This will sound totally obvious, but the best way to combat anxiety is to calm down. Of course, it’s also pretty clear for most narcissistic abuse survivors that this is far easier said than done.
But good news: over the next month, I’m sharing all of my best tips and ideas to help you start to do that.
We discussed breathing exercises recently, but the problem with breathing exercises is that when you’re already very anxious, it can be hard to make yourself calm down enough to try them, or to find both the willpower and concentration to make it happen.
This is when a calm down ritual will come in handy.
Your ritual can be as short or involved as you need it to be. It could simply be a short mantra that you repeat in your head while doing some breathing exercises until you’ve calmed down. Or it could be as involved as getting home, lighting a candle with a calming scent, fixing a cup of herbal tea, and listening to soft music while you sip it sitting in your favorite chair, covered by a weighted blanket. It all depends on what will work for you and what you can fit into your life.
Ideally, you want a simple ritual that you can do anytime, anywhere. Focusing on breathing and meditation techniques, going for a quick walk, or listening to music or a guided meditation on your phone will all work well for these situations.
While this works well for some of us at least some of the time, it isn’t always enough. Sometimes you need something more involved and to be in a space where you feel safe (like your home), to truly calm down and get rid of the anxiety. In those cases, do your best to make it through the day, by thinking about the fact that you can get started with your ritual the minute you walk in the door.
Now it’s your turn.
- Think about some of the things you do already that help you calm down and reduce anxiety.
- Add a few other things to the list that you’ve been meaning to try, like using essential oils, a hot bath in Epsom salt, or a new meditation technique or yoga pose for example.
- Make a short list and then see if you can come up with two different types of rituals.
- One should be short and mobile, the other a little more involved but helpful when you feel particularly anxious or stressed.
- Try them out, and if they work well for you, practice them regularly, so they become an actual ritual and your default solution when you’re feeling stressed.
- If something doesn’t work, or doesn’t quite feel right, keep changing and tweaking until it does. Remember, this is your ritual and the only person it has to work for is you.
Here are some tips for using simple NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques to help you get and stay calm in the moment.