As we inch towards lockdown liberation, we can’t help but reflect on what a completely wild year it’s been.
From the pandemic to a heavy news cycle, it’s no wonder our anxiety and stress levels have risen. In fact, a recent survey found that a third of people felt overly anxious during the UK’s third lockdown, while a separate study said that 42% of people had symptoms of anxiety now compared to 11% the previous year.
“If you suffer from anxiety, or have gotten used to a quiet lockdown life, new changes to the rules and being introduced back into social situations could be triggering,” Stephanie Taylor, founder and wellbeing expert at StressNoMore says.
Obviously if you are suffering from anxiety, it’s advisable to seek medical advice but some of the TikTok hacks might help you feel a little calmer and less stressed. Below, Stephanie gives her verdict on some of the most-watched anxiety hacks on the app.
Putting salt on your tongue – @ericbzink
How to do it: Put a small amount of salt on your tongue to divert your attention away from your anxiety and to force you drink water.
Stephanie’s verdict: “This trick could be extremely effective in stopping a sudden anxiety attack and can engage your senses to help ground you as your focus will be on the taste rather than what you are panicking about. However, too much salt can cause you to feel nauseous, be sick and if done too often you could end up with high blood pressure.”
Relaxing your tongue – @nahala_oaks
How to do it: Simply remove your tongue from the top of your mouth and keep it still to silence internal dialogue.
Stephanie’s verdict: “Subvocalisation is caused by the tongue acting as a cognitive tool to influence inner speech. That’s because the tiny movements in the tongue work by saying the words of internal dialogue, which for people with anxiety can be troublesome. By simply relaxing the tongue you can stop the brain from producing internal dialogue and make way for a clearer mind.”
Using bath crayons – @notgotenoughgf
How to do it: Forget colouring in books, by bathtub crayons instead.
Stephanie’s verdict: “This is a great way to relieve stress and unwind. According to research, colouring reduces anxiety by refocusing our attention, while another study found routine bathing was beneficial for people who suffered from anxiety. So, it combines the best of both worlds. Make sure to use bath crayons only, which will clean off easily once you’re done.”
Sensory rings – @greyyyy
How to do it: TikTok users are wearing small spiked wire rings they claim relieves anxiety when rolled up and down the finger.
Stephanie’s verdict: “Applying these rings not only distracts your mind when you’re feeling anxious, but they’re designed to put pressure on the nerves in your fingers to provide tactile stimulation. Plus, they’re only small, so easy to carry around!”
Holding ice in your hands – @loriwheeler
How to do it: Hold ice in your hands to help calm anxiety.
Stephanie’s verdict: “This tip is such an effective way for calming your mind when you’re feeling anxious/having an anxiety attack as it tricks the mind to re-focus on the feeling in your hands. According to psychologists, this technique will divert your attention away from the attack and the discomfort will help to de-escalate your symptoms. However, rather than holding the ice still, try and pass the ice between your hands to avoid it getting stuck to the skin and try running your hands under hot/cold water.”
Stephanie adds that, if you are feeling anxious, remember that you are not alone.
“It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed as the world returns to normal. While these TikTok hacks can be effective to calm symptoms of anxiety, they do not address the causes or stop symptoms completely.
“If you’re experiencing chronic anxiety such as difficulty concentrating, restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance or muscle tension – seek medical help from your GP, private health provider or a trained counsellor. Mental health charities such as Mind and Anxiety UK also offer confidential emotional support and advice for people tackling anxiety, as well as the Samaritans who run a free 24-hour helpline.”