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Does the Anti-Anxiety Tongue Hack Actually Work?

A woman sticks out her tongue.
Aleksandra Voinova/Shutterstock.com

While you might know TikTok for its viral dances, recipes, and cleaning hacks, it also has its fair share of doctors offering medical advice (although, double-checking those credentials is always wise before actually following any of it). One of the latest suggests a rather strange way to combat anxiety.

Of course, speaking with your own physician before making any major changes is always advised. However, Dr. Karan Raj, a surgeon with the National Health Service in England, has a low-stakes tip for putting the brakes on anxiety, and it only involves your tongue.

In his video, Raj recommends moving your tongue to the top of your mouth, then to the bottom, and finally, attempting to hold it still. Doing so should help silence your inner monologue, as it completes a process called subvocalization.

Subvocalization is when your tongue mimics the movements it would make if you were actually speaking your anxious internal monologue. This is why relaxing it should stop subvocalization, and thus, quiet your anxious thoughts.


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The question, though, is whether this really works? The simplest answer is yes, but it might not be in the exact way Raj explains in his video.

Avi Klein, psychotherapist and mental advisor at Men’s Health, doesn’t experience anything when he tries Raj’s trick. However, he said this doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful because, at its core, the hack requires a “conscious effort to relax and have a point of focus,” and any time you do this, it can help reduce anxiety. It’s more of a tension-relieving exercise.

“The intense focus this requires,” Klein said, “along with the experience of feeling tense, and then relaxed, can be very relieving for people who are experiencing distress. I have to imagine this [hack] is a very short version of this.”

So, next time you’re feeling anxious, stick out your tongue! If the trick doesn’t work for you, though, there are plenty of other approaches you can try. It’s just a matter of experimenting and finding the one that works best for you.

[Via Men’s Health]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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