Looking at This Viral GIF Could Be the Perfect Way to Cope With an Anxiety Attack

Sometimes the smallest things in a person’s day can make all the difference in boosting happiness and quieting stress. That parcel of relaxation came in the form of a simple GIF that began trending this week but has been around the Internet since at least 2014, which asks viewers to breathe to the rhythm of the image’s movement, an exercise that could help lower stress levels, according to research into stress management.

The GIF, which begins as a simple line, quickly unfolds into a triangle, then a square, and finally ends its series of patterns as a full-fledged octagon before returning to its original form. The accompanying caption reads, “If you have anxiety, take deep breaths in sync with this.”


The entire loop takes just eight seconds, but it seems to have a lasting effect on many viewers who took to Twitter to share the GIF’s calming effects:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports anxiety is a prevalent disorder that goes commonly underdiagnosed and improperly treated. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates the number of Americans 18 and older living with anxiety to be 40 million, or about 18% of the entire population.

As Time reports, a variety of factors can increase anxiety among young people, a group that continues to have higher stress levels compared to other age groups, citing financial problems and relationship angst as some of the biggest causes. Anxiety, or the feeling of concern or apprehension caused from mental, physical or perceived stress, can be treated with a number of techniques, and breathing exercises being one of the most popular.

As AnxietyBC notes, “calm breathing,” or the method of slow breathing with a focus on expanding and contracting the diaphragm, is a common tool many people with anxiety use throughout the day to relieve themselves from the discomfort brought on by anxiety.

People who find themselves facing a great deal of stress or anxiety throughout the day can try following the GIF’s simple message and slow down. Here are some other GIFs that could ease symptoms of anxiety:


Photo: Pond5

Cats, Kardashians, cartoon memes — our love of GIFs runs far and deep. And who can blame us? They’re mesmerizing and seem to have direct access to the emotional center (and the funny bone) of our brains.

But now, GIFs are playing a surprising role as a relaxation tool.

RELATED: How to Get Good at Stress (And Make It Work in Your Favor)

Whether your suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or are just stressed to the point that you feel out of control, you now have a new way to calm down. The just-can’t-turn-away power of these pint-size animations may be exactly what you need to focus on your breath and relax your mind. And they can even teach you a thing or two about how to inhale and exhale and combat stress.

But First… Your Body on Stress

How can just a few deep breaths make a difference? When you’re stressed or on the verge of a panic attack, your body responds as if it’s being attacked. Your heart pounds. You breathe faster. Adrenaline courses through your veins. According to Dr. Robert Duff, a Southern California-based psychologist and author of the Hardcore Self Help book series, your sympathetic nervous system boosts into overdrive even though you’re not in physical danger.

RELATED: Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts?

To undo this effect, you need your parasympathetic nervous system. “It reverses the actions of and brings you down a few notches. It cleans up the mess,” says Dr. Duff. The best way to kick the relaxation mechanism into gear? Deep breathing.

“Breathing deeply is fundamentally incompatible with physical anxiety,” he says. “When you breathe deeply, you take in more oxygen. It brings down your heart rate and calms down everything in your body.”

Breathing techniques are also the cornerstone of meditation practices. “It’s something that you’re already doing during the day,” says Lodro Rinzler, author, Chief Spirituality Officer of MNDFL, a meditation studio in New York City, and meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. “When we learn to be present with the breath, we learn to be more present throughout the entire day, when it’s good and when it’s bad. You’re training your mind to stay with that feeling rather than getting frazzled by it.”

Next Up… Take a Deep Breath

Inhale. Exhale. Sounds easy enough, right? Not quite.

“The relaxation response — that feeling of breathing deeply and then your body following suit and slowing down — that response takes practice,” says Dr. Duff. “Practice deep breathing when you’re not stressed,” he says. “If the first time you try it is when you’re already having a panic attack, you’re going to wonder why it’s not working. And you’ll get more stressed about it.”

RELATED: The Stress Hormone That’s Messing With Your Diet

Dr. Duff recommends practicing for a few minutes three times a week when you’re calm. Try a few different techniques to find the one that works best for you. One simple technique that Rinzler recommends is breathing in through the nose for a count of three and exhaling out the mouth for a count of three. Dr. Duff also likes a number-based technique — inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of seven and exhale to a count of eight.

