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  • Writer's pictureFika Mental Health

How is Ice a Coping Skill?

Ice is a simple yet effective tool that can help calm us down in moments of stress or anxiety. When we experience stress, our body's natural response is to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause physical symptoms like increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and muscle tension. These symptoms can make us feel even more anxious and overwhelmed, making it difficult to relax and calm down.


Using ice to calm down works by triggering our body's natural "diversion" response. When we apply something cold to our skin, like an ice pack or a cold washcloth, our body's attention is redirected from our thoughts and feelings to the sensation of cold on our skin. This can help us break out of the cycle of stress and anxiety and focus on something else.


Here are a few ways that ice can help calm us down:


1. Reducing muscle tension: When we're stressed or anxious, we tend to hold tension in our muscles, which can lead to stiffness and discomfort. Applying ice to tense muscles can help reduce inflammation and promote relaxation, allowing us to release that tension and feel more comfortable.


2. Slowing down our breathing: Applying ice to our face or neck can trigger the "diversion" response and help slow down our breathing, which can help us feel calmer and more relaxed.


3. Distracting our thoughts: When we're feeling overwhelmed, our thoughts can spiral out of control, making it difficult to focus on anything else. Applying ice to our skin can provide a physical sensation that distracts us from our thoughts and helps us focus on the present moment.


4. Increasing awareness of our body: When we're feeling anxious, we may feel disconnected from our body and our physical sensations. Applying ice to our skin can help us become more aware of our body and our physical sensations, which can help us feel more grounded and centred.


While ice can be a helpful tool for calming down in moments of stress or anxiety, it's important to note that it's not a substitute for professional help if you're struggling with chronic stress or anxiety. If you're experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety or stress, it's important to reach out to a mental health professional for support. Claim your free consult today.

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