This article will provide practical tips and strategies for naturally calming anxiety attacks, especially during nighttime, giving detailed information about natural strategies and techniques for calming anxiety attacks.
Understanding Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks can happen when stress levels get too high. These attacks are common with anyone who experiences high levels of stress or anxiety or has an anxiety disorder. For many people, these attacks happen at night, and they can manifest in the form of a panic attack, sleep paralysis, or other symptoms that interfere with sleep quality and make the stress worse.
This article will focus on natural methods to alleviate anxiety attacks and calm yourself down.
Tips for Calming Anxiety Attacks
-Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a viable tool for recognizing where you are holding physical tension. You can learn how to calm anxiety attacks at night by starting from your face and working your way down your body, clenching all of the muscles in a given area, and then releasing.
With this technique, you move down your body, contracting and releasing your muscles. In so doing, you can release tension you might not have known you were holding.
-Visualization and Imagery
You can also learn how to calm down from an anxiety attack with visualization and imagery. Visualization is a technique where you visualize something or someplace that is calming to you.
This level of imagery looks slightly different for everyone but involves focusing on all of the minute details of something positive, like:
- The sound of crashing waves and seagulls
- The feel of hot air on your skin
- The smell of saltwater
- The sensation of sand between your toes
- The feel of a beach towel wrapped around you and a chair against your back
Grounding techniques can also teach you how to calm anxiety attacks at night when symptoms are high. Grounding techniques are things that help you quiet any distressing thoughts and focus on the present, forcing your mind to turn away from anxiety, worries, or memories.
There are several grounding techniques that you can use. Some examples include the following:
- Hold your hands in water for a few minutes, focusing on the cold water against your skin
- Taking a drink of water or eating a quick snack and savoring the taste
- Picking up something near you and focusing on the way it feels
- Using your five senses to bring your focus to the room, thinking of the sounds, smells, sights, and so forth
- Placing your feet on the floor and stretching
Different techniques will work in several situations. If, for example, you’re having an anxiety attack at night, while you are sleeping, you can put your feet on the floor to physically ground yourself and then grab something that you keep next to your bed on your nightstand and hold it or just touch it. This can be something that is cold, squishy, sharp, or fluffy, anything that brings your focus back to the present.
You can keep smells that are strong and meaningful to you nearby next to your bed, where you work, or in your car so that if you are trying to figure out how to calm an anxiety attack while at the office or while driving, you can grab the homemade spice packet, scented candle, or bar of soap and inhale the fragrance deeply. This will help to turn your attention back to the present moment.
Strategies for Long-Term Anxiety Management
While the tips above are great if you are learning how to calm down from an anxiety attack, your long-term strategies should revolve around reducing anxiety in the first place so that the need for such tips diminishes. There are several ways in which this can be achieved.
-Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Long-term management of anxiety symptoms can be achieved with cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to recognize harmful automatic thoughts and to see the relationship between those automatic thoughts, your emotions, and your behaviors. By recognizing this relationship you can learn how to better control the way in which you respond to your environment, to things that are said around you, and to stress.
-Stress Reduction Techniques
Stress reduction techniques go hand in hand with cognitive behavioral therapy, giving you the tools you need to reduce the stress in your life.
There will always be stress no matter how effectively you manage your day but it’s important to recognize what items of stress are within your control and what items are not.
Margaret is very excited to have her friends come and visit, but she is starting to stress over getting her house clean in time, taking down Christmas decorations, and making sure they have the food they like. She spends hours each day in the week prior to their visit ruminating, worrying about whether she has the right foods, and going to the store several times each day to buy an extra ingredient or two. When she has to take her kids to school or complete a volunteer activity, she stresses about the fact that that takes her away from the time she would otherwise spend cleaning her house in preparation for their visit.
While this is a simple example, it represents the idea that much of the stress people face is self-inflicted and learning to differentiate between what is within your control and what isn’t and, from there, what type of action you can take to mitigate the things within your control is imperative.
-Support Systems and Self-Care
It’s also important to have support systems. Support systems come from someone you can turn to, someone you might be able to call when you are stressed, who makes you feel better, who makes you laugh, or to whom you can vent.
Self-care routines are equally important, and they give you a chance to set boundaries, take care of yourself first, and know when to step away from a situation so that you can do something as simple as take a walk, meditate, or put on a face mask and sit quietly for 10 minutes.
Managing Anxiety Attacks at Night
Managing anxiety attacks at night can be achieved with some simple self-care steps.
-Creating a Soothing Bedtime Routine
Creating a soothing bedtime routine can teach you how to calm anxiety attack symptoms before they happen. A soothing bedtime routine involves things like:
- Making a calming cup of tea a few hours before bed, something like chamomile or a bedtime tea
- Doing light stretching before bed to help release any tension you might be holding from the day
- Going to bed at the same time, even if that means reading a book for 30 minutes before you turn the lights out
- Avoiding screens and devices an hour or so before bed
- Keeping your room comfortable, cold, and dark so that your body can sleep more effectively
-Mindful Breathing Techniques for Nighttime Anxiety
Mindful breathing techniques are a great way to quell nighttime anxiety. Mindful breathing brings your attention back to the present and helps you focus on something within your control: your breathing.
There are several ways to do this, but one of the easiest is called Square breathing. For this, you breathe in, hold your breath at the top, breathe out, and hold at the bottom for the same length of time. Most people do this for four or six seconds each, but you can build to that.
This is very effective because when anxiety strikes, people tend to take shallow clavicular breaths from the top of the clavicle, and this actually worsens the symptoms of anxiety because you’re not getting a deep belly breath that helps to calm your nerves and regulate your blood flow.
-Herbal Remedies and Supplements for Nighttime Anxiety
There are herbal remedies and supplements you can take for nighttime anxiety.
Valerian root comes in forms like tea, gummies, oils, and tinctures, which you can place under your tongue to help with sleep. This is a great supplement to make yourself if you know how to purchase it online and keep it next to your bed. When you wake up at night with anxiety, you can put a few drops under your tongue to help calm your symptoms and go back to bed.
Chamomile is a great herb that you can use for nighttime anxiety, and most people consume it in the form of tea. If you make chamomile tea, avoid putting honey in it before bed so that the sugar doesn’t impact your sleep quality, and make sure that you drink it a few hours before bed so that you’re not disrupted in your sleep having to get up and use the restroom.
Lavender and lemon balm are also great herbal remedies and supplements you can take for nighttime anxiety. If you can get your hands on dried lavender or even fresh lavender, these are things that you can keep in small satchels on your pillow so that when you go to bed your pillow smells calming. You can even put the satchel under your pillow as you sleep.
Overall, there are several natural techniques that are effective ways to calm anxiety attacks. You should explore and implement these strategies to regain control during anxiety episodes, whether they occur at night or during the day. Learning how to calm anxiety attacks at night and learning how to calm down from an anxiety attack during the day with natural techniques can give you the tools you need no matter where you are.