Here are some useful resources for dealing with anxiety; some of these work better than others. Feel free to try different things out, or suggesting other things in the comments!
Some background: I always had some level of anxiety, mostly stress-induced, but then after a traumatic experience in 2011 it turned into full-blown panic disorder. It’s taken me a while to get a handle on it but at least as of August 2018 I feel like I’ve had it under control for a while!
- Michael Sealey on YouTube (IMO the specific video doesn’t really matter, he just has a really good soothing voice)
- The Honest Guys
- The song Weightless by Macaroni Union (and its accompanying video) was designed specifically for grounding during an anxiety attack.
- Similarly, the song Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (really, the whole album (affiliate link))
- You could try this clock .gif to recalibrate your respiration
- Or this looping .gif of water waves, this one of a ball following a dynamic trajectory, a box that breathes slowly, or a bird flying between a bunch of different configurations
- these noise generators
- lullaby (click the ‘play’ button in the upper-right corner)
These are all massively in “your mileage may vary” territory; please check with your doctor, of course, and this is not medical advice and so on.
- Benzodiazepenes are useful for acute panic symptoms; I used to use Lorazepam (Ativan) on an as-needed basis, although I haven’t needed it in a couple years, thanks to…
- cannabis products, especially high-CBD ones. I’m a fan of pure-CBD extract, as well as high-CBD flower (with at least a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio). Pure CBD also doesn’t get you stoned/high (although still use it with caution especially if you’re on other medications)
- There’s also some evidence that chronic anxiety can be a symptom of a magnesium deficiency; this article on Psychology Today goes into a bit more depth on that
- May 2019 note: I’ve been taking nortriptyline and gabapentin to treat my fibromyalgia (which also turns out to be interconnected with anxiety), and this has also helped me immensely
I like to get into a safe situation, breathe slow and deep, and count my breaths. If I ever lose count of my breaths, I just restart at 1, and realize that breaths are fleeting anyway.
If I’m driving, I like to simply remind myself, “I’ve felt worse.” (shout-out to Lapis Lazuli for that one)
Fidget cubes and spinners are great, if you’re in a situation where you can use one without being judged. (I keep one in my purse.)
Things to avoid
There are a bunch of quick-fix anxiety scams out there which seem to be of varying quality (mostly poor). Generally if something is advertised using a lot of vague terminology but then also claims to work specifically for you (and only for you) you should take it with a grain of salt. Also given how much good, free stuff is out there, you shouldn’t be suckered into paying a subscription fee or whatever.
Another red flag is if you do a web search on “[name of program] scam” and all you get are blogs that seem to exist hyper-specifically to “ask” the question “is [name of program] a scam?” (often even on a website with a domain name like
[nameofprogram]reviews.com or whatever) and they start out non-committally but then suddenly ramp to uncritically praising it; for bonus points it’ll also usually take a dump over other proven techniques at the same time to give the review an air of legitimacy.
There are quite a few anti-anxiety programs out there which use these techniques; one particularly notorious one is called “Calm Clinic” (and the “triad technique”). I used to have a much longer blog entry on them specifically but this article on Anxiety Social Net seems to cover all the bases.
“Panic Away” seems to be another one of these scammy things.
Also, just remember:
It’s only anxiety. Try giving it a name so you can yell at it. (I call mine “Gary.”)