I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to battle unhealthy thoughts and urges. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do except ride the wave and wait for the feelings to pass.
Distractions help. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of some of the activities I’ve found help me cruise out the crisis mode until I’m calmer and can address less severe emotions and thoughts.
For me it helps to set a timer for as long as you think you can. 5 minutes, 15, 30, and try and stick with an activity until the buzzer goes off. Then reset and do it again (maybe try something different). The point is to try a little bit at a time and continue to take small steps towards the end of the tunnel. You can do it.
*If you are at risk of hurting yourself or others and these distracting activities don’t prove to be enough, please reach out for help:
1. Try the dive reflex
This is activated by facial contact with cold water and has been shown to combat physiological symptoms of panic and anxiety.
If you cover your face, especially the forehead and the area around the nose (area of the trigeminal nerve) with a cold wet towel, the diving reflex will be activated. Because the diving reflex innervates the vagus nerve your pulse will drop and your body will relax.
It helps to bend your torso over (as if you were bobbing for apples) as you splash water onto your face.
2. Go outside – take a walk.
3. Take a soothing bath or shower.
4. Drink a glass of ice cold water
You can find guided meditations on youtube and you can practice controlled, slow breathing.
6. Take a nap
This can be good for a “reset” if you can manage to fall asleep.
7. Listen to music
I’ve shared a couple playlists that have a positive impact on my mood but you can find tons elsewhere online! Don’t underestimate the power of a good song.
8. Watch Tv
Comedy is good (for me at least!). There are tons of standup specials on Netflix to give a try.
9. Read one chapter of a book.
10. Browse funny videos on the internet
11. Call someone
Just chat. It doesn’t even have to be about you, but it can be great at keeping your mind off things.
12. Cook a meal or bake
13. Play with a pet
14. Go to your favourite cafe or coffee shop
15. Write in a journal or on a blog
16. Clean/tidy up