When anxiety strikes, it can feel as though the world is spinning in slow motion. You feel powerless to stop your mind from racing and your heart from beating out of your chest.
While these physical and emotional experiences are powerful right now, the good news is that they will pass. There are also anxiety management practices that might assist you in regaining control and calming your thoughts. We’ve compiled a list of 50 of them for you.
1. Be Present
One of the most effective methods to keep anxiety at bay is to be present. When we project into the future or dwell on the past, we get worried. Instead, return to the present moment and pay attention to the simple and commonplace things that surround you.
2. Question Your Negative Thoughts
Keep an open mind regarding your ideas. ‘Is this accurate, or is there something else I’m overlooking?’ Examine whether your thoughts are irrational. Are there any options that you’re subconsciously choosing to ignore? Is it possible that you’re overthinking things or going to the worst-case scenario rather than being more realistic?
3. Give Your Body Some Activity
Yoga, dancing, walking meditation, kickboxing, and even bouncing on your bed are all recommended by mental health doctors.
4. Create Cards with Positive Affirmations
Write out encouraging, calming phrases on flash cards and break out your cards when anxiety hits. You can include phrases like:
- I can get through this.
- I’m feeling anxious, but I can make myself calm by _________.
- Everything is going to be okay.
- I am grateful for ___________.
5. Try Grounding
Because they are deeply entrenched in the ground, trees are strong and stable. Feel your feet on the ground and imagine roots growing downward into the steady, deep earth beneath you to give yourself a sense of support.
6. Check Your Caffeine
It might be time to reduce your morning coffee intake. Caffeine has the ability to make us jittery and restless. Recognize that this could be the cause, and make a plan to gradually lower your intake in the future.
7. Center Yourself
Anxiety can make you feel as if you’re being pulled in a million different directions at the same time. While the storm’s winds howl around it, the hurricane’s eye is always peaceful and still. Imagine that you have a tranquil and silent center within you, and that you are sitting in it, regardless of what is going on in your life.
8. Accept that Anxiety Happens
Don’t hold out hope that you’ll be able to overcome your anxiousness. Anxiety is a natural part of life. This isn’t to say you can’t try to be more relaxed, but it is important to recognize that anxiety is normal. You’re going to be fine.
9. Show Yourself Some Compassion
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Perfectionism is a common source of anxiety. Take a few moments to show yourself some compassion and kindness. You, too, are deserving of kindness.
10. Step on a Rock
You might be asking yourself, “huh, do what?” with this one. Take a walk outside and look for some rocks. Move around while standing on them. Why? Reflexology! Your body and mind will be stimulated by points on the bottom of your feet. Furthermore, this pastime is both distracting and strangely enjoyable.
11. Breath with Your Heartbeat
This is one of the most basic yet effective mind-calming strategies. Breathe deeply into your stomach first, then your heart center, with one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Breathe in tranquility and exhale relaxation.
12. Reach Out for Help
When we’re overcome with anxiety, we can be bombarded with all kinds of irrational beliefs. It can be difficult to get a clear picture of a scenario. Recruit some assistance and obtain their honest feedback on the situation.
13. Utilize Your Sense of Touch
Engage your sense of touch and explore with your fingertips to divert your attention away from your thoughts and onto tactile awareness. Touch a wooden table, a tree’s bark, grass blades, a soft throw blanket, or an orange’s rind.
14. Take a Break for Art
Arts and crafts are great for lowering stress and taking our minds off whatever is making us anxious.
15. Hum a Tune
This may appear odd, but it works! The neurological system is soothed by humming. Find a quiet place where you can hum for a few minutes—plug your ears for maximum impact.
16. Grab More Houseplants
Plants not only beautify your home, but they can also help you relax. According to one study, stressed participants who entered a room full of plants saw a greater reduction in blood pressure than stressed participants who did not observe plants.
17. Laugh and Take Silly Selfies
Laughter and humor are powerful anti-anxiety tools. Take a selfie video of yourself making silly expressions with your phone and enjoy watching how crazy you are. Snapchat filters are an excellent tool to implement here.
18. Massage your Hands
Grab some lotion and give your hands a massage. We can carry a ton of tension in our hands. This is an easy way to self-apply some reflexology. Start with the large muscle below your thumb and massage in a circular motion. This will help release stress in your shoulders and neck.
19. Read a Book
Sometimes you just need a distraction. Read a book for just a few moments if it’s daytime. Or, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, read until your eyes begin to get heavy.
20. Reality check
When you’re anxious, your thoughts aren’t usually about what’s going on in the present moment. Facts, not your imagination, should be used to check your environment and yourself. There’s a good chance that everything will work out.
21. Call a Friend or Family Member
Call a good friend who can help you talk through why you’re worried—having a good listener can help alleviate some of the psychological anguish.
22. Enjoy Time with Nature
Getting outside for a fast walk for an hour and enjoying the scenery or finding something you’ve never noticed before can significantly decrease your anxiety.
23. Listen to Music
Finding a song or playlist that you enjoy and can listen to can be a terrific way to relax and lift your spirits. Depending on your mood, listen to peaceful or energetic music.
24. Take Time to Organize
This will help you feel productive while also managing your anxiety. Organization in common living spaces, or in your office, can help ease mental tension.
25. Get Enough Sleep
Never undervalue the importance of a good night’s rest. Sleep can aid in the restoration of homeostasis and the ability of our brains to manage our emotions. Try it out if you can get to sleep, even if it’s just a short cat nap.
26. Make Some Tea
Tea can enhance calmness, especially if it’s something like Chamomile. Sitting with your cup of tea looking out the window or watching the birds can work wonders.
