Using a "Calm Box" to Manage and Alleviate Anxiety

We all know how debilitating anxiety can be, it really is a game-changer and people who suffer with anxiety say that they can feel in a permanent state of fear and trepidation. Even if your anxiety is sporadic, it’s hard living with episodes of anxiety.  Creating a personalised "Calm Box" can be one way to try and manage those difficult times.

Anxiety can work by stealth, creeping up on you when you least expect it or it can arrive with a trumpet fanfare… But however it arrives, it makes itself known pretty quickly. Palpitations, headaches, racing heart rate, that horrible feeling of being unable to control what might happen next… All these things and more make anxiety such a formidable enemy. It CAN be defeated – it’s NOT a life sentence… But when it hits, it can sometimes feel that way. Lots of things can help to get rid of anxiety for good… Hypnotherapy and counselling can really help, as can lots of self-help techniques to re-discover the positives in life and actively seek them out. Of course, it’s difficult to remember that when you’re caught up in a downwards spiral.

How to manage anxiety on the short term

There are lots of breathing techniques such as the "belly breathing", which uses your body’s physiological responses to automatically have a calming effect… but you could also try using a "Calm Box". 

The idea of a "Calm Box" is that you have a box full of things which help you to relax, all on hand, because the last thing you want to do when you’re in the throes of anxiety is to go looking round the house for things to calm you down.

What could go into your box?

Your calm box needs to work for YOU, so yours will be completely personalised and unique. This starts with self-awareness – working out where you feel your anxiety in your body and what usually works for you. Have a think about what calms you down. If you don’t know, then have a play with different things.

Here are a few ideas to help you visualise what could go into you box: 

• Stress balls: there are lots of different ones so have a play around and see which ones, if any, work for you. 

• Puzzles, wordsearches or sudoku are a great distraction if you enjoy them.

• A journal to write down your feelings: it really can help to express yourself Remember no one else will see your journal so you can be completely honest. 

• Write in a gratitude journal and keep this in your box: it may help to look at this when you feel anxious, to remind you of the positive people and things in your life, giving you back a sense of perspective that is often missing in moments of anxiety.

• Music which soothes you: some people want relaxing meditation-type music, others want to dance.  Again, it’s personal to you – what helps you to feel good?

• If you get stress-induced headaches, include some cooling strips for your head.

• Re-connecting with your senses can help so include something which appeals to each one of your senses.

• It can be calming to have a lovely smooth stone or crystal to hold, touch and ground you.

• For children, you can include some bubble mixture – to blow a really big bubble, you need to really slow your breathing down. It’s quite relaxing as an adult too.

• Colouring is a great activity for relaxing so you could include some sheets or a colouring book, lots of people find this very therapeutic.

You can find some really lovely free downloadable colouring sheets for adults using the following link: http://www.wayfair.co.uk/ideas-and-advice/trendspotting-colouring-pages-for-adults-S9796.html

Give it a go!

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