Or… Cue These 4 GIFs

If you’re having trouble getting started or staying focused, a breathing GIF may help. (And yes, there’s an app for that, too.) Here are four relaxation-inducing GIFs to help you dial down the tension with breathing exercises.

Photo: Tumblr

1. Get guided.
While breathing is something our bodies do automatically, practicing how to breathe can be anxiety-inducing. “It’s stressful to think you have to learn this new skill and you have to know how to do it on your own,” says Dr. Duff. “It’s almost like homework.” And let’s face it, homework is basically synonymous with stress!

To help you have greater control over your breathing, this GIF acts like a visual how-to guide and makes it easier to learn the technique. “It’s passive learning and you can just reap the benefits of it,” he says.

GIF: Tumblr

2. Count your breaths.
One of the most basic breathing practices is to count your inhalations and exhalations. You just count. And for many, that simple act allows your body to begin to relax. “You’re focusing on the numbers and for a lot of people, that gets them out of their head,” says Dr. Duff. As a result, you’re less apt to worry about whether you’re doing it wrong or if it’s working. Follow the pattern in the GIF – inhale to a count of 7 and exhale to a count of 11. Or try something as simple as inhaling and exhaling, both to a count of four.

RELATED: The 8 Best Apps for Guided Meditation

GIF: Imgur

3. Create a visual mantra.
Aside from guiding you through breathing techniques, GIFs can also help reinforce your new healthy habit. “It builds an association with a specific image. It’s like a visual mantra,” says Dr. Duff. “If you practice with one, you start to build that memory in your body over time.” Cue up one of these images when you’re feeling overwhelmed and your body will know it’s time to chill out.

GIF: Tumblr

4. Get hypnotized.
It’s hard not to relax when you look at this infinity circle going around and around and around. By giving you something spellbinding to focus on, images like this are another way to silence the monkey mind.

The Limitation GIPHY Breathing Exercises

While technology makes it convenient to have these relaxation GIFs right at our fingertips, Rinzler reminds us these are just tools. “If it helps stabilize an experience, great. But I don’t want people to rely on technology to be able to ,” he says.

“If you find you have to use all the time, it might mean it’s time to look a little deeper. Maybe it’s time to get some counseling, go to a group or talk to somebody about why this is coming up so frequently for you and address the source,” says Dr. Duff. “Just in the same way you wouldn’t want to take pain medication without addressing why you’re in pain, you don’t want to do that with coping mechanisms either.”

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Use This GIF to Calm Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Dr Matt LewisFollow Sep 20, 2016 · 3 min read

If you’re feeling very anxious or having a panic attack the first thing to know is that you’re going to be okay. It may feel awful, as if you’re going to lose control, or even die, but you’re not, everything is going to be okay.

Understand it’s only a feeling. So it’s important to try to recognise you are anxious or having a panic attack and nothing more. This will ensure you don’t add fuel to the flames.

We’re going to do an exercise called Deep Abdominal Breathing. This is effective because when having a panic attack many of the symptoms we experience are related to hyperventilation — which is fast and shallow breathing. When we go into hyperventilation, we breathe out carbon dioxide too quickly, resulting in low levels of it in the body. This is identified immediately by the amygdala and triggers a highly reactive response. This is why people who are having a panic attack are advised to breathe into a paper bag; the bag will capture the expelled carbon dioxide, allowing it to be inhaled back into the bloodstream.

However, by using conscious deep breathing we can relax the amygdala and prevent hyperventilation, or bring it under control after it has been triggered. Deep breathing will also help to switch our body from the aggressive fight or flight sympathetic nervous system to the much calmer parasympathetic nervous system.

Step 1

Sit as comfortable as you possibly can, placing one hand on the chest and one hand on the stomach. If you’re unable to sit down you can still do this exercises standing up.

Take a deep breath in and see which part of your body rises — do it now. People often find that their chest rises as they breathe in. However, effective abdominal breathing will cause your stomach to expand as you inhale and retract as you exhale. Your chest shouldn’t move much at all.

