#1. When you're running late
This seems like a super-frustrating sitch that you have no control over—which, TBH, it kind of is—but it's not so bad! "Your own thoughts, like 'This traffic is endless' or 'My boss will flip', often cause stress," says Greta Hirsch, PhD, Clinical Director of the Ross Center for Anxiety.
Try this: Drown out negative messages by listening to a playlist you find engrossing. Better still: sing along. "When we use ourvocal cords, it sends a signal to our brain that we're okay," says Kelli Walker, RN, a Panic and Anxiety Coach.
#2. When you Can't Sleep
Don't look at the clock! Watching minutestick by creates the opposite physical response (a rush of adrenaline and cortisol, rapid heart beat, and sweating) of the relaxation you need to doze off, Hirsch says. Also, don't grab your phone or Kindle. "Screens cue our brains to get up and get moving," says Walker.
Try this: Instead of fighting it, accept that you're not sleeping but you are resting, and meditate on how awesome that is. Suggests Hirsch: "Take deep breaths as you repeat thoughts like 'My bed is delicious', 'I love the feel of my blanket', 'It's quiet'."
#3. When you're in a spat
Fights with a BF or BFF can easily escalate from mildly distracting to all-consuming since our instinct is to over-analyse. "Don't equate not calling with not caring—maybe he's in a meeting, maybe she's sleeping in," says Hirsch.
Try this: Assign a specific worry window. "Take a walk with a coworker, and make that the 15 minutes when you focus on the issue," Hirsch suggests. "Then, that's it." Not only does activity expend energy, but a scenery change helps you associate your desk with work time.
#4. When you're nervous
When your hands are shaking before an interview or your heart is racing pre-first date, remember that anxiety isn't just normal in these situations, it's good. "Anxiety motivates us," says Hirsch. "Otherwise, we wouldn't prepare; we'd show up in gym clothes."
Try this: Literally chill out: for a few minutes, dip your hands in cold water or hold a cool drink on your tongue. "This triggers the vagus nerve, which signals the body to calm down," says Walker. Now, go crush it.