27. Get in the Tub
Anxiety can raise blood pressure, thus bathing or showering in milder temperatures can help lower blood pressure. Endorphins can also be released by taking cold showers or baths.
Taking a warm shower or bath, on the other hand, can induce relaxation in the body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our body’s natural relaxation function.
Write down anything you want to. You don’t have to focus it around anything in particular. You can write about anything… ranging from your thoughts about what is making you anxious to what you’re planning for vacations, goals, or even dinner.
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29. Bake or cook
Put on your oven mitts! Baking engages all of our senses and is an excellent way to become more present and in the moment. You can’t be present in the now while worrying about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. You also get to eat something delicious! Or, even a comfort food can help ease your stress.
30. Keep in Mind- Alcohol is a Depressant
Alcohol can exacerbate anxiety symptoms while drinking or even in the following days after a night of drink.
31. Stay Mindful Even in Everyday Tasks
Something as easy as cooking or cleaning might be used as an example. When you’re cooking a meal, pay attention to how the ingredients feel as you prepare them; when it’s time to eat, take additional care to savor your food and smell it.
Set the water to a warm temperature and pay attention to how the soapy water feels on your skin when doing the dishes.
32. Set Yourself Up for Success Tomorrow
If you suffer from anxiety at work or school, this is an excellent approach to relieve it. Making your lunch ahead of time, selecting your outfit, and ensuring that all of your needs are packed and ready the night before will only help to make your day run more smoothly and will undoubtedly relieve some of your work or school-related stress.
33. Wake Up Your Senses
Only a few ice cubes or textured rocks are required. It can be beneficial to grasp something in the midst of a stressful situation. Some people prefer an ice-cold sensation in their hands to bring them back to the present moment, while others prefer to run their fingers over rocks with an unusual texture. Some even keep their kids ‘Pop-It’ toys nearby or some toys to fidget with.
34. Use Your Self-Soothing Voice
When we are concerned, it might be beneficial to speak to ourselves in a loving and soothing manner. When we do this, we’re not avoiding our bad emotions, as that would be ‘toxic positivity,’ but rather telling ourselves that it’s alright to feel our emotions. We can also utilize calming self-talk to assure ourselves that our emotions are genuine and will pass.
35. 4-7-8 Breathing
When we’re feeling anxious, it’s easy to fall into the habit of holding our breath unintentionally. It may seem self-evident, but erratic breathing, which can be produced by stress, tends to aggravate anxiety.
In these situations, 4-7-8 breathing might help to relax and refocus your breathing. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of four, with your tongue lightly pressed on the back of your front teeth. Hold your breath for a count of seven while keeping your tongue in contact with your teeth. Finally, for a count of eight, carefully exhale that whole breath through your mouth. Repeat these techniques until your mind feels clearer and your stress levels start to subside.
36. The 5-4-3-2-1 method
This grounding method involves naming five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and either something you can taste or a positive affirmation.
37. Remove the Cause of Anxiety when Possible
Sometimes all we need is a quick change of pace to calm ourselves down.
38. Ask Yourself Why
It’s sometimes just a matter of taking a step back and determining what’s generating your anxiety. “Why am I so worried?” you might wonder. Frequently, the answer is rooted in a subconscious fear of failure or other unknown peril. Then you can ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” We should never forget that if we are still breathing, we have made it through our worst days. We will live to see another day if something happens that we don’t like.
39. Remember Your Thoughts May Not Be Facts
Just because you think something, does not make it true.
40. Understand You are in Your Body
You are safe in your body. Feel your lungs filling up with air, be mindful of your heartbeat, take a look around.
41. Your Thoughts and Behaviors are Linked
For example, if you believe “that person doesn’t like me,” you would most likely feel hurt, disappointed, and act in a way that confirms your suspicions (e.g. walk away, avoid the person). You can change your feelings and behaviors if you can change your thoughts.
42. Replace Your Thoughts
Once you identify the facts, replace the negative thought with a thought based on reality.
43. Try to Make Plans
Anxiety is often created in situations where we don’t feel like we have the ability to control the situation. Determine what you can control and make a plan to manage those things.
44. Give Yourself a Break
Stop being so hard on yourself! You are human and sometimes we experience feelings we don’t appreciate. Attempt the strategies and keep applying them until you feel more in control. If it takes some time, that’s okay. Be easy on yourself.
45. If a Situation is Making You Anxious- Review it in Your Head
Anxiety almost always comes with racing thoughts.
Play out various solutions for what you could do if the dread comes true once we’ve identified the bodily emotion, the reasons for the worry, and the fear that drives it.
46. Recognize Why You’re Experiencing Anxious Thoughts
Recognize the fear and acknowledge what’s actually causing it.
47. Be Mindful of What You’re Doing
Anxiety becomes worse when we are overworked and overwhelmed with all the other factors of daily life. Practice coping with HALT; Hungry, Angry, Lone, Tired.
When there is more than one of these elements that are depleted, we fall victim to our subconscious fears. Therefore, try to take care of these needs as much as you can and regularly throughout the day.
If you’re hungry but can’t take a break, keep food on you at all times. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend or family member who is always willing to listen and empathize, and tell them you need to talk about something without offering a solution. Give yourself a 5-minute break if you’re upset to process 5 different feelings and 5 different reasons (one for each of the 5 emotions) that are contributing to your anxiousness.
48. Slow Down
When you’re in an anxious state, it’s important to slow down your mind and body. Count slowly from 1-10 and try to yawn at least 6 or 7 times to calm your mind.
49. Monitor your feelings
Continue to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Every day, check in with yourself (for example, “How do I feel this morning?”). This will boost your emotional intelligence and well-being in the long run.