Research shows that at any time, over 8 million adults in the UK are experiencing anxiety (1). While there are still many stigmas around mental health, society continues to become more conscious of mental health disorders and create resources for those struggling. One way that a person can help manage their anxiety on their own is by creating an anxiety kit.
What Really is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, unease, or fear.
Although anxiety is categorized as a mental health challenge, it can have physical symptoms and impact a person’s physical health.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety can vary by person but there are some common physical and mental symptoms often seen among people dealing with anxiety. These include:
- Increased feelings of nervousness
- Increased heart rate
- Difficult concentrating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
What is an Anxiety Kit?
An anxiety kit is a set of tools to help a person cope with general anxiety or stressful situations. Anxiety kits can include digital or physical tools. What a person chooses to include in their anxiety kit will vary from person to person. An ideal anxiety kit includes objects that are small and easy to carry around. A comfort object like a blanket is just not realistic to take on the go. Below we will list some of the things that can be included to make a great anxiety kit for on-the-go.
Covering the 5 Senses
Including items that stimulate all five of the senses can help reduce anxiety and distract your body and mind from stressful thoughts. Having all five senses covered helps ensure that both your mental and physical self is turning attention away from anxiety-provoking feelings and towards activities or objects that promote relaxation.
6 Things to Include in Your Anxiety kit
Relax drops are a helpful way to restore a feeling of calm. They provide a feeling of relaxation and are easy to take on the go. Relax drops containing a blend of CBD and medicinal mushrooms are ideal for helping to cope. CBD contains cannabinoids which are believed to be helpful in restoring balance. Functional mushrooms contain compounds that are believed to help with relaxation and balance.
While toys are often thought of as used by children, fidget toys can be a great stress reliever for people of all ages. Fidget toys are a great way to redirect focus from negative thoughts into a mundane task that occupies the hands. Fidget toys can also provide a sense of control to the user, which can reduce anxiety for some people. Depending on a person’s hobbies or interests, crocheting or knitting can be a great alternative to fidget toys.
Smells are closely related to our emotions. Aromatherapy is a type of therapy that uses smells and essential oils to reduce anxiety. When the essential oils are inhaled or applied to the skin, the smell of the oils stimulates the part of the brain called the olfactory system, which is connected to the limbic system - the system responsible for processing emotions and balancing stress levels (2).
Noise Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones are a great inclusion in an anxiety kit because they can both block out outside noises and play music that the listener finds calming. Blocking out outside sounds and commotion can allow a person to have private space to focus, even if they aren't physically able to relocate. Headphones can also be used to play calming music or sounds that encourage relaxation.
Research has shown a linkage between chewing gum and reduced stress levels. A study done by the Journal of Prosthodontic Research found that chewing gum for ten minutes can reduce stress hormone levels in the body (3). Chewing gum can also serve as a physical distraction from negative thoughts or feelings. Chewing gum is easy to acquire and easy to carry, making it an ideal component of an anxiety kit for on-the-go.
Journaling is a great way to process emotions and deal with anxiety. Writing down emotions or incidents that increase stress levels allows a person to process these emotions and notice patterns that trigger anxiety. Journaling can also be a great outlet for sharing burdensome emotions or stressors. In addition to writing out stressors, journaling can be used to create action plans for tackling stress triggers.
Many other anxiety reducing tools can be included in an on-the-go anxiety kit, and preferences may vary from person to person. What are some things you include in your kit that help you destress?