Home Mental Health 6 Instant Techniques to Calm Your Nerves from Anxiety

6 Instant Techniques to Calm Your Nerves from Anxiety

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Anxiety is a sneaky thing. It has a way of creeping into our bodies when we least expect it, leaving us feeling on edge and uncomfortable. While anxiety serves an important purpose by keeping us safe from potential threats, excessive anxiety can severely diminish our quality of life.

Many people experience anxiety in a somatic or physical way known as somatic anxiety. With somatic anxiety, the physical sensations of anxiety are often the most distressing part.

Your heart may race, your muscles may feel tense, or you may experience nausea, headaches, or other physical symptoms with no apparent cause. Dealing with these unpleasant bodily feelings can make anxiety seem impossible to escape.

The good news is that there are simple techniques you can use anytime, anywhere to start soothing your somatic anxiety symptoms and calm your nerves. In this article, we will explore six instant ways to help relieve the physical discomfort of anxiety and regain a sense of control over your body’s responses.

By using these strategies routinely, you can train your nervous system to respond differently to stress and start to see real changes in how you experience anxiety physically.

Let’s jump right in and look at the first strategy to soothe somatic anxiety.

1. Deep Belly Breathing

Your breath is deeply connected to your stress response and ability to manage anxiety. When you feel anxious or threatened, your breathing often becomes rapid and shallow, fueling the fight-or-flight response.

Consciously changing your breathing pattern can help counteract this and promote feelings of relaxation instead. Deep belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is one of the most powerful natural anxiety remedies.

To practice it: Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your belly expand as you breathe deep into your abdomen. Your chest and shoulders should remain still.

Exhale through pursed lips, like you’re blowing through a straw. Feel your belly draw inward as you breathe out fully.¬†Repeat for 5-10 minutes, focusing only on your breath coming in and out.

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Studies show deep belly breathing triggers your body’s relaxation response by lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones. Making it a regular practice can help reduce somatic anxiety symptoms naturally over time.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Chronic muscle tension often accompanies anxiety and worsens physical discomfort. Progressive muscle relaxation is an evidence-based technique for systematically releasing built-up tension throughout your body.

To practice progressive muscle relaxation: Starting with your feet, squeeze the muscles as tightly as possible while inhaling. Hold for 5 seconds. Exhale and relax the muscles completely, noticing the difference between tension and release.

Continue moving up your body through calves, thighs, abdomen, back, shoulders, neck, hands, and face. Hold each muscle group tense while breathing in and relaxed while breathing out.

This technique trains your body to recognize the feeling of tension and teaches muscles to let go. Regular practice can help break the cycle of muscle tension that aggravates somatic anxiety long-term.

3. Cold Therapy

Exposing your body to cold temperatures triggers the dive response – the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. This natural reaction dampens activity of the sympathetic nervous system and promotes relaxation instead.

Some simple cold therapy techniques to try: Take a cool shower and focus the water on your wrists, back of the neck, and face where there are lots of blood vessels close to the skin’s surface.

Soak your hands, feet, or face in ice water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and exhale slowly as you do. Apply an ice pack to tense muscle areas for 10 minutes.

The initial uncomfortable sensation is tolerable and improves circulation. Regular cold therapy may help minimize somatic anxiety symptoms over time like a racing heart or restlessness.

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4. Guided Imagery

Your mind has enormous power to influence how your body feels. Guided imagery uses visualization to shift mind and body out of an anxious state into one of deep relaxation.

Find a comfortable position and close your eyes. Focus on a peaceful imagery script or recording that guides you through relaxing each part of your body systematically. For example:

“Imagine waves gently washing ashore, feel each wave wash tension from your feet, up your legs, releasing all stress and tightness. Visualize your legs feeling loose and heavy… see your belly rise and fall with each breath, soothing any butterflies or tension.”

Continuing imagery encourages physical sensations of soothing warmth, comfort, and relief from anxiety. Regular use can re-route thoughts from physical anxiety triggers to relaxation.

5. Essential Oil Aromatherapy

Certain scents like lavender, bergamot, and frankincense have documented anxiolytic properties. Inhaling stress-reducing essential oils may activate smell receptors connected directly to the limbic system in the brain, influencing mood and physical state.

A few easy aromatherapy techniques: Diffuse 2-3 drops of essential oil in a room for an ambient relaxing scent. Apply 1-2 drops to pulse points on wrists, behind ears, or rub on chest before bed or during anxious moments.

Add 2-3 drops to an aromatherapy necklace, bracelet or diffuser bracelet for quick access aromatherapy Inhale essential oil scents consciously as needed to manage somatic anxiety like tightness, digestive issues, or restlessness.

6. Mindful Stretching or Gentle Yoga

Physical activity reduces anxiety, but strenuous exercise when feeling stressed can backfire. Gentle movement like stretching or restorative yoga helps relax the body and calm the mind instead.

With mindful stretching, focus consciously on each stretch, feeling it deeply without pushing too far into discomfort. Breathe and listen to your body. Make stretches part of your daily routine to soothe tense areas.

For yoga, focus on slower, relaxation-based sequences without forcing poses aggressively. Listen to calming music and bring present-moment attention to physical sensations like warmth spreading through joints or tightness releasing.

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Low-impact movement helps alleviate somatic anxiety symptoms by releasing endorphins and bringing awareness inward through each breath and stretch. Physical tensions dissolve as the mind stills.

Now you have six simple strategies to try the next time somatic anxiety strikes. The key is consistency – practice them regularly to train the mind and body into a more relaxed state when stress is high.

Using mindfulness brings awareness to physical sensations without reacting or identifying with them as distressing, which weakens anxiety’s grip over time.

By addressing anxiety at its physical roots with natural remedies, you gain more control over anxious responses and elevate mood naturally from within.

Anxiety lessens as you cultivate inner calm daily through breath, movement, imagery and other holistic techniques. Make somatic anxiety soothing a lifelong habit and watch discomfort dissolve.

Quick Recap

In summary, this article provided 6 instant ways to soothe somatic anxiety:

  1. Deep belly breathing to lower stress hormone levels and relaxation response
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation to release chronic tension aggravating anxiety
  3. Cold therapy like cold showers to activate the dive response inhibiting fight or flight
  4. Guided imagery to shift thoughts from physical anxiety to relaxation
  5. Essential oil aromatherapy using calming scents with anxiolytic properties
  6. Gentle yoga or mindful stretching to alleviate tension through movement and endorphins

The focus was on simple mind-body strategies to target anxiety physically using natural techniques. Practicing them consistently helps train responses to threats into relaxation over time. Addressing anxiety at the level of embodiment is key to gaining control inwardly.

Bottom line is mindfulness of body brings awareness to sensations without distress, weakening anxiety’s grip. Cultivating inner calm through these remedies dissolves discomfort naturally from within.

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