Anti-Anxiety Tips That Really Work
Trust me... You can read all the anti-anxiety advice in the world, but none of this matters unless you take action. To feel more relaxed, to sleep soundly at night, and to put energy into what matters, you have to stop wasting time on tasks that don't matter.
By the end of this article, your life could become infinitely more productive, positive, and Zen-like. Your part is to commit to 10 - 15 minutes per day and tackle a few of the following 22 anxiety busters below. The more you commit, the better you'll feel.
You're probably familiar with some of these anxiety strategies. But if you experience racing thoughts, tightening in your chest, and shortness of breath, you haven't done all of them.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #1: BREATHE
If you're not focused on how to calm your body through slow, intentional belly-breathing, you're missing out. Belly-breathing is free, location independent, and easy to implement.
1. Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath.
2. Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale for a count of four. The hand on your belly should go in as you inhale, and move out as you exhale.
3. Concentrate on your breath and forget everything else. Your mind will be very busy, and you may even feel that the meditation is making your mind busier, but the reality is you're just becoming more aware of how busy your mind is.
4. Resist the temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, and focus on the sensation of the breath. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, immediately return it to the breath.
5. Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on the breath. Don't wait to begin belly-breathing. The sooner you make this a daily habit, the quicker you'll feel relaxed.
When you implement belly breathing, you start the day in a here-and-now state. Better yet, you're not wasting time worrying about the future, or reliving the past.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #2: Meditate
Calm is an inner feeling. Give yourself the gift of serenity and start the day with 10 minutes of solitude and positive energy. Think calm, measured and open-minded, and your daily activities will correspond.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #3: Practice Self-Care
Get a massage, a mani-pedi, or a haircut. Nothing says polished and well-maintained like a sexy, healthy glow. And if money is tight, look for a discount salon which offers quality services for people on a budget. So they don't serve peppermint tea on a silver tray - just close your eyes and imagine that five-star service while you take in the pampering you deserve.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #4: Eliminate Soda
That morning jolt of coffee can jump-start your day and provide warmth and comfort, but anything with high fructose corn syrup and 150+ other ingredients will not. So... If you're accustomed to that 3:00 p.m. Dr. Pepper - switch it out for a soothing green tea. Soda depletes vitamins and minerals from your body and it really wreaks havoc on your waistline and smile.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #5: Trim the Fat from Your Budget
Financial stress is a common reason people feel anxiety. Debt will keep you up at night and contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, depression and hopelessness. Take charge of your finances and stop spending on non-essentials.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #6: Get Rid of the Clutter
Do you ever wonder how much time is lost when you can't find your car keys, or that sweater that you haven't seen since you did laundry last? Chances are you've got too much stuff clogging up your living space.
Try this quick organization hack: 1. Choose a drawer, cabinet or closet 2. Categorize the stuff you don't use 3. Make three piles for a) throw away, b) donate, and c) sell
4. Hold a yard sale and use the money to...
Anti-Anxiety Tip #7: Take a Day Trip
When you spend time in nature, you give your mind and body a much needed break from the hustle and bustle which causes you to Google things like "How to get rid of anxiety" in the first place. Chances are no matter where you live, there's a serene, interesting and charming place within a couple hours.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #8: Go to Bed Early
This may sound impossible if you're accustomed to staying up late to catch up on the To-Do list. But this one's a MUST. Sleep deprivation is a huge anxiety culprit. Inadequate shuteye can amplify the brain's anticipatory reactions, upping overall anxiety levels, according to research. Don't burn the midnight oil in hopes of catching up on the weekends. Unused sleep minutes don't roll over.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #9 Wake up 15 Minutes Early
Like most anxious people, you're probably rushing around in the morning and yelling at everyone in your wake, "Hurry up! We're going to be late!" Go slowly, and set yourself up for a relaxed day ahead. If you start to worry about the To-Do list, take a deep breath and think, "Yes, I have enough time."
Anti-Anxiety Tip #10: Get Your Lavender On!
Lavender oil has many healing properties and can be used as a natural remedy to reduce anxiety and other nervous conditions. There are many ways to incorporate lavender into your calm tool kit:
1. Add essential lavender oil to your bath water for a calming bath. Use water infused with lavender leaves to soothe painful joints and muscles.
2. Fall asleep quicker when you add a few drops to a tissue and place under your pillow.
3. Use lavender in an oil diffuser to help with those sleepless nights. The sweet woody smell of the lavender oil helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
4. For headaches, apply lavender oil to a cotton ball or your fingertips and massage slowly into your temples. The smell will relax you as the oil eases your headache.
