Stopping an anxiety attack in its path can be hard. When you find the right healthy distractions from anxiety for you, you can often stop it before it gets too bad.
Let’s be clear. Anxiety isn’t something that you should avoid and pretend doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean you can’t discover distractions that help you in those times where your anxiety has a tendency to sneak up on you and take over.
We’ll give you some examples about what we mean by distractions. While we do consider these to be wonderful recommendations, it’s important that you focus on discovering healthy distractions that are ideal for you. What works for you, may not work for someone else, and vice versa.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little trial and error to come across your very own personal distractions from anxiety.
What Do You Mean by Distractions?
Let’s address this question first. Distractions can be pretty much you can think of that you find helps to relax your mind so you can focus on something other than what you’re anxious about for a little bit.
What type of distraction from anxiety you choose will depend on quite a few things. You’ll need to consider from where you are when your anxiety is peaking because that will depend upon to which tools are around to help you.
For example, if you start to feel panicked when driving, you might want to consider turning on the radio as a healthy distraction from anxiety for you. If you’re at home, you may want to turn on Netflix and watch as how or movie that tends to soothe you and distract your mind from whatever you’re currently stressing about.
Many other people like to get into creative activities such as drawing, writing, painting, coloring or creating something. Yet other people like to go for a walk or bake. It’s all about what works for you.
How to Find the Right Distractions from Anxiety
The key point to take away from this article is to find the distraction(s) that are right for YOU and your personality. While your BFF might love her stash of adult coloring books, art therapy may not work for your anxiety.
That’s okay. Just move onto a new idea and keep trying new ones until you and something that works for you. I hope these ideas will help give you some thoughts on what to try first.
Listen to Calming Music
Music is a great distraction from anxiety that is available pretty much anywhere, anytime these days. The key with this coping strategy is to find music that you find personally soothing or relaxing. Keep in mind that music can make anxious feelings worse for some people, so you’ll need to experiment a little to figure out if this is right for you.
Watch Something Soothing
Much like listening to music, watching a movie or TV show may either make things better or worse. Remember that stimulating shows and movies may be too overstimulating and harm more than help. Make sure you’re not watching things that create more fear.
Read or Listen to a Book
Many people find that reading books while using a weighted blanket to be quite a calming activity, so it’s something that is definitely worth a try. If you find it too challenging to focus on reading words on a page or screen, try audio books instead. My favorite place for audio books is Scribd.
Partake in Art Therapy
Art therapy is such a wonderful thing for people with anxiety. Once you get into it, you’ll learn that creative activities not only distract your mind, but they also give your hands something to do at the same time. Some activities to try include drawing, coloring, painting, crocheting, knitting, carving or getting involved with any hobby that brings you joy.
Get Some Exercise
Moving your body might be the best distraction for you, especially if you’re an active person. Instead of participating in some sort of a strenuous workout, try keeping it a bit lighter with activities like walking, yoga or hiking. Some people also use a technique called Walk It Out that helps you process your emotions while you’re walking.
Meet Up with Loved Ones
If none of your normal strategies are working for you, you can also simply pick up your things and leave the house. Go meet up with a good friend who always makes you smile. Or drop what you’re doing and play with your children or pets at home.
There are many distractions from anxiety that work for different people. We hope you got some ideas that will help calm you down when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.