MENTAL HEALTH

Can sour candy ease anxiety and panic attacks?

Feb 19, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: Mar 11, 2024, 9:46 am

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LOGAN, Utah — A recent TikTok trend has people sucking on sour candy to ease anxiety and panic attacks. And it’s a thing! Mental health professionals have verified that the trend can help in some cases. 

An article recently published by Utah State University explained that sucking on sour candy can be used as a grounding technique. 

Grounding techniques involve the five senses – taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. They work to redirect a person’s focus from feelings of anxiety to the current moment. 

An expert that spoke with Health.com agrees that sucking on a sour candy qualifies as a distraction technique. The strong, sour flavor can help shift our brain’s attention from feeling to thinking. It can distract from anxious feelings.

Scientifically, the technique prompts our frontal cortex to send a message that we aren’t in danger, according to Health.com.

Eva Timothy, the author of the USU article noted that the sour candy technique works best when the consumer takes the time to savor the candy.  

“The real benefit comes from focusing on the sensation in your mouth,” wrote Timothy. “Consider the taste and smell of the candy. Focus on the sensation of the candy in your mouth and the lingering flavor.”

Grounding techniques such as the sour candy method do not help solve the root causes of anxiety or panic attacks. Working with a licensed mental health professional, such as a therapist, is the best way to get to the bottom of them.

Additionally, someone like a therapist can provide strategies that may eliminate the need for grounding techniques. 

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Can sour candy ease anxiety and panic attacks?