NEWS Mental Health News Here's the Verdict on TikTok’s Most Popular Anxiety Hacks By Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories around health, mental health, medical news, and inspirational people. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 23, 2021 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Daniella Amato Fact checked by Daniella Amato Daniella Amato is a biomedical scientist and fact-checker with expertise in pharmaceuticals and clinical research. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print EyeEm / Getty Images Key Takeaways Tips for anxiety have gotten nearly 40 million views on TikTok.While some anxiety hacks on TikTok can be helpful, others may not be.Talk with your doctor before trying any anxiety hack suggested on social media. As people deal with the stress, anxiety and fear from pandemic and post-pandemic life, many look for advice on social media platforms like the video-sharing company TikTok. To date, #anxietytips has over 39.5 million views on TikTok. But it's important to verify the safety and effectiveness of these techniques before trying them. A Psychiatrist Weighs In “I would advise individuals to consult with their physicians prior to partaking in coping techniques mentioned on social media platforms as each individual has a disparate story and diagnosis and may not benefit from or may respond poorly to the recommended technique,” Leela R. Magavi, MD, psychiatrist and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry, tells Verywell. For example, Magavi recalls a patient of hers who learned about the plant extract kava on an Instagram story. The woman began ingesting kava on a daily basis to help with stress relief. “I ordered her labs to check a few important levels and found that her liver enzymes were significantly high. Kava caused significant hepatotoxicity [liver damage], and I advised her to discontinue this herbal supplement right away,” says Magavi. Another concerning result of following medical advice on social media is if the recommendation doesn’t work, people can experience hopelessness and demoralization. “It is important for treatment and coping skills to be individualized,” Magavi says. What You Can Do to Cope With Anxiety Top Anxiety Hacks on TikTok Given the popularity of TikTok, we break down some of the most viewed hacks for relieving anxiety. Note from a Psychiatrist I would advise individuals to consult with their physicians prior to partaking in coping techniques mentioned on social media platforms as each individual has a disparate story and diagnosis and may not benefit from or may respond poorly to the recommended technique. - Leela R. Magavi, MD Putting Salt on Your Tongue—1.5M views @ericbzink This hack suggests you put salt on your tongue as soon as you have an anxiety attack to divert your attention away from your attack and force you to drink water. “This trick could be extremely effective in stopping a sudden anxiety attack and can engage your senses to help ground you, as your focus will be on the taste rather than what you are panicking about,” Stephanie Taylor, founder and wellbeing expert at StressNoMore, tells Verywell. However, “some individuals experience shortness of breath and coughing episodes when anxious due to increased acid production," says Magavi. "This hack could potentially trigger general discomfort." Relaxing your Tongue—553.3K likes @nahala_oaks One TikTok user recommends removing your tongue from the top of your mouth and holding it still in order to stop ruminating thoughts and calm your mind. Leela R. Magavi, MD Relaxing your tongue could redirect focus from the amygdala, the fear center of the brain, to the motor cortex, and thereby, assuage anxiety. — Leela R. Magavi, MD Taylor agrees, adding that tiny movements in the tongue prevent internal dialogue, which for people with anxiety can be troublesome. “By simply relaxing the tongue, you can stop the brain from producing internal dialogue and make way for a clearer mind,” she says. Using Bath Crayons—476.3K likes @notgotenoughgf Many people find taking a bath calming, and one user says coloring her bath and bath walls (with special crayons that clean off easily) helps calm her even more. “This is a great way to relieve stress and unwind. According to research, coloring reduces anxiety by refocusing our attention, while another study found routine bathing was beneficial for people who suffered from anxiety. So, it combines the best of both worlds,” says Taylor. Magavi points out that this activity may bolster happiness and calming sensation for people who enjoy art and creative ventures. “However, some individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder could experience discomfort and distress with this coping skill,” she says. Applying Sensory Rings—123.6K likes @greyyyy TikTok users are toting small spiked wire rings as an effective way of relieving anxiety when they are rolled up and down the finger. Magavi agrees that sensory rings could decrease focus on worries because of their colors and the sensations they provide, however, she says make sure they are comfortable. “I would recommend against wearing rings that pierce or irritate the skin as this could potentially lead to unhealthy, self-injurious behavior,” she says. Kim Norwak, LCSW Engaging your senses is an effective way to bring you back to the present moment, and distract you from anxiety-inducing thoughts like, 'how long will I feel this way?' or 'what if this doesn’t end?' — Kim Norwak, LCSW Kim Nowak, LCSW, lead therapist at Rogers Behavioral Health, explains that the ring approach is part of a DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) distress tolerance skill called TIPP, which stands for tip the temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, and paired muscle relaxation. She teaches clients distress tolerance skills to self-soothe with senses during an acute panic attack. Another grounding skill Nowak teaches clients is what she refers to as 5-4-3-2-1. When feeling anxious, she encourages them to focus on the following: 5 things you see4 things you feel3 things you hear2 things you smell1 thing you taste “Again, this helps someone in an acute panic attack to come back to the present moment, instead of catastrophizing about the future," Nowak tells Verywell. She advises clients who struggle with panic or who turn to unhelpful behaviors to cope with panic to have a small crisis kit on hand. "This might include items like hot hands or an ice pack for temperature, mints for taste, a smelly lotion, and some sort of fidget,” says Nowak. Holding Ice in Your Hands—146.1K likes @loriwheeler Holding ice to distract yourself and suppress feelings of anxiety is another trick shared on TikTok. Nowak says this is also a distress tolerance skill. “These are skills to use when in crisis. I teach my clients that if their anxiety (or urges) are so intense that they’re near panic attack, something like this is a good alternative to a maladaptive coping skill, such as using drugs or alcohol,” she says. However, she points out that this type of coping skill shouldn’t be used for daily anxiety. “It’s better to let your brain learn it can sit with some anxiety, and it will eventually go down on its own,” says Nowak. Rather than holding the ice still in your hands, Magavi suggests wrapping the ice in a towel to avoid irritating the skin. “Temperature changes could help individuals experience a sense of peace. Usually, individuals prefer heat and weighted blankets, but I have evaluated patients who prefer cooling techniques,” Magavi notes. Social Anxiety and Depression Linked to Dating App Usage, Study Finds Know When to Get Professional Help While some TikTok hacks can help calm symptoms of anxiety, Nowak suggests asking a mental health professional before trying any of them. If you are told they are safe to try, she suggests trying them when you are not in distress, so you know what brings down your anxiety before you’re in crisis. “For example, what if cold actually makes you more anxious? I urge all my clients to practice skills in a regular state of mind, so they can easily access the helpful ones when they need them,” says Nowak. What This Means For You As you look for ways to manage your anxiety, turning to social media platforms can be helpful for advice. However, checking with your doctor before trying any suggestions is the best way to ensure your safety and that you won’t be let down by ineffective hacks. Yoga Can Help with Anxiety More Than Stress Education, Study Finds 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Curry NA, Kasser T. Can coloring mandalas reduce anxiety?. Art Therapy. 2005;22(2):81-85. Goto Y, Hayasaka S, Kurihara S, Nakamura Y. Physical and mental effects of bathing: A randomized intervention study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:1-5. doi:10.1155/2018/9521086 By Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories around health, mental health, medical news, and inspirational people. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.