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Build Your Own Stress & Anxiety Tool Kit

Updated: Jan 6

A stress and anxiety relief kit is a collection of physical objects, reminders, or activities that help you stay grounded and calm when you are experiencing anxiety, panic, or stress.

When thinking of items for your tool kit to relieve anxiety, think about the two main categories of response:


Hyper-arousal (fight or flight response) is when you are over-activated (panic, anxiety, racing thoughts, anger, defensive, evading, or sabotaging), so try to think of things that will calm you down.


&


Hypo-arousal (freeze response) is when your body shuts down (emotional numbness, emptiness, paralysis, detachment, physical shutdown, or not eating), so things that will activate your body will help.


✨ Calming Objects For Your Anxiety Tool Kit


What Can You Hear?


Soothing Music - or calming nature sounds, create a playlist of your favourite songs for your phone and get yourself some eco friendly ear buds like these from House of Marley.

Audiobooks – get on Audible, they have a great selection of audiobooks for soothing anxiety, some funny, some relaxing, and some psycho educational, click here for some you may like.

Ear Plugs - in noisy environments can you feel over-activated or anxious? Blocking out that sound with earplugs can help calm you down. Earplugs from Flare Audio, Vibes, Loop and Knops , unlike average ear plugs, actually allow you to hear whilst filtering out stressful, traumatic, and loud sounds.

Tingsha Tibetan Hand Cymbals - a traditional Tibetan sound instruments that promotes health, effective for healing, meditation, and relaxation through sound therapy, and the Tibetan mantra's powerful invocation. Find out how to use Tingsha Cymbals here.


What Can You Smell?


Burning Frankincense - (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. Get yourself a small incense resin burner from The Smudge Stick Shop based in Brighton here.

Essential Oils lavender to relax the nervous system, rose to relieve symptoms of anxiety & panic attacks, chamomile to relieve over thinking & worry, frankincense to relieve stress & calm the mind, bergamot to relieve agitation while improving energy levels and jasmine to relieve anxiety & lift your mood. Find out more about essential oils from Neal's Yard here.

Wool Felt Diffuser Balls - a few drops of your favourite essential oil onto wool felt balls, choose your own feel good colours, and pop them into your tool kit or bag, you could also string them together and tie to something. The Wool Felt Company has a fab selection here.

Essential Oil Necklace – drops of your favourite essential oil (calming or stimulating) dropped onto a bead of porous black lava, it sits inside a decorative locket, wear it around your neck, or place in your anxiety tool kit. Click here for the one I often wear in my practice room from Eco Octopus based in Shoreham by Sea.


What Can You Taste?


Snack Box - pack a small container of snacks with anxiety reducing properties, practice mindfulness whilst you nibble, focus on taste, texture and chewing or sucking slowly; Blueberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Almond nuts which contain ample amounts of magnesium, another anxiety contender. Chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, is naturally high in iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and neurochemicals that play a role in the regulation of mood and depression, as well as antioxidants that help fight inflammation, which may also factor into depression. Visit The Raw Chocolate Company for chocolate with soul here.

Sweets or Hard Candies - for anxiety, really? Yes, sucking a sweet or candy you can practice mindfulness, focus on the taste, the feel with your tongue and the slow sucking motion. If you have social anxiety, your may experience a dry throat, a honey candy helps. Try to opt for a healthy option; sugar free original 'Ricola' swiss herbal drops have an aromatic taste and are renowned for their soothing properties.

Water Bottle get hydrated, water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely because of addressing dehydration's effects on the body and brain. Drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Here’s a great small reusable bottle by Chilly to slip into your tool kit or bag.

Herbal Tea Envelopes – a selection of your favourite herbal tea sachets: chamomile for calm and stress soothing, lavender for mood stabilizing effects, peppermint for reducing feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue, and green tea for reducing anxiety. I love Tea Pigs stressed selection, take a look here.


What Can You See?


Adult Activity Book - a fantastic mindfulness book by Dr Gareth Moore, containing over 120 puzzles, such as mazes, dot to dots, spot the difference and sudoku as well as lot's of inspiring and relaxing colouring pages, pick up this book, take up a creative challenge, and feel calmer. Get your copy of The Adult Activity Book here.

Affirmation Cards - affirmations are positive statements that help to rewire unhelpful thought processes and develop new, beneficial ways of thinking so personal growth and healing can take place. You can write you own notes, a letter, or purchase some beautiful packs of cards from the mindfulness stationer Faye Co Papier here.

Colour Pencils - a small set of brightly coloured pencils, small enough to fit in your anxiety kit, use them for art therapy, drawing your thought's in a journal or writing your feelings, this focus is grounding and calming. Find a lovely eco friendly set of 12 colourful creatures colouring pencils in a small tube by Rex London here.

A Journal - this can be a note pad or 'The Wellbeing Journal', developed in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, each page of this gorgeous journal has been thoughtfully crafted and it includes activities, drawing prompts, contemplative quotes and lots of space for you to write about your own thoughts, feelings and experiences, find it here.


What Can You Feel?


Beaded Bracelet - beads on bracelets are great for keeping your fingers busy when you're feeling anxious, roll the beads between finger and thumb, breath, count the beads, focus on the feel helps to calm your mind. Click here for a bracelet made from 'tourmaline', the earth element stone that, according to Native American shop Two Feathers in Brighton 'resonates with the root chakra, it is an earth element stone for protection and grounding. It helps with anxiety and encourages you to slow down and take control of your life.'

Mouldable Aromatherapy Dough - calm by AirDoh Infusions, this amazing dough with essential oils combines play therapy, colour therapy and aromatherapy, you can mould it to create whatever you want, as you mould the specifically selected essential are vaporised, and inhaled. Playing with the dough is grounding and promotes peace and calmness. You can purchase yours from Spiffy the happiness shop here.

Breathing Board - wooden, or paper, as you trace the shape with your finger one way you inhale, and the other way you exhale, you're engaging your senses to ground you, and doing a breathing exercise. When we experience anxiety or stress our body interprets it as though we are in physical danger. When we breathe deeply, we are able to counteract the natural physical stress response and help our body and brain to realize there is no physical danger and we can relax. The Little Coach House make a gorgeous wooden breathing board here.

A Snapp Band - based on the 'Rubber Band Technique', a cognitive, behavioural and aversion therapy technique, in which you wear an elasticated band around your wrist and give it a 'ping' (enough to feel it but not to leave a mark) every time you have intrusive, anxious, or negative thoughts; this grounds you, and 'snaps' you back to present moment. When you 'ping', remember to breath, and say an affirmation in your head, for example; 'Cancel that negative thought' and 'I believe in myself'.


Any elastic band will do, but if the stationary look isn't for you, get one by Snapp Band here.


✨I Hope you like my anxiety kit ideas, what will you put in yours?


It's important to note that all of the objects above are not 'treatments', and not an alternative to Psychotherapy.


If you would like to book Psychotherapy sessions with me please click here.


Eve Houseman MBACP

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