So now try to focus on breathing deeply in a way that expands your stomach as you fill your lungs with air. Breathe in — You should feel your stomach rising underneath your hand when you breathe in. Many people tend to pull their stomachs in as they inhale, which keeps the diaphragm from expanding downward effectively. So focus your attention on your stomach rising as you inhale.

Step 2

Then, following the GIF above — Breathe in deeply for 1 and 2 hold and breathe out slowly for 1, 2 3, 4, 5. Keep repeating until you calm down.

Now I want you to bring your attention away from your breathing and become aware of your surroundings, the sounds around, the sights, even the smells. The feel of your feet against the floor.

You can find an audio version of this exercise on Soundcloud or Youtube

If you found this article helpful and want to more detailed instructions and further exercises, they are available in: Overcome Anxiety: A Self Help Toolkit for Anxiety Relief and Panic Attacks, available from Amazon in the USA and U.K.

My Online Course: Overcome Anxiety and Panic Attacks — A Self Help Workbook Course for Anxiety Relief and Panic Attacks is available at a discounted price on Udemy by using

20 of the Best Wine Gifs & Memes on the Internet

The internet is a wonderful place and has many important and useful applications. Of course, one of the most important is being able to look at funny pictures and videos of just about anything, and wine isn’t exempt from that!

If you’re looking to waste a little time at home or work, then these memes and gifs will help you do just that, and you may well fancy a glass if wine afterwards, too!

1. Let’s get you home buddy

We’ve all had friends like ‘Frank’ on a night out and had to make sure they get home OK. And sometimes many of us have actually been Frank.

2. The wine diet

Definitely our favourite kind of diet! Although we don’t seem to be losing any weight, which is odd.

3. More wine!

Game of Thrones’ Cersei Lannister is most definitely a woman after our own hearts.

4. A glass of wine a day…

Good, hearty medical advice that you probably should ignore in all honesty!

5. The grape depression

For the more intellectual wine lover who’s still prone to having a sore head the following day.

6. Cooking with wine

It makes the food taste better!

7. Never drinking again

After every single night out! We think practically everyone has been in this situation at some point or another.

8. Ode to wine

Like Shakespeare, Keats and Whitman rolled into one.

9. The wine workout

We definitely think that it counts. Our favourite type of exercise.

10. Save water, drink wine

Wise words to live by, especially during hot weather in the summer.

11. It’s called a tasting and it’s classy

Randy Marsh from South Park knows what he’s talking about. We have wine tastings here at Calais Wine too, so you can try before you buy.

12. Now that’s a ‘water’ cooler

Can we get one of these for the Calais Wine office please? No? Oh, OK.

13. Wine enthusiast

Well if that’s the case then we’re definitely all wine enthusiasts!

14. Who wants wine?

Every Friday afternoon after a hard week at work.

15. Kids are expensive!

We can imagine a fair few parents will be able to relate to this. Go on, you deserve a glass.

16. Doing housework right

The only way to do housework. Although, it might end up being counterproductive if you spill any.

17. Pessimist or optimist?

Are you a pessimist or optimist? Apparently it doesn’t matter; you still need more wine!

18. Novinophobia

Terrifying! Scarier than spiders, snakes or any horror film. Never let yourself be in this situation.

19. What a waste

Serves her right for risking spilling such precious wine.

20. Wine sale

This always fills us with such joy. You’ll just have to buy the big bottle instead! Check out the amazing prices on our wine and you’ll be fist-pumping as well.

This Magical GIF Could Be the Only De-stressing Tool You Need

GIFs are wonderful things. They bring us moments from our favorite TV shows and movies as well as bite-sized clips of internet animals that can flip your mood from sad to smiley in seconds. But when we say that this GIF can erase your anxiety in just moments, we’re not talking about that one of Amy Schumer with a giant wine glass or the Meghan McCarthy Bridesmaids scene with all the puppies.

It apparently popped up on Reddit (as most Internet gems do), and anxiety sufferers have been swearing it by it for its instant calming effect. It’s pretty basic: It works by slowing down your breath, according to Dr. Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist and author of 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, who spoke with Mother Nature Network.

