1. Ice Dive
Put your face in freezing cold water for 30 seconds. This one is attributed to the creator of DBT, Dr. Linehan. I use this as a last resort because I hate the cold! My version of this is often a hot shower with alternating temperatures from hot to cold every 30 seconds.
2. The Power Pose
When I was in college and suffering from severe anxiety, a therapist taught me this trick.
Find the physical posture that feels uplifting and empowering for you. Even better if it recalls an enjoyable memory. Stay in the pose breathing for as long as it takes for the anxiety to subside.
I have two! The first looks like this: knees bent and arms outstretched and fingers taut. It’s the stance that a setter takes in volleyball and recalls my high school volleyball days way back when. The second is horizontal arms straight out and palms rigid with fingers pointing upwards. I throw my head back and arch my back. It’s something of a dance pose and I can’t hold it for long, but if I breathe in it, I relax.
3. Tense & Release
I’m sure you’ve heard of this trick for sleep, but it works for anxiety too! I can attest to the effectiveness of this one and it’s great because you can do it anywhere.
Tense your toes for 5 seconds. Then release! Repeat for every body part moving upward (foot / calves / knees and so on). Sounds simple but the practice requires just enough focus to divert your attention and help bring you to the present.