TikTok is home to a variety of hacks, ranging from food, to clothes, and even mental health. Now popular TikTok doc Karan Raj, M.D. is going viral on the app for his anti-anxiety hack using just your tongue.
“Move your tongue from the top of your mouth to the bottom and then try keeping it still,” says Dr. Raj, a surgeon with the National Health Service in England, in a video garnering over 525,000 views and counting. “This will help to silence or reduce the volume of your internal monologue, which might be charging your anxious thoughts.”
Sounds too good to be true, right? This is Dr. Raj’s theory on the method. “By keeping your tongue still, you might help to prevent subvocalization,” he adds.
Dr. Raj explains that subvocalization is when your tongue makes tiny movements to say the words of your inner monologue—in this case, the racing, scary thoughts giving you anxiety in the first place. “A relaxed tongue equals less internal monologue, which hopefully equals a clearer mind,” he says.
We asked psychotherapist and Men’s Health mental health advisor Avi Klein, LCSW, to test the method to see if there’s a kernel of truth.
“Trying it I don’t personally notice a difference,” Klein says. “More broadly, any conscious effort to relax and to have a point of focus is anxiety reducing,” meaning focusing on anything that’s not your racing thoughts.
Klein calls Dr. Raj’s method a classic form of tension relief, where you focus on tensing and relaxing your entire body, body part by body part. In this hack, Dr. Raj wants you to focus just on your tongue.
“The intense focus this requires, along with the experience of feeling tense and then relaxed, can be very relieving for people who are experiencing distress,” says Klein. “I have to imagine this [hack] is a very short version of this.”
While this hack won’t end your anxiety forever, it’ll definitely get it off your mind for a bit.
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