5. Lavender is used in aromatherapy massage as a muscle relaxant. Massage the oil into the skin and unknot the muscles of the back and reduce spasms.
6. Lavender can be used as an expectorant. It breaks up the mucus from nasal and chest congestion that accompanies a cold.
7. Inhale lavender oil to help with pain, especially after a workout, a therapy session, or surgery.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #11: Reduce Caffeine, Sugar and Processed Foods From Your Diet
Caffeine can cause heart palpitations and can trigger panic or anxiety attacks, especially if you have an anxiety disorder. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can also cause palpitations. Sugar acts as a stimulant and can actually cause more anxiety or panic attacks. Other offensive foods include those containing refined flour products, and even wheat since this causes inflammation.
Besides caffeine, and sugar, food allergies are a big contributing factor in your overactive central nervous system. Do this step along with #12...
Anti-Anxiety Tip #12: Eat Green!
Diet affects anxiety. A morning glass of green juice can get you on the right side of calm. For a different and delicious way to get your daily vegetables try this recipe: Combine one banana or green apple, a bunch of kale, sliced ginger, one lime, cucumber slices, a few ice cubes, and a cup of water to a blender or juicer. For added protein, add an egg, yogurt, nuts, or protein powder.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #13: Remember Feelings Are Not Facts
One of my greatest struggles is to convince my anxious self that the feelings of low self-worth, guilt and shame over my past mistakes are not accurate. Negative thoughts cause negative feelings.
Do this in tandem with #14...
Anti-Anxiety Tip #14: Challenge Negative Core Beliefs
Remember that thoughts precede feelings. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, which lead to negative behaviors. How to challenge your negative mood:
1. Record your thoughts periodically. Pay attention to when you feel totally and completely stressed out of your mind.
2. Write the feelings that accompany the thoughts. Think one-word responses like frustrated, angry, worthless and defeated, etc.
3. Challenge reality. This is hard because we tend to lack objectivity about the truth. Is there proof you don't deserve that awesome job?
If you commit to recording your daily thoughts and feelings, along with reality testing, you'll see that many of your negative feelings are created in your mind, and not based in reality. The good news is you created the negative thought, and you can un-create it.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #15: Practice GRATITUDE
As bad as your situation is, there's always someone in a worse predicament. Read the headline of the daily newspaper. Be thankful your life is not the feature story. Make a mental note of the positive things in your life. Remember everything in life is temporary - the good, the not-so-good, the really bad, and the ugly... This too shall pass.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #16: Get Some Accountability
If you're BFF with Nervous Nellie or Anxious Allen, put your keyed-up energy to good use. Vow to work on healthier ways to cope when feeling stressed.
Share this resource with a bestie or family member. Pick a few strategies that resonate with both of you and make a plan to call each other out when you stray and give way to your anxiety. Give praise to each other when you make positive changes.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #17: Attend a Social Gathering (Even If You Don't Want To)
If you're prone to social anxiety like me, realize it's important to make time for socialization. It's absolutely fine to be an introvert or to avoid crowded places. However, we live in a universe that revolves around connecting with others. Find ways to connect in real-time with face-to-face friends in a social setting. It helps... I promise!!!
Anti-Anxiety Tip #18: Schedule a Physical Exam to Rule Out a Medical Condition for Your Anxiety
If your anxiety has spiked recently, or if you were previously able to cope with life, and now not so much, your doctor can determine if there's a medical condition responsible for your anxiety. Ask for a blood panel, and be honest about your symptoms.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #19: Schedule a Visit with a Therapist
Nobody deserves to feel bad. A qualified mental health professional is your best bet if your anxiety is unbearable. Ask a trusted friend or colleague for a referral in your area.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #20: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
Exercise is nature's anti-anxiety remedy. Besides clearing the mind, firing up the endorphins, and helping you sleep soundly at night, researchers have found that individuals who exercise vigorously and regularly were 25 percent less likely to develop an anxiety disorder within five years.
Anti-Anxiety Tip #21: Accept Your Anxiety
Whether you inherited the "anxiety gene" from your parents, or your lifestyle, or both, accept your anxiety rather than fight it. It's not about rolling over and giving up. Understand you have to work hard every day to bring calm to your world.
Remember there's always options in life, and worse fates exist than being anxiety-sensitive. After all, when push comes to shove, at the end of the (insanely stressed out) day, anxious people get the job done!!!
Anti-Anxiety Tip #22: Carpe that Diem
The key to making the actions above work is consistency. YOU are the expert on your life. Choose the ones that work best for you, and give 'em a shot. It's time to stop letting your anxiety control you... Carpe that Diem, Baby!!!
Your life is waiting... Aloha and see you on the calm side!!!