9 Relaxing Items Every Anxious Person Needs
WE CAN’T LET ANXIETY HOLD US BACK
That churning feeling in my stomach, worrying that people are looking at me, feeling tense and restless… These negative feelings have stopped me from attending my fair share of social events. And let me tell you, repeatedly having my life disrupted by stress and anxiety is a tiring habit.
A relaxation item can come in handy in those moments of high stress and anxiety. They work by shifting our focus away from the anxious thoughts that cause us so much suffering. Sometimes when we need to gather ourselves all we really need is a comfortable reminder that we’re okay.
Some mental tools, like those taught in CBT, can give us the ability to interrupt our anxious thoughts without using relaxation items. This ability is essential for anxiety recovery, but it doesn’t develop overnight, it develops over time through practice. In the meantime relaxation items can be a very helpful tool for reducing anxiety and stress.
It started as an excellent office toy, but now the stress ball has made its way out of the workplace environment. For instance, I’ve used stress balls before my matches to reduce my nervousness.
This malleable toy not only helps relieve muscle tension, but can also calm you down visually. Get some in your favorite color, and keep them around for when the stress gets to you.
Worry stones, as the name implies, have been classically used to reduce worry.
They are typically oval shaped with an indentation for the thumb. The surface is cool and smooth, making them very pleasant to play with.
By making it a habit to focus on a worry stone or other physical objects when worried, we can even begin to replace destructive coping methods like nail biting, hair pulling, scratching, etc.
It should be noted that there’s nothing magical about these stones. They are pretty to look at and relaxing to fiddle with, but any object can in theory be used to get the same effect.
The secret is to close your eyes and focus exclusively on how the stone feels in your hand. Feel the weight, feel the texture, feel the temperature… Now take a couple of slow breaths. This will usually be enough to halt worry and overthinking.
If you want to take worry stones to the next level, try combining the exercise above with meditation.
Aromatherapy has proven to be effective for reducing stress, and decluttering the mind.
During those first lonely, stressful months in college a few drops of eucalyptus oil in my handkerchief helped me get by. Luckily, they sell inhalers infused with essential oil these days.
They can even be used directly on the skin. Try applying a drop on the tip of your nose, especially before going to bed, as this can help induce sleep.
The wide variety of essential oils gives you a platter too choose from, ranging from minty, to musky, to citrusy. Lavender, frankincense, lemon, and eucalyptus are a few of the more commonly used ones.
Various types of tea and herbal teas have been associated with relieving anxiety, inducing calmness, and helping with sleep.
The best part about having tea in your kitchen shelf is that you can experiment with it, adding ginger one day and lemon the other. Thus breaking the monotony.
This is one of the quicker solutions to stress-relief. Including tea in your daily routine can improve your mood and mental peace remarkably. You can even get fancy sometimes, and bring out the Instagram-able tea set!
Much like essential oils, scented candles fall under the umbrella of aromatherapy. They provide both a visual and an olfactory stimulation. This can help sort out the chaos in our minds and relieve stress.
A great variety of available products means there’s plenty of room for experimentation. If you can imagine the aromatic scent, it probably already exists as a candle.
An added bonus is that the gentle flickering light of flames can be a great source of relaxation. Just imagine how mesmerizing a live fireplace tends to be.
My life planner notebook has a bicycle drawn on its cover and is a tranquil shade of turquoise. I make it a point to note down the assignments I need to complete. This can be things like the groceries I need to get, and other reminders like “drink water!” and “call mum”.
By organizing a few aspects of our life we bring a sense of clarity to it. It greatly helps, especially if you’re prone to stress.
Sometimes it doubles up as an anxiety journal. So the next time you feel the stage fright creeping up before a presentation, try the cathartic process of writing. Jotting down our feelings helps untangle the overwhelming sets of emotions that grip us during anxiety.
Studies have shown that weighted blankets have a positive influence on anxiety, tension, and even insomnia. Its deep touch stimulation gives a sense of security and reduces chronic stress.
These blankets can be anywhere between 4 pounds to 30 pounds heavy. Usually, a weighted blanket that is around 10% our body weight is said to be ideal. However, it can vary from person to person. It’s also better to get one in a natural, breathable fiber – like cotton.
The Newton’s Cradle is another amazing used-to-be office toy. The visual stimulation and the ringing sound of metal hitting metal can help calm the nerves and relieve stress.
The recurring sound may also function as a mindfulness exercise. As we did with worry stones, we can close our eyes and focus on the object in front of us. This will make it easier to divert attention from negative thoughts.
Also they look super cool, so they’re perfect accessories for a bookshelf or desk.
Music can offer a very strong and natural relief from stress and anxiety. By putting together a playlist of songs and instrumentals that calm us down, we can combat negative emotions with the click of a button.
It doesn’t have to be music of course, the sound of rain is near universally considered incredibly relaxing. That’s what I listen to when I’m feeling anxious. Try putting on Rainy Mood, and see if it has the same effect on you.