Stop right there! If you’ve found yourself reading this article, it’s most likely because you’re looking for ways to relieve your anxiety. So more than anything else, the most important thing to remember is to get up and try one! It doesn’t matter which one, whatever speaks to you. I know it can feel much safer to stay where you are and hope that things will go away but you will feel so much stronger once you break the boundary and start to actually do something about your anxiety. Trust me, you can do this! Okay, continue…
So now that we have a general idea of what anxiety is, what do we do about it?
You’ll probably hear me say this a million times, because I think it’s that important. Every single person experiences anxiety differently. Although we may have similarities, there are always going to be differences in the way our symptoms present themselves, the way in which different things will alleviate our symptoms, as well as what actually causes us to become anxious in the first place.
Although I’ll eventually have more in depth articles about all of these suggestions and more, below you will find a list of some of the most common, fast acting, and easily accessible techniques for anxiety relief. Please remember that the general feeling of anxiety is much different than a panic attack. If you’d tried some of these techniques before during a panic attack with no relief, it may be because different measures need to be taken.
So remembering what anxiety is it its most basic form, the brains thought that danger is present when it isn’t, here a few things you can do when you feel your anxiety starting to act up.
1.Remind yourself that you’re safe – Ever heard of a mantra before? One of the first things I do every time I start to feel anxious (remember, we’re talking about unnecessary anxiety) is remind myself that I’m safe. That this is just my brain trying to trick me into thinking I’m in danger when I’m not. I learned my favorite mantra from my incredible therapist – May I be safe, May I be healthy, May I be happy, May I live with ease. However, I like to say it in the present tense, it feels more powerful that way. So every time you can feel your anxiety start to kick in, remind yourself – I am safe, I am healthy, I am happy, I live with ease. Repeat as many times as necessary until you can feel your anxiety starting to subside. Or, you can make up your own mantra! Whatever helps remind you that this is going to pass soon, and you will not allow it to ruin your day.
2. Check in with yourself – one of my other go to methods of relief when I’m feeling anxious is checking in with myself. Our bodies are supposed to be like machines right? Well even machines need care and fuel to keep going. Checking in with your basic needs is usually a great first step. Am I hungry, thirsty, tired? All of these things can contribute to the feeling of being anxious and can usually be taken care of without having to take any drastic measures. Sometimes all I need is a healthy snack and a glass of water and I can alleviate a lot of those obnoxious physical anxiety symptoms. Sometimes, were just running out of our fuel and anxiety is our bodies way of telling us that it needs care.
3. Exercise – exercise is one of the fastest ways to find relief from anxiety for many people. It doesn’t have to be fancy either, just pure movement starts to release endorphins in the brain as well as help the individual remove the focus away from their anxiety. The goal is to distract it! Even if you don’t have access to a gym, jumping jacks in place to get your blood pumping will do the trick. Although the initial fight to get your body up and out of its anxious state might be tough, you should shorty after start feeling some relief.
4. Meditate – Meditation is a fantastic tool to use in the fight against anxiety. Although it can be for some people, meditation does have have to be a spiritual experience and can really be whatever you choose to make of it. The goal of meditation is to remove the focus from your anxiety, which is usually centered on the future, to the present state. By changing the focus of your thoughts, the anxious symptoms should start to subside. You can either practice a meditation on your own, or if you are new, follow along to a guided meditation. It might be tough at first but try as hard as you can to stay present in the meditation instead of thinking about the millions of other things you brain might want to wander to. Here is a link to one of my favorite free online guided meditations for anxiety – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_jcEpwKQXc&t=286s
5. Go outside – fresh air has never been better for you with all of the reasons we find ourselves staying inside with our anxious symptoms. Sometimes all you need is a panoramic view to calm your nerves. Although I don’t have the neuroscientific reasons for it, there have been many studies that show a correlation between being in nature and lower stress levels. It’s time to ditch the busy city streets or the comfort of your couch for the day and go exploring. Your mind will thank you for it later!
6. Do something simple, yet distracting – Dishes in the sink that needs to be done or a drawer that could use some reorganizing? These are great distractions for anxiety. The key is to not dwell on the anxious thoughts while doing any of these tasks. Similar to the effects of meditation, focus on the task at hand and not the anxious thoughts trying ruin your day.
7. Get creative – Although I wish it wasn’t the reason I retapped into my creative side, getting creative is a great way to combat anxiety. Playing or listening to music, painting, drawing, building. Whatever gets you feel calm. The goal is to find something to focus on that empowers you to move forward instead of getting caught in anxious thoughts. Although it might take a few times, the goal is for your brain to associate the creative act (or any of suggestions on this list for that matter) with taking time away from your anxiety and finding a calm space.
8. Call it out – I know this one seems a little bizarre, but it can actually be incredibly effective. A lot of people get so upset about the fact they have anxiety. The truth is that you don’t technically have anxiety, but you do have anxious symptoms. You are NOT anxiety, it does not get to claim you. You simply have symptoms of anxiety that you need to find a way to get rid of. Sometimes, simply reminding yourself of this can help you feel better. So call your anxiety out for what it really is and identify your symptoms for what they are, just symptoms – irritating and pesky symptoms. Also, remember that they are not a part of who you are and this is not permanent.
So, if you’re reading this article and feeling anxious yourself, why not give one a try and see if any of these techniques work for you. Although I’m not exactly sure which one will work best for your body and mind, I do know that at least trying one of these techniques should be more effective than sitting and dwelling in your anxiety. Trust me, I’ve tried so many times and it never seemed to make it better.
You can do this,