Home » Anxiety » Blogs » Anxiety and OCD Exposed » 4 Ways to Calm Down using Water and Ice

4 Ways to Calm Down using Water and Ice

glass of waterWe all get upset from time to time. And sometimes, we let things roll off our backs. Other times, especially when we’re overtired, stressed, or vulnerable – it’s not so easy. Here are three examples.

Maybe you’re feeling a bit stressed and someone says, “Those are interesting shoes.”

Pretty benign comment right, but the shoes you are wearing are sort of weird and you’re feeling a bit off. So whether or not the comment was meant to be positive or neutral, suddenly you’re filled with feelings about your now ugly shoes. You might spend the rest of the day trying to hide your feet from others and you’re distracted with thoughts about what sorts of shoes would be “less interesting.”

Perhaps you are basically doing okay financially (how lucky is that?) but you got your property tax bill which went up but your house value went down; the same day you got your electric bill and your rate has skyrocketed, and the stock market just seems to be spiraling down, out of control. Well, maybe that one day your mind fills with thoughts about eventually running out of money, then losing your house, and possibly affording a studio apartment, or maybe nothing at all and you’ll be sleeping on the street begging to work for food.

Another day could start out just fine until you open the paper and read about the 3 people who have died eating cantaloupes. Just last week you had cantaloupe. You start to search where the cantaloupes came from and realized it was your area. It’s possible that you could have eaten one of those cantaloupes. Symptoms include headache, muscle aches, and diarrhea. You’re starting to feel a bit sick. Could these symptoms be the sign of something horrible? Should you call the doctor or go to the ER?

Okay, three examples of people taking a bit of information that starts out pretty neutral and takes it to the extreme. They begin a negative spiral of thoughts and end up feeling pretty bad-either anxious or depressed. Well, since most people don’t have a therapist following them around to help them rethink negative thoughts here are a few suggestions simply using water to calm yourself down.

  • Get a glass of very cold water. Sit in a quiet area and drink it slowly. Think of past good times.
  • Go to a sink and rinse your hands and wrists with warm water think of this as a bit of a purification ceremony. Let your worries run down the drain.
  • Take an ice cube and rub it on your wrist or hand. If someone asks you what you are doing, you can say you’ve hurt yourself (which is true, you hurt yourself with your negative thoughts).
  • When emotions are really out of control, use lots of ice. Don’t do this one in public, but it works. Fill a bowl of water and ice. Put your face in the bowl. This will calm you down—come up when you need to breathe, but repeat until you feel better. For those who wear mascara, be sure to wash your face after this one!

Photo by J E Theriot, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

4 Ways to Calm Down using Water and Ice

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D.

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as personality disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and learning disorders. Dr. Smith is a widely published author of articles and books to the profession and the public, including: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2E), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth, and Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be? Her website is:

One comment: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Smith, L. (2011). 4 Ways to Calm Down using Water and Ice. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Sep 2011
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.