinking positively instead of negatively. Going for long walks often calms the body down and using up that excess energy.
July 14th, 2015 7:42pm
Based on my experience, I have found that doing a physical activity, such as running or lifting weights not only lessens my anxiety, but also controls my need to physically act out due to it.
December 22nd, 2015 8:42am
Yes. Often people find that breathing excercises can help them to slow their heart rate and feel more in control, this does not work for everyone though. Speaking to others who are not experiencing anxiety and having a distraction can help a lot too as can calming experiences such as listening to music or having a warm bath or shower.
January 18th, 2016 4:13am
First of all, you need to know when the anxiety is happening, and what those physical manifestations are. It may sound a little too simple, but often anxiety has early physical warning signs. For me, my heart rate is slightly elevated, my mind is a little foggier, and I feel a little more tired and dizzy. My stomach hurts a little too. After a few minutes of this, the more heavy physical symptoms like hand tremors, a stutter, and very high heart rate start to happen. It's harder to control those, so I try to catch myself with the early symptoms first. As others have already mentioned breathing techniques, exercise, and distraction as good ways to control physical symptoms of anxiety, I'll suggest one distraction technique that my therapist taught me. It's a little silly, but you start by doing that childhood trick of rubbing your belly and tapping your head. Then you try to recite your postal/zip code mentally. Do that for a minute or so and then your mind is focused entirely on something else. The central idea is that you are engaging your thoughts and as many physical senses as possible. Once you "trick" your mind into thinking about something else other than your anxiety trigger, you can proceed to using other de-stressing strategies. If you don't like rubbing your belly and patting your head, you can also try to do things like rubbing circles on one leg and patting the other, so it is less conspicuous. Of course, continuing to work on identifying what triggers your anxiety and working your way around those is always helpful, if possible.
June 18th, 2018 3:54pm
Deep breathing and meditation are extremely helpful for me, and well as centering myself and being aware of my surroundings
October 9th, 2018 3:14pm
Bring up today's newspaper on the web, notice the date. Read something fun! Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting fear and worry go, evaporating along with each breath. Trace your hands against the physical outline of your body. Experience your own presence in the world. Call a friend and have a chat. If you are feeling 'stuck', change how you're positioned. Wiggle your fingers, tap your feet. Pay attention to the movement: You are in control of what your body is doing, right here and now. Eat or drink something. Is it hot, or cold? Sweet, or sour? Meditate, if that's OK for you. Otherwise use distractions like television or music to help settle down. Use your voice. Say your name or pick up a book and read the first paragraph you find out loud. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even if that's the last thing you feel like! How does that feel? What can you see? (If negative thoughts come to mind, write them down to look at later but let them go for now. You're anxious enough as it is.) Write out what's going on. Keep writing until you start to notice it makes a difference, lets some of the things you're anxious about out. Take a shower/bath. Notice the sensations of the water. Write somebody you care about an email. Imagine yourself in a familiar, comfortable place. Feel the safety. Know it. Take a look outside. Count the number of trees and street signs. Exercise. Jump up and down on the spot. Try some gentle yoga, or ride a bike. Hold onto something comforting. Maybe a blanket or an old stuffed toy
September 24th, 2019 4:50pm
Breathe! Exercise! Paint, or write, or run, or do whatever else you can to get out of your head at that moment. Just make sure it's a healthy outlet for the anxious energy, so that you are benefiting, not harming yourself or others. You can try square-breathing, for example: Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, release your breath for 7 seconds, and hold your breath again for 4 seconds. This will help your body switch out of anxiety mode and get you back to a place of balance. Don't worry if it doesn't work right away - the more you practice, the better you'll get! :-)
September 14th, 2020 2:28pm
There are clinically proven ways to do this. It is probably best to consult with a trained professional to figure out what works best for you because everyone is different in the way we respond to certain things. Dealing with anxiety is no easy task, it takes lots of energy and understanding on how to control certain emotions and body functions. -Breathing exercises. Controlling your breathing rate will help you body relax and reduce the efforts your body has to mechanically do to keep up with the feeling of anxiety. You can download breathing exercising apps for free. Some smart watches and devices already have one preinstalled. -Safely removing yourself from the source of anxiety, if possible.
April 13th, 2021 3:50am
Yes. In fact, there are three effective ways based on research to reduce the physical manifestations of your anxiety such as increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and sweaty palms. The three ways are: breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, and mindfulness meditation. There are many types of breathing exercises. One such exercise is the 4-7-8 exercise, where you inhale for 4 seconds through your nose, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds through your mouth. This exercise lengthens your exhalation, which causes your body to relax. Muscle relaxation exercises relaxes your muscles that reduces your anxiety symptoms as well. One form of mindfulness meditation involve focusing on your breath, constantly bringing your attention back to your breath whenever your mind wanders, and noticing your thoughts and feelings with a non-judgmental attitude. If you have social anxiety, and you fear negative evaluations from people when you show physical signs of embarrassment (like sweaty armpits or blushing), doing any of these three methods listed above to avoid potential negative evaluations can maintain your social anxiety.
April 27th, 2021 9:26pm
Concentrating on your breath. Imagine seeing your breath coming in, and follow it through your body. As you release your breath, visualize all of the frustration and anxiety leaving with your breath. Next breath do the same thing, pausing and hold it in for a count of 4. Then release while counting to 7. Repeat at least 3 times. Concentrating on your breath like this helps release anxiety and helps bring in calmness. It is so good in fact, it feels like medication. Seriously. Breathing is that powerful. There's something comforting knowing you have this powerful tool to ease anxiety.