Engaging your senses is something that can be helpful in relieving the feeling of anxiety. There are many different exercises that can help, but it isn't realistic to be able to sit down and do a full anxiety grounding exercise every time that you are feeling anxious. Here is a simple technique that you can use which utilizes your sense of touch:
Find the nearest restroom or kitchen with a sink
Begin by taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth
Turn on the faucet and adjust the temperature to cool or cold running water
Place your hands and/or forearms under the running water
Practice mindfulness towards the sensation of the water
Bring awareness to how the water feels on your skin
Continue until anxious symptoms subside
The reason why distraction works well is because during moments of high anxiety, our brains believe that there is an outside threat (that is non-existent) and that we have no control of our environment. Distraction techniques such as this one help to remind our brains that there is no outside threat and that we still very much have control over our immediate environment. While techniques such as this one can help provide temporary relief from anxious symptoms, it is always important to seek support in psychotherapy. During our sessions, I help my clients to explore their underlying triggers, develop skills to ease symptoms, and explore lifestyle changes that best support their healing process.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog does not substitute for mental health services. These are my personal thoughts gained from my experiences and education as a psychotherapist. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.