When your internal “fight or flight” switch is activated and your body is on high alert, certain slow breathing practices can help bring you back to a baseline excitement level, says Patricia Gerbarg, M.D., co-author of The Healing Power of the Breath. She also says slow breathing can activate the counter-balancing parasympathetic nervous system (which slows the heart rate, restores energy, reduces inflammation, and sends messages to your body and brain that it can relax). So go ahead and breathe with the shapes for a few seconds and feel your body respond in an amazing way. (Then try these other 3 Breathing Techniques for Dealing with Anxiety, Stress, and Low Energy.)

Anxiety is more common than you might realize-the National Institute of Mental Health reports that almost a third of Americans suffer from anxiety at some point in their lifetime. (See how this one woman used social media to shed light on how common panic attacks are too.) But even if you’re not diagnosed with anxiety, keeping this GIF on hand for a little help in a stressful moment isn’t such a bad idea. (And neither are these eight other calm-down-quick strategies.)

And in case those shapes just didn’t do it for you, we’ll just leave this here.

Image zoom

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

Ubisoft announces GIF contest for Rainbow is Magic Event

Ubisoft has announced a GIF contest alongside the new Rainbow is Magic event, which will be open from April 1 to April 8‒the same days the event will be live. In the news post, Ubisoft also detailed how to enter the contest.

Contestants must make a GIF with two themes in mind: Magic and Tacticute. Contestants should also watermark their GIF entry, or attach their name to the GIF in some way, per Ubisoft’s guidelines. Fans can submit their GIFs via social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtags #R6GIFContest and #RainbowIsMagic. If you don’t, your entry may not be seen by Ubisoft.

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So, what’s your reward for your magical GIFs? The 10 selected winners will receive the full Rainbow is Magic cosmetic collection, which is otherwise bought with R6 Credits, or grinded out through challenges. Winners will be decided by whether they followed the required themes, how creative each contestant is with their GIFs, and their GIFs originality, according to Ubisoft. Each winner will be notified via the social media account they used to post their GIFs.

Again, it’s great to see Ubisoft engage their community in new and unique forms. While it may just be a GIF contest, this shows that Ubisoft is looking for new ways to approach Siege and its community of players. We would come up with something humorous, or magical, to wish contestants luck, but Ubisoft has already crafted the most fitting well-wish by signing off with, “May you all be blessed by the Unicorn Lord Tachanka in your GIF creative endeavors.”

Here Are Some Calming GIFs To Soothe Your US Election Anxiety

By now, you’d be well aware that the new President-elect of the United States is Donald Trump. The world is reacting in myriad ways: some are elated, some terrified, some confused, upset or relieved. But for those of you struggling with what people are calling ‘election stress disorder’ and finding the whole thing a bit much, we’ve rounded up a few GIFs that might help.

When we’re stressed, one of the ways our body reacts is by shallow breathing. When we’re not getting enough oxygen to our lungs, we can feel tense, agitated – and for many of us – it can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, which we clearly want to avoid. One way to do that is by taking a few deep breaths.

Deep breathing is something scientists at Harvard Medical School (among many, many others) have recommended. Why? Getting more oxygen to your lungs will calm your heart rate, stabilise blood pressure and relax your racing mind.

Calming GIFs have taken off this year, so we’ve put together a list of a couple we found particularly soothing for election anxiety. It’s going to be alright, guys. We hope.

#1 The delighful parcel of relaxation

This GIF is said to help soothe symptoms of anxiety in minutes, even if you think you’re experiencing an anxiety attack – and people are so into it it’s gone completely viral. If you’re yet to give it a go, now is the time: breathe in sync with the visuals to feel grounded. It’s almost like watching your breath inflate and deflate the classic brown paper bag.

#2 To infinity and beyond

Time is but a construct of the mind. Four years is a blip in our vast space-time continuum. Blue is nice, I like blue.

#3 The ball and chain

Up goes the ball, down and up and then – plop! – on the cushion. Will it make it the second time around? Better watch to find out.

#4 The literal inhale-exhale

One for the purists – simple and effective.

And if all else fails, there are always cat videos.

If you or your friend are struggling with depression or anxiety – or if you’re not sure but want to speak to someone – you can reach out to Headspace here or on 1800 650 890; Beyond Blue here or on 1300 224 636; and Blackdog Institute here. You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Sonia Taylor is the editor of The Cusp.

Calming gifs for anxiety

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